It's been almost two years since my husband went to Ft. Jackson for BCT (Basic Combat Training). But I remain obsessed with the Ft. Jackson page on Facebook, haunting it in hopes that I can be helpful to other new Army families who are as dazed & bewildered as I was in those early weeks.
I'm no kind of expert. Mostly, what I do is simply direct traffic--pointing new folks to the Facebook link for their loved one's specific BCT battalion and/or company (if they have one). Once I get 'em there, they are in far better hands than mine! But those pages aren't always easy to find, and a lot of questions end up asked on the main Ft. Jackson page--where they may or may not get an answer.
Since the same questions get asked over and over every cycle (heck, every week!), I am collecting my BCT Basics here for easy linking convenience.
It's behind a cut due to length...
The most common time to get additional calls is at the end of a phase (about every 3 weeks) or if your SIT's unit wins a competition. But it's really unpredictable. Every unit is different. Some believe phone calls are a distraction and award the privilege very rarely. Others are more liberal. There's really no predicting it from afar. So a good motto is, "Hope for calls but count on the mail!"
Other info about calling:
Most graduate, but not all. They have to pass all the requirements--if they don't, no graduation.
What happens then can vary. They can be "recycled" to start over with another unit, they can be discharged and sent home. It really depends on the individual situation.
thank you for everything on this website you just made it a little more clear my entire life I have been military baby but it's much different now as an adult sending of our baby my sister-in-law is like my daughter just got to Fort Jacson for BCT we are excited and nervous and just really anxious to find out what unit she is going to be in. thank you for all you do and your generocity and all your kindness for future soldiers to be you are soldiers families blessing.
thank you for everything on this website you just made it a little more clear my entire life I have been military baby but it's much different now as an adult sending of our baby my sister-in-law is like my daughter just got to Fort Jacson for BCT we are excited and nervous and just really anxious to find out what unit she is going to be in. thank you for all you do and your generocity and all your kindness for future soldiers to ax be you are soldiers families blessing.
Thank you so much for this. A close friend of mine will be graduating in about eleven days.
I sent a few letters to him at Basic, but then a few days later I received an inbox from him on Facebook saying 'No more letters, closed the mail, talk soon'. My letters won't have got there that soon, as I live in the UK, and so will they keep hold of my letters and give them to him another time? Or will they just be lost?
Thank you so much,
The mail cutoff date is sort of a warning--so that families don't send mail that will arrive after they have left Ft. Jackson. Especially since they spend several of their final days out in the field (at Victory Forge, the final training exercise and rite of passage), and there is no mail call in the field.
The mail cutoff date doesn't mean they stop receiving mail. It is simply when families are instructed to stop sending it. Any mail that arrives before their final mail call at BCT will be delivered. Any that arrives late will get marked "Return to Sender."
I have a close friend who will be graduating from BCT in about eleven days. I've sent some letters about a week ago, but I received an inbox from him on Facebook, telling me 'No more letters. We closed the mail'. Does this mean that he won't receive my letters? Or that they'll hold them until a later date? And why would they close the mail?
Thank you so much,
My husband has been medically discharged from Fort Jackson, but he has now been there almost 5 weeks and still not home! He is at Delta house, which is where they go just before being flown home (so I'm told) he's been there a week though...do you know can I just drive there and pick him up? I'm in Indiana but I don't care I will drive to bring him home! :( Help, please and thank you.
My boyfriend just left yesterday for Ft Jackson and I've been scouring the internet for information for weeks trying to figure all this out. I have no experience with anything to do with military - no family in it or anything so this is all new to me. I think he was just as confused as I am, though he grew up with Navy parents. Neither one of us in the weeks leading up could come up with any definite information on what to expect. Your blog has helped me a lot.
I am not looking forward to the rest of this week - the reception phase. People are saying to keep busy and not think about it - but I can't help but obsess a little bit and wonder how he's doing, if he's scared or homesick, or even if he's having a great time and loving it. How did you deal with the reception phase? it seems like it's going to be a long 10 days.
I got a phone call last night when he was on the bus from the airport. That was a godsend (even though I'd just seen him off at the swearing in ceremony) I'm just so used to being with him every day that this is extremely hard to adjust to. It's only the second day, or i guess the first real day of not talking with him, so I imagine it only gets easier as the days go by (or I hope so at least) I'm really looking forward to that first letter.
You're welcome! I'm glad the info was helpful. Once you know what unit he's assigned to, check my other post that has links to all the unit Facebook pages:
It's fairly likely you won't be in the dark for 10 full days. Reception *can* last that long, but more often it is just a few days. For someone arriving midweek like this, it'd be much more typical for them to get picked up from Reception by their assigned unit over the weekend & begin the actual training on Monday. And they will typically get that one brief honey-here's-my-info call in their first couple of days with the unit.
The first couple of weeks are a big adjustment, no question, when you are accustomed to being in close contact with someone every single day. I found two things helped: 1) Starting to write him a letter even though I didn't have anywhere to send it yet, and 2) Staying as busy with positive activities as possible. Getting used to the new pattern of your days with him away takes time, and it's definitely toughest at first when those letters aren't flowing yet.
Good luck to you!
He actually got to call me last night for about 15 minutes. It was a collect call because his cell phone isn't working, so we are going to have to figure out what to do about that soon because I desperately want to talk with him, but paying $13 per phone call doesn't fit in with my budget.
Do you think I could mail him a replacement phone when I get his address?
and yes, I've already written about 6 pages of letters to him and it's only been 2 days. I know I need to slow it down because he's going to be overloaded when I actually DO get to send them, but I think as the days go by it might get easier. I didn't cry myself to sleep last night - which is a step in the right direction haha.
When they get call privileges--which won't be often--he could use the pay phones with a phone card. Some units, that's the only option. My husband didn't see his own cell phone again from the time he left Reception till the night before Family Day/Graduation. Some units give them back their own cell phones, others don't, and you won't know which situation he's in till he's in a unit and gets phone privileges for the first time.
It does get easier. Not easy, but easier. This time is in some ways *your* basic training too, you know. As hard as it feels to be apart right now--these 10 weeks are nothing compared to being separated by a deployment. So it's good to start developing the support system and self-reliant habits you will need for those challenges. BCT is a start on that. Not easy, but necessary for this military life.
My boyfriend is currently doing training at fort Jackson, and hasn't been getting my mail. He sends me letters all the time, and I send him letters all the time also, but recently in his letters he has been saying that he misses me like crazy, and that he has only gotten one letter.. I have sent him several letters, and one contains a bracelet of mine that I sent to him so he would have something of me. He sounds sad because he isn't getting letters, and I've also been very upset about it.. Do they hold the soldiers letters? I'm afraid he thinks I'm not writing him. Please help... Thank you!!
Nothing to worry about. Mail is always slow at first, probably because of the huge turnover with graduates and new arrivals. My husband got none of my letters at first--it was probably 3 weeks in before he got the backlog delivered in big batches. They do NOT withhold mail but I think the mailroom is a pretty small facility for all those units and there is such a huge influx of mail at the start of a new cycle.
After the backlog cleared my husband got my letters regularly, although always more slowly than his got to me.
hey this sight is really helpful its a difference with me because im the husband missing my wife who is at ft.jackson its nothing on the internet for army husbands so i have lots of questions...i talked to my wife last night before she got on the base and no more since then so im wondering if they take their phnes in reception or what like hw does that work
Usually they get to keep their phones while in Reception--but that doesn't necessarily mean they have a good signal, or anywhere to charge a phone, or any downtime to use it. Reception is very busy and stressful, and they are extremely sleep-deprived besides--so it is not unusual to NOT hear from them during Reception even if they still have their phones. It's not a cause for worry.
She should have the chance for one BRIEF phone call in the first few days after Reception, after she's picked up by her assigned unit to begin training. That's the call where she'll give you her unit info so you can see if they have a Facebook page, figure out the right address to write to, etc.
Once you know her unit, check my list of BCT unit links here:
Edited at 2013-04-30 10:23 pm (UTC)
As an immediate family member you can call the Ft. Jackson operations center at (803) 751-7671 for assistance in determining her location. You will need to supply her full name and SS#.
If she JUST left Reception, though, wait a couple days to call--it takes a while for the unit assignments to get updated in the post locator system.
They will be able to give you everything but her platoon #, which you will have to get from her. She will get mail addressed without the platoon #, though, it just takes a little longer.
Once you know her battalion/regiment and company, check my list of unit links here to find their Facebook page, which you will want to follow for more info, pics, etc.:
They are allowed to write letters whenever they have the free time, but they are kept very busy and very tired. My husband would write a little before lights-out at night, but it often took several evenings for him to finish one. Sundays are their quietest day, so he would usually write longer letters on Sundays.
You should also be getting a welcome letter from her unit soon, with more details.
Read the info in my post above, it should answer a lot of these early questions. Good luck!
Edited at 2013-05-04 11:07 am (UTC)
Yes, they get BAH. During BCT and AIT the amount is based on the trainee's home address of record--after that it is based on the location where the soldier is stationed.
If you Google "BAH tables 2013" you will find what the current BAH rate is for various locations of the country.
Still waiting to get a letter after 4 weeks. Missed phone call from him and he was not informative of information of my expectations prior to leaving. I was clear and sure of numbers and letters on envelope. Only addressed name with his last name. SHould I have been complete with entire name...? How many McFadyen's can you get out of 3,500?
If you don't have his full unit info/address, you as an immediate family member can call the post locator phone # at (803) 751-7671 to request that information. You will need to provide his full name and SS# when you call.
They won't be able to give you his platoon number--you'll have to find that you from him. But they can give you all the rest of the info. He'll get mail addressed without the platoon # if everything else is correct, although it may take a little longer.
In general, the format for addressing letters is:
RANK Lastname Firstname