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How long was Basic Training during the Vietnam War? Were draftees ever sent to Vietnam with only 2 weeks of training? A friend of mine insists that some of his friends were sent to war without adequate training, specifically only 2 weeks.

Eadie Harley




Dear Eadie,

Although I underwent the usual eight weeks of “Basic” in 1984—followed by 13 weeks of advanced training in my MOS (military occupational specialty) in 1985, I checked with a fellow editor who had been with the U.S. Army in Vietnam, to make sure whether it was any different then. His response was as follows:

“Basic Training was eight weeks, in some cases nine. From there you went to Advanced Individual Training. AIT for an infantryman (11B) was eight weeks, though in my case, it was nine weeks. By two weeks into Basic you had not even gotten your hands on your rifle yet.

“From the day I enlisted (September 26, 1966) to the day I set foot in Vietnam (March 26, 1967), it was exactly six months. I’ve known a few guys who got there a few weeks short of six months, but not many. Anybody sent into combat with only two weeks of training would last about three minutes (if that) into his first fire fight. But far worse, he’d get half the guys around him killed.”

David Zabecki, Major General, U.S. Army (retired)



Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History

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