Surviving Air Force Basic Training: Meals


Offutt Air Force Base/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

One good thing about Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) is that you'll get three really good meals per day. On the other hand, they won't be much fun. Shortly after your arrival, you'll notice that some T.I.'s look different. They wear blue braided ropes on their shoulders (or sometimes on their Smokey-the-Bear Hats. These are members of the T.I. "Stan Eval" team. They're the supervisors of the T.I.'s.

They spend most of their time trying to catch you doing something wrong, so they can chew out the T.I. that supervises you.

One of their favorite places to do this is at a table in the dining facility, called the "snake pit," or "the pit." The table is strategically arranged so that all recruits have to pass in front of it to get seconds, or when bringing their empty tray to the collection point. It's common for the Stan Eval T.I.'s to call recruits over when they pass through "the pit" and play a game of "20 questions" with them. How you answer, and comport yourself is a reflection upon you and your primary T.I. It also adds a lot of stress to the basic training program.

Other than the unpleasant task of negotiating your way around the "Snake Pit," you will be surprised (and pleased) about the quality of "chow halls" in today's military (including at basic training).

It's cafeteria style.

You go through the line and take what you want. It used to be, in basic training, that you were forced to eat everything you took. However, the Air Force has gotten away from that philosophy. Just like with raising young children, forcing individuals to "eat everything on your plate" leads to over-eating habits, which leads to weight problems.

In the Air Force, for breakfast there will be eggs to order, hash browns, sausage/bacon, pancakes/french toast, juice, milk, cereals, coffee (if you T.I. says you can have coffee), and fruits.

For lunch/supper, there are two lines: full meal, and snack bar. Full meal will have the choice of two entrees (example, meat loaf or chicken). There will be several different kinds of vegetables. The snack bar line has hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, sandwiches, chili, french fries, etc. There are water, milk, Kool-Aid, and sodas (if you T.I. says you can drink soda). There is also a salad bar, and desserts, including cakes and ice cream (if you T.I. says you can have sweets).

For the first couple of weeks, your meal-time will be limited. You'll only have a few minutes from the time the last person in your flight gets to the table to finish your meal. You'll learn not to waste time, and eat fast. However, after the first couple of weeks, you'll have more time for meals.

During The BEAST, you'll also get a chance to sample MREs (Meals, Ready to Eat)