What is Basic Military Training?
// Story Koh Eng Beng
// Photos PIONEER photographers & courtesy of Basic Military Training Centre
Basic Military Training, or BMT, is an initiation to the military for new recruits – you stay together in bunk, learn basic soldiering skills and adjust to the regimentation of a strict military lifestyle.
The training duration lasts between nine to 18 weeks, depending on your physical fitness test results and health condition.
Here are some training and activities you can expect during BMT:
All recruits sport the same botak (bald or crew cut in Malay) hairstyle in the spirit of unity and for hygiene purposes.
A recruit receiving his Singapore Assault Rifle (SAR) 21 in a ceremony during the first week of BMT. A rifle is a deadly weapon that can only be entrusted to a responsible person. Hence, when a recruit gets his rifle, it is a pivotal moment that marks his transition from boy to man.
Foot drills are one of the first training that recruits go through to instil discipline and pride in being a soldier.
A recruit undergoing the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). All recruits have to first build up their baseline fitness before they move on to training in combat gear.
This is where the Standard Obstacle Course (SOC) comes in. Unlike in the IPPT, a soldier has to don his full combat gear and rifle for the SOC.
The 12-obstacle SOC simulates jungle and urban operating conditions to help soldiers gain coordination, mobility and confidence.
Recruits learn to defend themselves in close quarters using hand-to-hand combat as well as their rifles.
Recruits practise firing their SAR 21 using "live" rounds at an outdoor range. This is done after their simulation shooting practice at the Individual Marksmanship Trainer.
They are also taught to discern between friend and foe before opening fire, through shooting practice at scenario-based video targets.
Before recruits throw a live grenade, they must go through theory lessons and practice drills using a dummy grenade.
Training now moves into the field. Recruits are taught to fight in a jungle as part of conventional warfare.
How hard can it be? Recruits will soon find out that digging shellscrapes is not as easy as it looks.
Getting a taste of combat rations for the first (but not the last) time.
Recruits are also taught to fight in built-up areas to prepare them for urban operations.
The Battle Inoculation Course gives recruits a taste of what it’s like to be in a real battlefield – they have to navigate a series of obstacles while live machine gun rounds are fired overhead.
Route marches in full combat gear help to build up the recruits’ combat fitness and endurance. The longest march is 24km long, which they have to complete before their graduation parade.
POP loh! Recruits celebrating the end of their BMT at their graduation parade. Their performance will be assessed for deployment to a suitable vocation as they move onward to the next phase of their NS life in operational units or go on to command schools for leadership training.