When it rains it pours…

…So I just put on my rain boots and dance in the rain until it stops.

Or at least, that’s what I like to think.

Today threw me a few curve balls, and taught me some lessons.

Yesterday I hadn’t paid attention to my schedule and arrived to the briefing 3 minutes late-when I THOUGHT I was getting there early. (Because as any Airman knows, 15 minutes early is on time). Thankfully I wasn’t the only one to make that mistake, but we were of course held accountable to our fuck up and asked to stay after to get talked to. We were on a one and done deal, late again and they’d talk to our supervisors.

So this morning I set my alarm 10 minutes earlier so I’d be able to accommodate running a little behind and still be on time. So glad I did.

I get my hair in a bun, get my uniform on, grab my bag and head out the door with a growling stomach- because I hadn’t been allowed to eat since 7:30 last night due to labwork I needed to get done- but I’d had a belly dancing class. So really I hadn’t eaten since 5pm and I was HUNGRY.

I’m walking towards my car and hit the clicker- no beep. Hmm, strange. I get closer and hit it again. Still no beep. Okay not good. I get to my car and manually unlock it- thinking maybe my key remote had died. I go to start my car. Nothing. I try again. Still nothing. Okay panic time- I had an appointment in 25 minutes, it would take at least 5 minutes to get there, walking wasn’t an option, and if I was late I’d be in deep shit. I get out of my car and think frantically- Okay obviously I wasn’t about to fix my car just then, my priority was getting to the clinic and getting to my tests. And not crying because I was tired and hungry and extremely overwhelmed.

Then I remember I’m not a civilian anymore. I’m not by myself, I’m not screwed, I’m not ‘lucky’ if someone stops to help me. So I whip out my phone and call a fellow FTAC Airman that I’d eaten lunch with the first day, and met at the gym to learn some pointers 2 days before. I call him, and woke the poor guy up- then tell him my car wont start and I have an appointment in, now, 20 minutes. He was on it. I called my sister, whom had helped me buy the car, and told her what was up. She offered me some suggestions to get the car going but to no avail. Alas, it would have to wait until later.

Said fellow Airman pulled up within a few minutes, fully dressed in uniform and ready to go. I got to my appointment in time and he went in with me and just waited anyway- even though his appointment wasn’t for another hour after mine.

I’ll save the play by play of the appointment, and fast forward to what really sealed the deal for me. I’d got a ride back with another guy to my dorm and the guy who’d helped me in the morning texted me seeing if I needed a ride back since he’d just gotten out of his appointment. Well no, but I offered to buy us brunch (since we hadn’t eaten since last night) if he’d be willing to try jumpstarting my car, but first take me to go buy jumper cables (something I regret not having already purchased). So we went to Denny’s, along with another guy from my FTAC class, then got some jumper cables and headed back to base.

I, knowing nothing about cars, stood buy and let the guys do their thing. They tried jumping my car to no avail. So guy #1 suggests we go to the auto hobby shop on base and see if they could help. He drives us there. Bring us the battery- they said. WHAT. I don’t know how to remove a fucking battery. Okay, I didn’t even know which black part the battery was in my car. Guy #2 happens to know how to remove and re-install them. Damn my day is being saved.

Long story short? We go back to my dorm and remove the battery, we bring the battery back to the auto shop. Come back in an hour they said. We go to guy #1’s dorm and get something to drink and play xbox for a bit, then go back to the auto hobby shop, pick up the battery and go back to my dorm. Guy #2 reinstalls my battery and the moment of truth came. My car started and all was well in the world again.

I couldn’t have been more grateful for being in the Air Force and having such awesome wingmen. I’d known them a few days, and already they had dedicated their entire afternoon helping me out and fixing my car for me- just for the sake of helping me. Even with the best of friends, I wouldn’t find this level of helpfulness anywhere else but right here where I’m at. In this group of people that would willingly lay down their lives for their country, their families, and each other. And I would do the same.

Motto for this post? Just help someone out. Even if you’re getting nothing in return materially, you are getting everything in return in reality. And I assure you, whoever you help will be eternally grateful.

Status of crisis: defeated

Status of my car: Getting checked out Saturday

Status of my day: Long, tiring, taxing, and rewarding.

Basic Training Weeks 4-8

First off- whoa. I meant to take a short break and I ended up getting through tech school before I ever finished my BMT posts. So sorry about that!

 

Picking up where I left off, 4th week has to be the quickest week of training in my opinion. The days were so packed full of events that the week was over before I knew it, and from this point on training was all gliding downhill from here.

 

4th Week:

 

  • CBRNE: A.K.A Gas Chamber! You get on a bus and get taken to the CBRNE site where you’ll spend the remainder of the day. First you’ll sit through safety information about the gas chamber, and going over your gas mask/equipment, fitting it properly, how to seal it. Pay attention to it- you want a good seal. You’ll get your MOPP gear and go through some exercises, learn how to put all your gear on, get briefed no the procedures of going through the chamber. I personally was one of the first people in the chamber- it’s WAY better. The gas gets released after the first people get inside so it isn’t as concentrated. You’ll get told what to do, but basically you do jumping jacks, walk around a bit, then you loosen your mask. When they tell you, you’ll pull it off completely and shout out your reporting statement before exiting the gas chamber, from there you’ll just walk around with your arms spread a few laps to get the gas off you, then you’ll take your gear off and clean out your mask. Tips: Hold your breath when you take off your mask to lessen the effects of the gas. After this you’ll have an MRE, and go through a few hours of classes giving you some information on chemicals, explosives, and information you’ll need for BEAST.
  • Blues/Name Tags: Super exciting until you actually get there. For hours you will be dressing/undressing, getting marked to get clothes altered, re fitting things on, waiting for them to get back to try them on, ect. It’s exhausting and boring, but nonetheless it’s a mile stone in BMT because not only do you finally have your blues- you have name tags! Which is a big deal when you’re 0-4th week.
  • Obstacle Course: Definitely a LOT of fun. They put a lot of emphasis on safety because so many people get hurt doing this, but honestly if you pay attention and use common sense- you’ll get through it just fine. There are several obstacles to go through, some of which may or may not be open (a lot were under construction). You’ll spend the day learning some safety, doing a walk through of the course, then actually going through it. The Weaver was the most physically challenging in my opinion- but I still got through it in decent timing. The rope swing was probably the hardest for my female flight, 98% of us fell into the water.
  • PT Evaluation: You’ll have a PT eval this week also. Seriously push out everything you have for this. There are some exceptions for this eval, like if you get seriously hurt at BEAST and can’t do your 7th week eval they MIGHT take your numbers from 4th week and let you graduate with them if you have passing numbers. Also where you’re at on 4th week is about where you’ll be for 7th week evaluations, because during BEAST you wont be doing much PT so when you hit 7th week you’ll be slower and weaker.
  • Weapons Evaluation: The training M16 weapon you were issued during 1st or 2nd week that you’ll have to have carried with you for Entry Control duty should be pretty familiar to you by now. You’ll have an evaluation where you have to take it apart and put it back together with less than two instructor assists in order to pass. It’s no longer timed but ideally you should be able to take it apart and put it back together in under 2 minutes – which isn’t hard.

5th Week:

 

This week goes by a little slower after such an eventful 4th week. You’ll have a LOT of classes, you’ll also take your flight photos and individual photos, and you’ll have some evaluations like locker inspections and control (marching). Overall it isn’t a bad week, nor a hard week.

 

6th Week:

BEAST WEEK! Camping out in tents, going through exercises, and learning to work together with other flights to earn beast excellence. It’s cold, it’s hot, it’s exhausting, and you just want to go back to your dorm- but when it’s over you realize how quickly it passed by and how easy it was in hindsight. Just push through it, it’s just one week of your life.

 

7th Week:

This is when everything starts hitting you- you’re about to graduate. Now it’s time to sink or swim. You have your EOC test, your final PC test, final inspections, Control, and a few other tests they have for you. You’re getting riled up for graduation, wearing blues, and walking around like you own the place. You also – if you’re lucky- will get to EC for baby flights coming in. (Which means you guard their dorms so their MTI’s can go home, or you help their MTI’s teach them basic things). DO IT. Don’t be the asshole that scares the new people and gives them bad information, don’t teach them shortcuts either- they need to learn for themselves. Think of your first week and what you wish you would’ve been taught, or how you wish you were treated. This is a great chance to start working on leadership and mentoring skills- which you will need. Don’t baby them, but help them out. Motivate them and give them tips to succeed.

 

8th Week:

And here it is. This week will CRAWL by, you’re dying to see your families and get out, you’ve passed your tests and all you’re doing is sitting around your dorm trying not to kill each other because at this point you’re so sick of the attitudes and everyone else. (Especially girls). But it finally rolls around. I’m not going to spoil the best part of BMT for anyone, but the last days you’re there are the best. Airman’s run goes quick but it’s exhilarating and amazing, the coin ceremony makes you feel like you’re 10 feet tall, and when you see your family or significant other again you will feel a thousand different emotions. You’ll spend the weekend with them and finally get to call yourself an Airman.

“Sir/Man Trainee Airman ____ reports are ordered…” Don’t say it. But you probably will. You’ll be so used to calling yourself a trainee you’ll tack it onto Airman in your reporting statement. But don’t worry, you’re an Airman now- call yourself one. The last night you’re in BMT is a long and sleepless one, you’re about to go off to tech school and you’re worried about being on your own because you realize BMT wasn’t so bad and it’s been a mental vacation.

 

Don’t worry. You made it- and you’ll keep making it.

 

You WILL get through Basic Training if you just do what you’re supposed to do and don’t stand out. Don’t get an attitude, don’t think you know more than anyone else, don’t think you’re better. Just get through it and put it behind you. BMT is just the first very very short step in your military career, or 4-6 years of your life. Get through it without a fight and it wont be so bad.

 

Air Force Basic Military Training

 

Wow- Basic Training is OVER. I honestly can’t say that I saw myself on the other side of the hurdle that’s known as BMT. I knew I was going to go, and I knew I wanted to be in the Air Force, but I can’t honestly say that I knew anything about going or how I would come out on the other side. But here I am- sitting at a table in Tech School, looking back at BMT in the rear view mirror. So how was Basic Training? What the hell did I do? I’m going to try my best to break it down for anyone and everyone that is curious. Think of it as an insiders survival guide. Because every Post BMT post/video/blog I’ve ever seen left SO much out. So this will be a multi-part blog, covering BMT up until Tech school, then I’ll continue on with my adventures from there.

 

0-1st Week. (Also known as hell week, sneaker week, and rainbow week).

How can I some up this week? Well, I honestly don’t even remember this week in detail. It became a blur so long ago sometimes I forget I even lived it. It’s hard and exhausting, and 0-2nd week are the worst weeks of BMT because it is nothing but in processing, appointments, and you adapting to your new schedule, environment, and stress. You get screamed at, you get told you’re doing everything wrong, you get rushed everywhere, you get belittled. You’re going to get your first issue of clothing, learn how to mark it all and put it away, you’re going to get a series of shots, urinalysis, and a bunch of other crazy appointments. Then you’re going to go to your first chapel briefing before Sunday and it’s going to be like a little patch of heaven in BMT.

I personally am not a religious person, but you better believe I was at church every Sunday and loved every second of it. There is every religion imaginable in BMT, and if you’re a crazy religion that doesn’t have a service, they will work to help you get your service. I went to the Contemporary service which was a lot of singing. It kept you awake and it kept you motivated, plus the Chaplain was awesome, and the praise band was really good.

Sometime in this time frame you’ll get your initial PT test. DO YOUR BEST. Give yourself a base line that you need to improve off of. And do not give up. Just don’t. There was a girl from my flight who gave up, she just couldn’t complete it- she said. They offered her another chance to take the test and she didn’t take it. So she got sent to med hold for out processing- Well as I was in my 8th week she was in her 3rd week- because after weeks and weeks of being in med hold UNABLE to go home yet, she decided to give it another try. Moral of this story? It is MUCH easier to get through basic by graduating than it is to just give up and go home. They will keep you for weeks, even months. You don’t just get to quit and go home right away. So no matter how hard it is, keep going, and just get through it.

 

Most important lessons I took away from 0-1st week:

  • Move with a sense of urgency. (You will hear this a thousand times. They mean it. If you think you’re moving fast, move faster)

  • You’re wrong. (Even if you’re right, you’re wrong)

  • They will give you an impossible task and an impossible time frame- Do it anyway. (The purpose of this is to actually follow orders and do your best. Show that you’re trying. Show you’re going to work your hardest, even if it’s impossible. If you go in telling yourself the task is impossible I guarantee they will make you do it 50 times over)

  • It gets better. No really, it does. Get through your second week and it starts getting better. You get into a routine, you get used to the stress, you start making friends, you start getting your life together.

  • Don’t give up. You’re capable of more than you think.

 

Things the old blogs don’t tell you:

  • Because it’s more of a newer thing do to critiques and “suggestions” the new BMT has this torture device called a Web Belt. I promise you, you will hate it. It will be around your waist from the moment you get up to the moment you go to sleep (aside PT). On it you have a pouch, and your canteen. Trust me, you will hate it. A lot. Also something not new, but also torturous is your IRS Parka. Now because I went in Jan-March, it was chilly, but not ALL the time. However they would make us wear this parka even when it wasn’t cold. Even when we were inside. We’d have to make our beds with these parka, do pushups with these parkas, run around with these parkas. You will be pouring sweat- and hating life. But it doesn’t last forever- remember that.

  • Get used to being naked in front of people. You’ll be showering with anywhere between 30-60 people. Changing in front of them. Peeing in front of them. Going to medical appointments. Just get used to it.

 

2nd – 3rd Weeks

This is when it starts picking up and you start realizing what BMT is about. You start going to class, you start doing PT regularly, you start getting put on your face. Those are the main things happening during these weeks (aside more appointments.) But you also begin to get some more freedom, you’ll be left alone for a few hours in the day room. You wont be yelled at as much (if you’re doing the right thing) overall you’ll start realizing that maybe you can do this. So to touch on the biggest parts of these weeks:

  • PT: You get your second PT test in the 2nd week, you will see BIG improvements if you motivate yourself. As far as regular PT, it alternates between muscle days and running. Running is hard if you’re not used to it so my advice is START RUNNING. No really, get some running shoes on and go run. Any bit you run will help you. You will run for 31 minutes nonstop. NONSTOP. The first 15 minutes you run in groups based off your initial run times, the pace is 2:15 a lap, and it’s nonstop. The next 10 minutes is a self paced run, but you cannot stop. The last 6 minutes alternate 30second sprinting/30 seconds walking. Muscle days get progressively harder through the weeks but they’re not impossible. I don’t consider myself a very strong person or very “fit” and I was able to do them. Situps, pushups, squat thrusts, partial squats, leg lifts, cross-knee crutches, and pyramid pushups. That’s it.

  • MTI Tools: A.K.A getting put on your face. You start off doing one set until you get to your second week, where it turns into 2 consecutive sets. Basically it’s pushups, flutter kicks, and squat thrusts. You can do these for any reason at any given time.

 

0-3rd week is nothing but getting adjusted and getting into the right mindset. My best advice to this is to work hard, don’t stress out. It’s only 8 ½ weeks of your life and it starts passing so much faster after this. So don’t give up and the most important thing: WORK TOGETHER. Some people in your flight will be terrible, the wont care, they wont want to work as a team. You’ll probably want them out of your flight. Just be an adult, be mature, and put your differences aside. Fighting, arguing, hating each other- it wastes your time, it divides your flight, and it really negatively affects your experience in BMT. As you start going further in your weeks of training, things like Warrior Flight, Honor Flight- they’ll start to matter to you. And you’ll realize that you need to work together in order to get those.

 

I’ll stop here for now and pick up again in the 4th week. Any questions/comments about anything- feel free to ask and I’ll answer as best as I can.