About Air Force Boot Camp
Over 30,000 recruits go through basic training to enter the U.S. Air Force each year. Each one of them has been offered an opinion of what he will face when he reaches Lackland Air Force Base, the home base of the Air Force.
Recruits have all been told their share of horror stories and given countless techniques on how to make basic training easier. However, new Air Force recruits will be able to tell pretty impressive stories of their own after leaving the revamped basic training, the first of its kind since the Vietnam War.
Historically, Air Force recruits went through 6 weeks of basic training, where they were taught military discipline, physical fitness, firearm training, drills, military dress codes and warfare survival techniques. Even though basic training challenged recruits physically, it was more of a mental challenge. The idea was to build critical thinking skills that are needed in warfare.
The boot camp for all Air Force recruits is conducted on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. The basic military training (BMT) taught recruits the discipline needed to become an air man.
The Air Force basic training is going through a major overhaul because of war deployment. As of October 2008, the basic training for the Air Force will be extended from 6 1/2 weeks to 8 1/2 weeks. “It’s night and day from when I came in. These are the biggest changes in the Air Force’s history,” said Tech. Sgt.
Magdalena Cortez, a 17-year Air Force veteran who teaches ground combat training to recruits. Due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Air Force personnel are forced to perform duties that were otherwise reserved for the Army.
As of 2005, the Air Force focused on making recruits “war-ready.” Instead of just learning how to shoot an M-16, they were issued the rifle. They were expected to be able to shoot it, break it down and clean it.
The extended basic training program will include a field exercise called Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training (BEAST), which will replace the historic field exercise and will consist of a mock airfield that will place recruits in situations that air men actually face when they are in remote locations.
The Air Force will continue to teach its recruits discipline, critical thinking, ethics, how to be a team player and how to follow the chain of command. However, candidates will always need a support system during Air Force boot camp, so family and friends should write and send care packages whenever possible.
The Air Force is financially responsible for getting recruits to Lackland Air Force Base. After arriving at the base, recruits will meet their T.I. (training instructor) who will take the recruits to the dormitory where they will dwell for the next eight and a half weeks.
When recruits are set for departure, they will be shipped to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), where enlistment paperwork and physical training results will be reviewed. At the end of the basic training, recruits will take part in the ceremony to be sworn into the active-duty Air Force.