Navy Boot Camp Reading List

Welcome Aboard and Welcome to the Navy! I’m glad you are here and glad to be able to share some of my hard-learned lessons.  I’ve been in the service for over 22 years and I’m happy you are joining me and following in the steps of great individuals such as John McCain, Admiral Nimitz, and Marcus Luttrell.

Much has been written on the importance of reading once you are IN the service. All the four services have updated reading lists, with some containing over 100 books. However, little has been written on the importance of reading BEFORE you join the service.

Most individuals receive their first introduction to the military through mass media. Movies like Top Gun, Black Hawk Down, Hurt Locker and Sole Survivor along with games such as SOCOM and Call of Duty. This may be fine to spark that initial interest, but does little to show actual military life or prepare young men and women for military service.

There are four primary reading categories that you should be familiar with prior to starting Boot Camp. These are: Fitness, Military Leaders, Military History / Traditions and yes, even Military Fiction.  Buy exploring these categories you will have a much better understanding of the roll, history, and mindset of the military before raising your hand and joining on your first day.

Fitness Related Books

There is one military fitness author that I continue to recommend, again and again, Stew Smith, author of multiple military fitness books, friend, and former Navy SEAL. Stew is a fitness trainer, one on one coach, and creates training programs for Military, Police, Fire Department and SOF.  Even if you are not planning on applying for Special Forces, Stew’s books will help you excel while in boot camp. He has a number of service-specific books which can be purchased on

Military Leaders

  • It does not Take a Hero: The autobiography of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
  • John McCain: American Maverick
  • The Accidental Admiral
  • Journey: Memoirs of an Air Force Chief of Staff

Military History and Tradition

  • A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy
  • The Bluejacket’s Manual, 25th Edition (Blue & Gold Professional Series)
  • Killer Angeles
  • Flags of our Fathers


  • Starship Troopers
  • Red Badge of Courage
  • Gates of Fire
  • Red Storm Rising – Tom Clancy
  • A Letter to Garcia

If you have recently graduated from boot camp and would like to add any additional books to this reading list please let me know in the comments below.

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