Barracks and Housing
You may already be wondering what the housing situation will be like in basic training. Accomodations will vary post to post, but there are some basics to point out. In BT, you'll most likely be staying in brick structures, 2-4 floors. You may have 4-8 people per room, or you may be in what is called a large bay with 20 or more soldiers. All sleeping quarters are same sex accomodations. Gender integrated training can be found at Ft Leonard Wood, Ft Sill (It was started here a few years ago..don't know if it is still integrated now; I have yet to meet a female graduate) and Ft Jackson. Some companies will house the same gender on the same floors, others do not. Ft Leonard Wood, for example has taken all the doors off the rooms, to discourage male/female interaction in private.
You will sleep on bunkbeds with your battle buddy being in the bottom or top bunk. Your battle buddy is a person who supports you and watches out for you, a fellow recruit. You do the same for him/her. Drill sergeants try to match up recruits who will complement each other (one's weakness should be another's strength). You won't be able to pick your battle buddy, so don't ask. Your battle buddy will also be the same gender as yourself.
You will also get a wallocker for all your gear (minus your civilian stuff). Remember, your civilian stuff was packed away the first day of training. Everything in your wallocker must be displayed in a certain manner. You'll be taught how to fold clothing, roll socks, etc..
You will display all your footgear in a perfect imaginary line under your bed. You will hang your laundry bag a certain way at the foot of your bed. In order to keep mildew to a minimum, most companies will allow you to hang up your wet and sweaty PT gear on the outside of your wallocker. Otherwise, if you are not in your room, your wallocker will remain locked at all times. More recruits get in trouble for leaving their things unsecured than anything else in BT Land! Get in the habit now of keeping an eye on your things or keeping them locked up!
Once you move on to AIT, conditions may vary widely, depending on the post you go to. Some posts are just like BT, others have more semi-private rooms with sometimes a shared latrine between two rooms!
Once you get to your regular unit of assignment, again conditions will vary. If you are a single soldier, you will live in the barracks. Some posts have consolidated barracks for all units, others will have units with their own barracks space. As a lower enlisted single soldier, it is extremely rare that you would be allowed to live off-post. You'll only see this at some remote locations with no barracks space.
If you are married, hopefully, your family will be coming with you on your first Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move. Most posts do have family housing, and you will be housed according to your rank and number of dependents. You may find that your post has a waiting list for housing though. I've seen folks wait to move on post anywhere from 3 months to 1 year! In this case, if there is no immediate housing (or within 30-60 days, I believe) you will be given a non-availability statement to go find something off post. You will also get a Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) to cover those living expenses (rent or mortgage). My advice is to always go through the housing office on post, as they can assist you in finding something in your price range off post. You also have to make sure that the lease has a military clause in case you should get transferred before your lease is up. This will allow you to get out of your lease early, with no strings attached. If you like, you can still stay on the waiting housing list and be notified when something comes available on post. The only downside is that if you have had your household goods delivered (which you can only store for 60 days at government expense), you'll have to pay for the move yourself on post.
Once you know where you want to be stationed for your first unit of assignment (if you happen to have that choice in your contract) or to get help in choosing (or if you are just curious), I highly recommend visiting the
Military Installations link at Military.com to see what units are stationed on which post, what facilities they have, housing (including family housing and barracks space) and other "need to know" info. Each post also has job assistance help for your spouse. You will find this at Army Community Service. Their info is worth a look also. If you already signed "on the dotted line", you can access the official DOD S.I.T.E.S. website. Here you will find detailed info on all the military posts, to include how you go about moving there, other relocation info, housing wait times for govt on-post quarters and rental rates for off-post, plus a variety of other resources a newcomer would need.