Air Force Basic Military Training is designed to help enlistees master the discipline, teamwork and foundational knowledge needed to be a successful Airman in the world’s greatest Air Force. Training teaches the fundamentals of military life. It also emphasizes war-fighting and remote deployment skills that prepare Airmen to be a part of today’s expeditionary Air Force. Successfully completing Air Force Basic Military Training earns graduates the distinct privilege of “proudly wearing the blue uniform of the most powerful Air Force in the world and the honor of protecting our Nation’s freedoms.”
Where Is Air Force Basic Training
The Air Force has one location for enlisted basic military training (BMT) whether you are joining the Active Duty force, the Air Force Reserves, or the Air National Guard. All trainees will attend 7.5 weeks of Air Force BMT with the 737th Training Group at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in San Antonio, Texas. The hot and humid climate may come as a shock to those not used to it, especially if you are attending training during the summer months. However, the BMT training program is designed to help you safely acclimate to the subtropical climate of south-central Texas.
How Hard Is Air Force Basic Training
Every year, roughly 35,000 Air Force recruits go through BMT. The training program is both mentally and physically rigorous. It’s important to arrive at BMT physically conditioned to face the challenges that lay ahead.
Upon arrival, you will be administered a physical fitness evaluation. The test consists of pushups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. Trainees will also complete 1-hour physical training sessions 6 days a week. Being physically ready will better prepare you to pass fitness events and prevent injuries. Do not arrive at Air Force BMT with the intention of getting in shape—you should be in top physical condition before you even step off the bus!
Although Air Force BMT is physically demanding, it can be even more mentally demanding. This is a totally new experience that you have never been through before. There are many reasons why Air Force BMT can be mentally challenging.
- It might be your first time away from family
- There will be yelling—lots of yelling
- You won’t know anyone
- The days will be long
- You’re going to be tired
- Everything is a high-pressure situation
Having realistic expectations ahead of time can make all the difference in getting you to graduation. Basic Military Training wasn’t designed to be easy. It was designed to make you a better version of yourself both physically and mentally.
How Long Is Basic Training for Air Force Reserves
Air Force Basic Military Training consists of the same program for all Air Force components. Whether you are enlisting in the Active Duty force, the Air Force Reserves, or the Air National Guard, you will attend 7.5 weeks of training focused on discipline, teamwork, and military knowledge.
Air Force Basic Training Pay
If there is one good thing about Air Force BMT, it’s that you get paid to be there! Once you raise your hand at MEPs, you are part of the military and entitled to military pay and benefits. But, you won’t see any of that cash until you in-process during Week 0 and establish your military pay record. Military personnel are paid on the 1st and 15th of each month. If you arrive at BMT before the 10th of the month, expect to see your first paycheck by the 15th. If you arrive after the 10th, you will see your first direct deposit on the 1st of the following month.
Base pay for an E-1 with less than 2 years of service is $1,680.90 a month. If you have dependents (a spouse or children) you will be eligible to receive a Basic Allowance for Housing as well as a Family Separation Allowance of $250 per month once you’ve been away for more than 30 days.
Preparing for Air Force Basic Training
“There are no secrets to success, it is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” – Colin Powell
As soon as you’ve made the decision to raise your right hand, you need to start getting ready for basic training. Although Air Force BMT is the shortest basic training of all of the armed services, that doesn’t mean it is any less of a challenge.
Air Force BMT is broken down into 7, 1-week phases. Each week will progress on the knowledge and skills learned in the previous phase. Here’s an in-depth preview of what you can expect each week and here’s how you can best prepare.
The importance of arriving at BMT physically prepared cannot be emphasized enough. Your life will be much easier if you aren’t behind the curve. Take time leading up to basic training to work out and condition yourself. You’re going to be participating in rigorous physical activity for at least one hour out of each day, 6 days a week. In order to prepare your body, you should be exercising at least 3-5 days a week in the 6 weeks leading up to basic training. Workouts should include both aerobic exercises such as running and strength exercises such as pushups and sit-ups. The Air Force recommends this 14-week plan to help you get in shape.
While you are perfecting your pushups and working on your run time, you should also take some time to prepare academically for BMT. Here are 6 things that will help prepare you to be a successful trainee at BMT:
- Rank Structure – Rank structure is foundational to the military. You will encounter people of all different ranks, both enlisted and officer. It’s important to be able to recognize the different ranks of the Air Force. Make flashcards to help you memorize them.
- Airman’s Creed – You’re going to say the Airman’s Creed a lot at BMT, so start practicing it now.
- Air Force Song – If you just get the first verse down, you’ll be in good shape.
- Air Force Core Values – Try to memorize these core values as they will be integral to your training in shaping you as a new Airman and will be important throughout your military service.
Service Before Self
Excellence in All We Do
- Reporting Statement – During BMT you will be called on to “report” to a superior, usually your Military Training Instructor (MTI). When asked to report, you will need to respond with “Sir/Ma’am, trainee (last name) reports as ordered.” Take some time to practice this out loud with friends or family.
- Military Time – The military runs on a 24-hour clock and you don’t want to be doing the math when your MTI is inches from your face and you’re trying to figure out that she really means 5:00 pm when she says 1700.
In addition to being physically and academically prepared, there are some practical skills to come to basic training with.
- Pick up some basic housekeeping skills like ironing and making your bed; you’ll make friends fast.
- Learn the basics of healthy eating. You won’t have much time, so making smart choices that will keep you feeling full, but not sluggish, are key.
- Make sure your finances are in order. Don’t allow any debts or unpaid bills to accrue while you are away at training.
- Practice good study habits—BMT isn’t all about getting physically stronger.
- Be prepared to be part of a team. You’re going to be eating, sleeping, working, and fighting together with your flight mates.
- Adjust to your new sleep schedule now. A typical day at Air Force BMT starts at 0545 and ends at 2100.
- Let your family know communication will be limited. There’s nothing worse than your MTI receiving a call from mom or dad checking up on you.
Air Force Basic Military Training is no walk in the park. But, if you show up with just a little preparation, you’ll thank yourself for it in the long run. Accept the challenge and you’ll come out tougher, stronger, and smarter. You’ll also make some great memories along the way. By the end of those 7.5 weeks, you’ll be looking sharp in those Air Forces blues ready to take on your technical training and first duty station!