Staying in Step for a Successful Military Life

5 Things to Master Before Training

by | Aug 12, 2017 | Career & Learning

Depending on what kind of knowledge and experience you have had with the military, when you first join you may have encountered a world of acronyms, skills, and cultural assets that you weren’t aware existed.  There are so many things to learn!  The majority of your basic, most foundational skills and information will be taught to you at your first training, whether thats basic training, boot camp, an officer school, etc.

However, you don’t have to wait until you get to this training to start learning!  There are several things you can work on ahead of time, and, trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  The more you can deeply memorize and practice before you go, the more room you’ll have in your brain for all the new stuff they throw at you in training.  Decreasing your learning curve will only help!

My top five things to learn before going to training are:           {Pin this}


At the very least, learn the both the enlisted and officer ranks specific to your branch of service.  If you have extra study time or are an overachiever, learning the pay grades attached to each rank is also helpful.  Even if you don’t know all the ranks of the other branches, you’ll always be able to compare them by pay grade and understand where you fall in relation to others.

Resources:  rank chart (pay grades are codes on far left)

Branch Creed & Song

You’ll be reciting your branch creed at your graduation, and you will definitely be expected to know at least the first verse of your branch’s song.  It’s not just good for training; it’s something that will unite you with others from your branch in years to come and across generational lines.

Resources: Branch creeds and songs

How to Salute

Get in front of the mirror and get it exactly right!  Practice salutes often develop proper form.  As your muscle memory increases, you’ll be able to “feel” what a right salute feels like without checking in a mirror.

Resource: how to salute tutorial video

Reporting Statement/Procedure

If you don’t know what yours is currently, ask your recruiter.  (It differs by branch and location.)  Oftentimes he or she will provide you this information and even practice it with you, and if you haven’t gotten it yet… ask for it.  You will absolutely need it at training, and it’s best to have it fully memorized before you go so it’s just an automatic response to you.

How to do Basic Drill

Drilling is a bit trickier than the others simply because it requires you to lock in a lot of small, detailed movements all at once.  Start with standing drill movements, and once you have these perfected, move to marching.  Although it isn’t required to know these before you go, you won’t regret the practice.  Many a newb experiences rough treatment for screwing up marching!  Get it down ahead of time to the point of reflex when commands are called.  You’ll save yourself a lot of getting yelled at and will be able to help others that are struggling around you.

Resource: basic facing movements and basic drill movements (generally the same for all branches)

Other helpful resources to prepare for training:

iPhone apps:

Military ranks (free)

U.S. Armed Forces ($1.99)


US Military rank quiz (free)


Do you know of any other resources people can use to prepare for training?  Any other important skills or information you would add?

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