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Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, is home to the U.S. Air Force boot camp. This boot camp is a six-week program that teaches the recruit Air Force history, military lifestyle, and physical fitness. Also called basic military training (BMT), it is broken into 45-man groups called flights. Each flight will work together to train and learn about the Air Force lifestyle. The top goal of BMT is to teach recruits how to work and function as a group.
Air Force boot camp is broken into training sections that change each week. For example, paperwork and clothing issue are all parts of the first week of training. Haircuts and learning to identify Air Force rank insignias are accompanied with physical training and classes on Air Force history. Medical and dental issues will be addressed, I.D. cards will be issued, and the flights will prepare their dormitory. Recruits will also learn how to salute and report properly.
Week two teaches the recruit to march and drill properly. Basic military lifestyle and military expectation will be addressed, and recruits will begin to work as a team within their flight and individualism will begin to disappear. Each recruit will speak with his or her military training instructor and the flight will prepare for inspection. Personal fitness and appearance will be stressed during week two.
The following weeks focus on physical training and discipline, which are the driving forces behind Air Force boot camp. Turning civilians into military personnel capable of going to war is the job of those in charge. Finding ways to motivate and explaining what is expected of the recruits is the job of the training officers. The experience molds individuals into team players.
When peace time turns into time of conflict, a soldier has only his or her training to depend on in order to survive. Air Force boot camp insures that all of the recruits who finish the training program have the skills necessary to survive any situation. Once a recruit has mastered a classroom scenario, he or she will have a chance to exhibit his or her skills in a mock battle situation. Stress, excitement and fear will all be matters of focused training to help a new recruit survive any form of conflict.
Boot camp is a process, and the result is well-trained soldiers and airmen. Working as a team, airmen learn how to be an individual member of an elite team. Basic training creates well oiled parts of the greater organization.
Air Force boot camp training only lasted 6 weeks when I was at Lackland AFB, but I think they've extended it since then, I don't know. People think that the Air Force is not as demanding as the other branches, but it really depends on the assignment. After my Air Force boot camp graduation, I was assigned to communications training. The Air Force recruiter told me that communications was a great assignment, even better than intelligence work.
I'd say the advanced training school experience was a 180 degree turn from boot camp. During boot camp, the drill instructors supervise practically every move a recruit makes. We marched to meals, we marched to drills and we marched back to the
dormitory. The first thing you need to get out of your head during basic training is that you are going to do things your way and on your time. It's all about working as a group to get through whatever situation the drill instructors put you into.
After high school, I went with my brother to take the Army's aptitude test, also known as the ASVAB. I wasn't really interested in joining the military, but I wanted to take the test anyway in case I changed my mind. I did pretty good on the test, and an Air Force recruiter called me a few weeks later to have a little talk. I thought the Air Force would be more to my liking, since I wasn't a gung ho Marine type and I hated the water.
I signed up for a four year enlistment in the Air Force, and they sent me to Lackland Air Force boot camp. All of us were still wearing our civilian clothes
, so the drill instructors called us "rainbows". They gave us uniforms and instruction manuals and then assigned us bunks in the barracks. The day started at 5 in the morning and didn't end until 8 at night. They cut off our hair, taught us to march and then held classes all day.
I'd have to say it was a very stressful environment, because at any point a drill instructor or other officer could "correct" one of us at the top of his voice. I think the point was to learn how to complete an order without letting other things stress you out. I'd say the most important thing is to be mentally prepared for the stressful environment of basic training, even more than the physical demands.