A guide to surviving Air Force Basic Military Training - We Are The Mighty

A guide to surviving Air Force Basic Military Training

Think you have what it takes to successfully complete Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) and become an airman? It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, BMT will be the ride of a lifetime!

Your journey to becoming an airman starts in San Antonio, Texas, where you’ll embark on a seven-and-a-half week transformation from civilian to service member. This boot camp will challenge you both mentally and physically, but the reward for completing it is immeasurable. You’ll make lifelong friends, learn valuable skills, and develop a sense of pride from serving your country. So, are you ready to rise to the challenge?

Week Zero

Week Zero of BMT is an intense and critical stage in the journey to becoming an airman. This foundation will help create a solid base for the rest of your training and your career. 

As soon as you arrive, you’ll be thrown into the deep end with a flurry of briefings and administrative tasks. You’ll meet your training commander, receive your training clothes, and get your hair cut in the signature military style. But that’s just the beginning.

Next, you’ll visit the medical staff, who will perform a thorough health assessment, including administering vaccines and drawing blood. This is a crucial step in ensuring that you are physically and mentally ready to tackle the rigorous demands of BMT.

And now, it’s time to put your physical fitness to the test. During Week Zero, you’ll start your physical training, including running, jumping, marching, and drilling. These activities are designed to build strength, endurance, and discipline. They will also be a good indicator of what will come during the rest of BMT.

air force basic military training run
U.S. Air Force photo by C Arce.

Weeks One, Two, and Three

BMT Week One is where you’ll dive deeper into the military lifestyle and start learning the skills you’ll need as an Airman. You’ll continue your physical training, learning to push yourself to new limits. You’ll also learn about the basic principles of military etiquette, including saluting and reporting procedures.

One of the highlights of Week One will be the weapons training you’ll receive. You’ll be introduced to your weapon, learn about safety procedures, and get some hands-on experience with shooting techniques. 

Another essential aspect of this first week of BMT is education. You’ll take courses in military etiquette, dress, and the law of armed conflict. These courses will give you a comprehensive understanding of the military lifestyle and the role that you’ll play as an Airman.

Week Two of BMT will give you a glimpse into your future as an airman. You’ll receive career guidance and talk to a counselor to determine your best path. Additionally, you’ll learn about the Air Force’s history and participate in team-building exercises with your fellow recruits.

Week Three is all about technology and the future of warfare. You’ll take a course in cyber awareness, which will prepare you for the critical role that technology plays in the military. This is the week of BMT that you’ll also receive more weapons training, this time focusing on the role of warriors in conflict.

Four, Five, and Six

Week Four of BMT You’ll start with a focus on environmental awareness, learning about the importance of preserving natural resources. You’ll also get your second haircut, marking another milestone in your transformation from civilian to servicemember.

Additionally, you’ll learn about military citizenship and the responsibilities that come with serving your country. As always, physical training will be a key component of your education, helping you to build strength, endurance, and resilience.

During the fifth week of BMT, you’ll get your first official portrait taken, capturing this exciting moment in your life. You’ll also be introduced to the U.S. Air Force Code of Conduct, which will guide your actions and decisions as an Airman.

Finally, Week Six is all about testing your endurance. By this point of BMT, you’ll have completed weeks upon weeks of physical training and will be ready to take on the ultimate challenge. You’ll undergo a physical exam, which will determine your readiness to serve. And of course, there will be more physical training to help you reach your peak performance.

Winding Down in Weeks 7 & 8

You’ve nearly finished BMT by the time you reach Week Seven and this is when things get real. You’ll be tested in a combat simulation field exercise that will challenge your physical and mental capacity. This will be an intense, immersive experience that will test your skills and training. You’ll be expected to work with fellow recruits to overcome obstacles, complete missions, and show mastery of military tactics and techniques.

Say hello to the home stretch by the time you reach Week Eight. It’s graduation week! Before you call yourself an Airman though, you’ll attend your departure briefing, which will provide you with all the information you need to start your new career.  

air force basic military training graduation
U.S. Air Force basic military graduation and coining ceremony is held July 22, 2021, for the 326th Training Squadron at the Pfingston Reception Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Robert H. Dabbs)

Leaving BMT, you’ll have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to serve as an airman. You’ll be part of an elite group of men and women dedicated to serving their country and protecting their fellow citizens. You’ll have earned the right to wear the uniform. The next chapter of your Air Force journey awaits!

After Graduation

After completing BMT, airmen typically move on to technical training specific to their chosen career field. This training can range from several weeks to several months and is designed to provide the skills and knowledge necessary to perform the specific duties of their job in the Air Force. You might end up at any of the amazing Air Force installations around the country or you could even head abroad.

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