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Air Force Basic Training
Air Force Basic Training

A training instructor marching his unit following the issuance of uniforms and gear.

Get Ready for Air Force Basic Training (BMT)

The Air Force basic training has changed a lot in the last couple of years and is geared more than ever towards war-fighting skills and awareness and remote deployment. What that means is even though your guaranteed Air Force job may be that of veterinarian, broadcaster, dental assistant or cook, at the end of the day the Air Force wants to make sure you know how to handle a weapon and take care of yourself in the field. Thus, Air Force basic training now spends more time on “field skills” and physical conditioning. In fact, the new improved Air Force basic training goes far beyond the fundamentals of military life. Sure you’ll still learn how to salute and march and fold your underwear into little 6 inch squares, but the Air Force has tacked two extra weeks onto BMT making it 8½ weeks instead of 6½ weeks of fun in the Texas sun.

Welcome to Lackland Air Force Base

You and dozens like you will arrive at Lackland Air Force Base by bus, train or perhaps even by airplane. The Air Force tries to have all new recruits arrive within a few days of the beginning of the BMT cycle. Chances are you’ll arrive earlier and not later and in the interim you will all spend your waking hours cleaning toilets, picking up cigarette butts, mowing grass and whatever else the Training Instructor (TI) cadre feels like having you do.

Once all the recruits have arrived on station it’s off to the races: you’ll be assigned a flight (the group of recruits who will train with you), you’ll get your hair cut, your uniforms will be issued and you’ll get a bunk assigned. You’ll do a lot more and to be honest, this doesn’t even count towards the real “beginning” of basic training! It’ll all come at you and your new buddies hard and fast. It’ll seem like nothing you do is done fast enough or good enough to meet the standards of your Training Instructor. And even if it IS they sure aren’t going to let you know about it. Not when fear is such a great motivator. A word of advice: just do it. Don’t get caught up in the melodrama.

Week by Week

It’s not realistic to map out exactly what will happen to you during BMT day by day. So the key for you to get ready for Air Force basic training is for you to be flexible and thick-skinned. Every day what you do and learn will build on what you did and learned the day before. And lest you think it’s all about YOU, then think again. You are just one of the 30 or 40 people in your Flight and you all will learn quickly that individual success is underscored by the overall success of your Flight. The one or two individuals who have a hard time making their bed, doing their push-ups or marching in step can easily drag everyone down.

Basically though, each day is broken down into training blocks that revolve around Air Force doctrine and core values. As the days and weeks progress you will notice (hopefully) that the physical conditioning is not so tasking and that it’s a little easier to shine your boots and make your bed and the scheme of Air Force chain-of-command will be more readily understood. You will meet with an Air Force “career counselor” who will make sure you have a job close to or same with what you want to do for a living. You will also receive the rest of your uniforms.

The Nitty-Gritty on Physical Training

If you’re not in decent shape before you arrive for Air Force basic training you’ll sure be in shape when you finish. The six-day-a-week physical fitness program includes three days of aerobic running and three days of muscular endurance training. The runs consist of 40-minute group-paced runs, self-paced running and even sprint intervals separated by brisk walking. And not only that, but each week, you’ll be timed on a two-mile run to check your progress.

The muscular endurance training takes up to 48 minutes on a circuit of crunches, leg lifts, push ups, flutter kicks and pull-ups. These are designed to improve upper body and abdominal strength quickly.

In order to graduate from Air Force basic training you will need to accomplish the following (and this is non-negotiable):

The muscular endurance training takes up to 48 minutes on a circuit of crunches, leg lifts, push ups, flutter kicks and pull-ups. These are designed to improve upper body and abdominal strength.

Air Force Physical Fitness Test

It all starts to make sense

The last two and half weeks of Air Force basic training are where everything really comes together. You will spend your time in the field as you leave on a simulated deployment. You’ll learn how to fire an M-16 and identify UXO’s (unexploded ordinance). You’ll learn first-aid and carry a rucksack. It’s a far cry from what the Army and Marine Corp train like, but you didn’t join the Army or Marine Corp! During the time you get ready for Air Force basic training  you will only be getting a taste of what Air Force life is really like. Your training will continue as you go ahead to your technical school and it will continue even more once you get to your first duty assignment.

In those last two weeks of Air Force basic training everything you’ve been doing up until then will finally start to make sense. You and the rest of your flight will be performing as a cohesive unit as you experience pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment.

Job well-done!

Before you know it Air Force basic training will be over. Your Training Instructor will treat you a little more like a human being and a little less like a ball of snot. You will have your orders for your advanced technical training.

What’s more, as you are heading out the door you’ll’ notice new recruits heading in and you’ll snicker a bit and maybe breathe a sigh of relief because you made it!