Air Force Basic Training and Recruit Leadership Positions

The Leadership Positions Available During Air Force Basic Training

Military Training Instructor
During Air Force Basic Training, T.I.s organize their flight and assign leadership positions such as Dorm Chief and Element Leaders. By Master Sergeant Cecilio Ricardo - US Air Force Public Affairs [1], Public Domain

The Training Instructors (T.I.s) will organize their Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) flight within the first couple of days. If you have shown any degree of leadership or military knowledge (such as JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, or Boy Scout Eagle), the T.I. may select you to become the "Dorm Chief," or an "Element Leader."

Leadership Positions During Basic Training

Sometimes, though not exclusively, T.I.'s will select older members of the flight for these leadership positions.

Generally, older members have some leadership qualities learned through civilian employment, are generally more mature, and able to handle responsibility better under stress. But this is not a "hard and fast" rule. The T.I. has full authority to select the Dorm Chief and Element Leaders using whatever criteria they wish. It's not unusual for the "original" choices not to work out, and the T.I. may make changes to the flight leadership after a period of observation.

The Dorm Chiefs and Element Leaders

The Dorm Chief is the top "recruit-leader" in the flight. He or she is responsible for making sure that all orders, standard ops, and instructions are carried out correctly when the T.I.'s aren't around. You won't make many friends if you're selected as Dorm Chief.

To assist the Dorm Chief in this enormous responsibility, the flight is divided into "elements," and an "element leader" is put in charge of each.

The Element Leaders report to the Dorm Chief and assist in assuring that members of the element comply with orders and instructions. The bad news is that being a Dorm Chief or an Element Leader means that in addition to being responsible for things you do wrong, you have the added pleasure of being responsible for things that members of the flight (or your element) do wrong as well.

The Flight Guideon

The T.I. will also choose a Flight Guideon. While not exactly a leadership position in that the Guideon doesn't have the authority to tell people what to do, it's a very important position nonetheless. The Guideon carries the flight flag and marches in front of the flight. When the T.I. commands the flight to march to the left, it's the Guideon who turns first, and the other members of the flight align themselves on the Guideon. One disadvantage to being the Guideon is that you have to carry the unit flag every time your flight marches somewhere (which is most of the time). The good news is that the Guideon really stands out from the crowd. Your parents, friends and loved ones will have no problem picking you out during the Airman's Run or graduation parade.

Want to know more about Air Force basic training? Read the rest of the Surviving Air Force Basic Training series.