16 Tips to Help You Prepare for Air Force Basic Military Training
Your career in the United States Air Force will begin with Basic Military Training (BMT). This 9 week training course will transform you from civilian to prepared Airman with the skills and confidence you will need to become a fully functioning member of the U.S. Air Force. Use these tips and tricks to better prepare & set future trainees up for success at BMT.
Learn the Rank Structure
This may seem intimidating, but if you wait until BMT to learn this, memorizing these while an MTI yells at you for messing up his/her rank will be even more intimidating! Get it out of the way in the comfort of your own home! Check out this video I made to help you guys learn the rank structure: CLICK HERE
Learn Military Time
Learning military time will greatly lower your stress at BMT. From the moment you arrive, 24-hour time is what your MTI will use when referencing the time. It may seem difficult, but after a few minutes of effort, you'll get the hang of it.
Looking for help? Try this helpful guide: CLICK HERE
When preparing for BMT, RUNNING is going to be the most important part of your training. Start running no less than 3 times a week (ideally 5 times), running at least 2-4 miles per run. One of the best ways to improve at running is to run more often and push yourself more each run. No magic pills or drinks here.
Push-Ups. Much like running, the best way to get better at push-ups is to just do them. Start by doing push-ups 2-3 times a week and doing 5-100 per day. After a few weeks, start doing them everyday trying to reach 100-200 reps per day. You will see a huge improvement in the weeks to come. If you can't do any push-ups at the moment. NO WORRIES! (Makenna couldn't do a single push-up when we got married but now she can do over 20!) Start by doing push-ups on your knees. It may feel like you aren't accomplishing anything, but trust me, after a week or 2 of doing push-ups on your knees everyday, you will be able to do correct push-ups and then you build from there!
Sit-Ups. This is usually the easiest portion of the PT test for most. If its not your strongest point, that's okay! You just have to make sure you start doing sit-ups regularly! For sit-ups, follow the same plan for push ups. Do 50-100 reps per day, 3-5 times a week. Build yourself up to doing 100-200 reps total per day, everyday if you can.
Airman's Creed / Air Force Song
This might be two of the toughest things you'll have to memorize for BMT. I remember it took me nearly 4 weeks at basic until I had both of these down with out stumbling through them (Embarrassing I know). Don't do what I did and wait until you arrive to begin learning them both! Check out the link below for more info to help you get a head start. CLICK HERE
Learn to March
Learning to march before BMT is possibly one of the most important things a future trainee can do before leaving. Going into BMT with knowledge of marching commands and movements will help you stand out less to the MTI because you won't be that awkward kid marching out of step in your flight. Check out this video that explains the basics of marching: CLICK HERE
Learn Your Reporting Statement
In my opinion, this may be one of the most important things to learn before going to BMT. I don't think anyone in my flight had this down perfectly, even by the time we graduated. It gets really tricky at BMT, so learn it the best you can right now. Don't be hard on yourself at BMT when you slip up. To understand and memorize your reporting statement before leaving, check out this link: CLICK HERE
Learn the Air Force Core Values
The Core values are very simple. 3 things you need to memorize in this order:
- "Integrity first"
- "Service before self"
- "Excellence in all we do"
Don't Volunteer For Anything
Usually volunteering is the worst thing you can do at BMT. It's tricky because most of the time MTI's will ask a question such as "who likes bowling" and there will always be at least one kid who raises his hand high and says "I do!" and that's how you become Latrine Queen (The trainee in charge of the bathroom clean up crew). Be careful when your MTI asks for volunteers and watch out for trick questions! Usually the MTI will try to assign the worst and hardest jobs first. Good luck!
Put Laundry Tags on Personal Items
Any clothes you take to BMT will need your last four digits of your Social Security Number written on them, except for socks. You will use a black sharpie to write your tags, they usually go on the tag of your shirts or pants or on the back collar. It wasn't a big deal for me, but some people aren't happy with doing it. My advice is to only take clothes to BMT that you don't mind applying the laundry tag to.
Bring A Little Cash
I would suggest bringing (4) $5 bills. Some flights do donations for laundry detergent, towels, or other items that your flight will use as a whole. It works a lot easier when you can just donate $5 rather than only having a $20 as your smallest bill and being the only trainee who donates over $5.
Showering With Others At BMT
This may be one of the most dreaded things about BMT and is one of my most asked questions I get. Once you're at BMT, you won't really think about it in an awkward, "Ew I'm showering with other people." kind of way. You look at it as, "WHAT? The MTI just said all 60 of us have to shower, be fully dressed in uniform and standing in line in the hallway ready to fall out in TEN MINUTES?!" That's when everyone frantically strips down, grabs their towels, runs to the latrine and waits in line as all 60 of you wait to use 12 shower heads. So most people learn to do a full body and hair wash in 30-45 seconds and get dressed as quickly as possible. Showering at BMT may seem gross, awkward, or weird because you'll be naked with 59 other people in a room with 12 shower heads, but with the stress of BMT and the focus on just showering as quick as possible, not to mention getting dressed as soon as possible, you don't really have time to think "hey this is weird" because your more focused on "I don't want to get yelled at so I need to get this shower done ASAP!" If any of you have played sports in high school and had to shower after practice with your team, this will the same thing. For those of you who never had to do that in high school, don't sweat it, it will be one of the last things you're worrying about when you're at BMT.
Wear Glasses, Not Contacts
DO NOT wear your contacts to BMT, you will have to take them out. Take your glasses to BMT and maybe even a 2nd pair (just to be safe). At BMT you will get issued glasses, but that can take a few weeks. Once you receive your BMT issued glasses, you will have to wear those the remainder of BMT.
Remember Why You Joined
This is going to be what helps you push through the tough times. BMT can make some people question why they joined. If you remember why you joined and why you're going through it, you can get through anything at BMT.
Drink Water, Stop Drinking Soda/Pop/Coffee
Start drinking water. Whenever you go out to eat, sitting at home, hanging out with friends, start drinking water only. At BMT you're going to have to drink roughly 1 gallon a day and you won't get any coffee, energy drinks, or Soda/Pop. If you learn how to control your cravings now, it will be easier at BMT to go 2 months with out drinking them.
Stop Smoking / Stop Chewing
Stop smoking or chewing IMMEDIATELY!! This was sometimes the hardest thing for some of the guys in my flight. One kid used to smoke a pack a day before coming to BMT and the first 3 weeks he would lay in bed and shake because he craved nicotine so bad. Make sure you're mentally and physically prepared before you leave for BMT to handle no smoking or chewing tobacco before you leave. If you get there and aren't ready to do 2 months without it, it will affect your performance and your attitude. Kick the habit now and it will make things a lot easier for you. Plus, it will help you save some extra money before leaving!
Wear Clothes to BMT You Will Want At Tech School
Wear whatever you want to BMT, as far as civilian clothes. These will be all you head to tech school with after BMT. Just make sure that it's nothing that will make you stand out a lot or something that could be considered offensive. However, I would recommend you wear a comfortable pair of jeans, take a few pairs of shorts, a few shirts you wouldn't mind wearing the first few weeks of tech school, and possibly a sweatshirt.
Need help packing for BMT? Check out my complete BMT Packing List