Surviving Air Force Basic Training

Basic Cadet Training
Natalie Shellhouse/Flickr

It most certainly is not your Daddy's Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) anymore. Since November 2005, the Air Force has changed the way they turn civilians into Air Force members, emphasizing war-fighting and remote deployment skills much more than they have in years past. First, they toughened up the physical fitness standards. Then they placed greater emphasis on weapons training. Next, they replaced classroom training on folding underwear into six-inch squares, with additional training on combat-related skills such as first aid "buddy care," and chemical/biological weapons defense.

Then in November of 2008, the Air Force another major change -- the length of AFBMT was expanded from 6½ weeks to 8½ weeks.  This year (2015), the Air Force again made changes to AFBMT - though they kept basic training at the traditional 8½ weeks, they re-engineered the schedule.  Recruits will march in the graduation parade at the 7½ week mark — one week earlier than trainees traditionally have. But instead of heading off to technical training afterward, they'll return to AFBMT for the capstone (transition) week, when they'll cover in detail topics such as ethical decision making, wingmanship, resiliency, respect and sexual assault prevention and response.  (This article will be further updated with the new schedule as soon as it can be acquired - the contents will remain pretty much the same, only the order in which they are accomplished will differ)

So, what can you expect during AFBMT, and what can you do to get ready?

Read on, my friend...

The Air Force only has one location for enlisted basic training: the 737th Training Group, at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas. It doesn't matter if you're joining the active duty Air Force, the Air Force Reserves, or the Air National Guard. All new Air Force recruits go through the same basic training at Lackland.

Each year, over 35,000 new recruits go through AFBMT. The new AFBMT is not only designed to teach the fundamentals of military life, but also places great emphasis on the Air Force Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment cycle, which consists of pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment phases.

Getting Ready to Go

Reporting to Basic Training

Basic Training Life

Settling In (Zero Week and Week 1)

Pre-Deployment Phase (Week #2 through Week #5)

Deployment Phase (Week #6)

Post Deployment Phase (Week #7)

Graduation Week (Week #8)

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