My son just graduated from basic training in Ft Benning, GA as a member of the Army National Guard. Their new dress blue uniforms were indeed impressive. However, he said he had to pay for the entire uniform, which was over a thousand dollars! He also commented the original pants did not fit, so he not only had to pay for those but a new pair that did fit. I am very confused, but before I get upset that not only did he go through several weeks of very difficult training, supposedly for the good of our country, could someone explain this to me? I do not deny my ignorance in military matters as he is the first of our family in many generations to go to training, but I am appalled if this is true. One of the incentives the recruiter gave him for basic training was what he would get paid. Some incentive if he is “required” to use the majority of his pay for a uniform to wear one time. Thank you!
When I went to BMT all required uniforms were on Uncle Sam.
For enlisted men in the Guard, uniforms are issued at the expense of the unit. If he can substantiate the necessity of the uniform purchase he might be able to be reimbursed.
That said, there are authorized uniforms that are NOT required. In the Air Force there is the Mess Dress Uniform, which is purchased at the cost of the member and is usually only “required” for high-ranking officers and enlisted, certainly not a guy in Basic. If he bought the Army equivalent of that it’s on him.
Well from your post he seems enlisted. Can you even join up as an officer? I believe officers do have to pay.
-He did not have to pay for his Army Service Uniform, or any of his other uniforms.
-The ASU does not cost $1,000
-The pants are sized and altered by professional tailors. If he lost a significant amount of weight between sizing and graduation, he would have had the oppurtunity to exchange his pants (free of charge) for a new pair custom tailored to his new size.
-It isn’t something he’s “only going to wear once”.
Yes, there are a number of officer accession programs. Note, though, that commissioned officers do not go through BCT.
Yes. I went to the United States Military Academy, when you graduate you are typically commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant. You do not go through Army BCT as enlisted do (as Monty correctly notes), but your first year you go up before the first academic term begins and you spend the summer in Cadet Basic Training which basically tries to get you some of the same treatment and training that enlisted go through with BCT. Each Summer after that at the academy you are involved in different stages of hands on military training. Your two academic semesters each year are mostly focused on taking college courses in a more normal collegiate type experience (as close as living and going to classes in a military academy will ever be to a normal collegiate experience, anyway.)
That was actually always the traditional way to become an officer back to the early 1800s (before that it was more ad hoc with little professionalism or standardization, and even after the 1800s tons of people might be randomly made officers for brief periods of time for specific activities etc), and people who enlisted would only rarely be able to earn their way to being officers through merit/etc. With the Army being very very small for most of our history until the first quarter of the 20th century it’s not really surprising that the officer corps was small and promotions uncommon.
These days there are two other programs for churning out new officers: OCS and ROTC. If you complete the full ROTC program in college you’ll be commissioned an officer (you have to agree to accept the commission to get the ROTC scholarship money), and you will not have gone through BCT like an enlistee.
So the academy / ROTC are the only normal ways to totally avoid BCT (but you go through stuff very similar to BCT.) OCS candidates are typically persons already enlisted who have applied for and been admitted to OCS (and since already enlisted already went through BCT) or they are civilian college graduates who were not in ROTC or otherwise affiliated who sign up for OCS. If you’re admitted to OCS as a civilian (the requirements are higher than some might think in terms of GPA etc from college) you have to go through BCT before you start OCS, but since you’ve been accepted into the OCS program your position in the school is guaranteed after BCT is completed.