Wednesday, February 8, 2012

BMT: Awards and Honors

There are several awards and honors that you can set your sights on when you're at BMT, and some come with immediate perks that may keep you motivated to push yourself harder during training.

Ribbons and Medals

The Air Force Training Ribbon is awarded to all Airmen who complete BMT.  If you successfully make it through BMT, you'll be sporting this ribbon on your chest when in your blues, beginning on the day of Parade!  [No ribbons or stripes are worn on Thursday, the day of Retreat, also referred to as the Coin Ceremony.]

The National Defense Service Medal is currently being awarded to anyone serving after 9/11/2011, as well as certain periods before then.  There is currently no "end" date for the period that began on 9/11.  This medal and the AF Training Ribbon are awarded to everyone graduating from BMT.  The next two ribbons are more difficult to earn.

Trainees are given one chance at BMT to earn the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.  There is only one visit to CATM (the shooting range) at BMT.  Trainees receive classroom training and are then taken to the range, where they'll shoot approximately 100 practice rounds in various positions and in/out of the gas mask, and then have a (timed) opportunity to hit a certain number of rounds on a target.  When I was there, you needed 45 out of those 50 shots to qualify for Marksman.  It was a difficult task and few earned it.   

Another challenging ribbon to earn is the USAF Basic Military Training Honor Graduate Ribbon.  There are numerous requirements to be designated as an Honor Graduate, and your MTI has the final say in designating who receives this award and who doesn't.  According to the BMTSG, earning the ribbon is "based on the whole-person concept including academics, performance, leadership, teamwork and conduct."  Up to 10% of graduates from that flight may be designated as Honor Graduates.  I remember my MTI being given a smaller number of "slots" than that by our Training Superintendent, and him having to advocate for additional trainees he felt deserved that honor.  

In order to be considered to be an Honor Graduate, you must complete all performance evaluations (Core Value Ratings, individual drill, reporting, training weapon, FEST, SABC, and BEAST) with a satisfactory grade - fail one evaluation and you're automatically out.  Recruit Living Area evaluations (wall locker, personal area) are also considered if it comes down to it.  You must also receive a 90% or above on the End of Course written test (taken in 7WOT) and a 90% or above on the final PT eval.

Honor Graduates are recognized on Thursday of graduation weekend, prior to Retreat (the "Coin Ceremony"), and in the same location.  Don't fear, at that point the spectators are in the bleachers waiting for Retreat, so your loved ones will see you being recognized that day, even if they don't check at the Reception Center that morning to find out if you're an Honor Grad.  Honor Grads head to the Retreat Pad before the rest of their flight to line up for this part of the ceremony.

Honor Grads preparing to be recognized.  [Credit]
The Honor Grads march out in front of the spectators, where their names are read off one by one, going in numerical order by flight, and alphabetical order within each flight.  After all of the names are read off, they'll award the Top Honor Graduate award to the trainee with the greatest cumulative number of points.  That individual will come forward, salute the commander of the 737th Training Group and accept their award.  This individual's photo will pop up on the official BMT Facebook page.

CMSgt Williams with Top Honor Grad Awards [Credit]
The other perk to being an Honor Grad?  You'll get a town pass on Sunday, when the rest of your flight members are stuck on base.

PT Awards 

  • Top PT Male/Female - The weekly graduating female and male with the fastest run time on their final PT eval will be honored by running with the group commander in the front of the formation during the Airman's Run.  This means your family will see you first on Thursday!  They'll also receive a Sunday town pass, a certificate, a bronze Eagle trophy, and you can see their photo on the BMT FB page.
  • Top PT Flight Male/Female - The fastest runner in your flight on the final PT eval will receive a Sunday town pass.  When I went through BMT, this trainee also got to run with the group commander as described above.
  • Thunderbolts - These trainees have earned a total score of 90 to 99 on the final PT eval.  The BMTSG says these trainees receive a certificate and a patch, but we just received a certificate.  You need to be at least a Thunderbolt in order to be in the running for Honor Grad status.  One perk to having a score of 90+ is that you won't have to do another PT test for a full year, versus the six month timeline for everyone else.  [This information is current as of today.]
  • Warhawks - These trainees have earned a total score of 100 on the final PT eval.  Again, this person just received a certificate, but they also earn a Sunday town pass.

Set your personal standard high and achieve those goals!  


Jessie Adams said...

When did you find out if you we're an honor graduate?

Erin said...

Not until the VERY end - day before graduation or so.

AkilahWakiya said...

It sounds silly, but I REALLY want a Warhawk t-shirt. It sounds like the person who gained the status, however, only got a certificate and a Sunday pass...

Erin said...

@AkilahWakiya - I have no idea if they're even doing that anymore, so as excited as you are, I wouldn't count on it. Sorry! :/

Jay Man said...

Being the top graduate means getting a hundred percent at everything you do there?

Erin said...

@Jay Man - No, not 100% on everything, but the highest stats combined, out of all trainees.

Nichole Stoneking said...

Sometimes life is about recognizing your own accomplishments. If you work to achieve that status and there is no shirt for you, have one made. Reward yourself! My husband had a mentor that taught him the best way to achieve your goals is to create your own reward system. Set the goal and make a promise to yourself that upon achieving your goal you will get the predesignated prize. You like the tradition, keep it going. If you achieve the status, have the shirt made for yourself. It has guidelines, you will do no less to achieve it than those that came before you. And go for it! Maybe you already went through, maybe not. Best of luck!

Unknown said...

Nichole Stoneking, I love that. Interestingly, today I am creating a reward system for reaching the goals on my To Do list (I'm designing/programming my first video game), and I decided I'd have to make my own reward system for getting each tedious step completed. I am definitely going to take you up on this advice and get me a shirt made if/when I gain Warhawk status. I ship out May 2, thanks for the well wishes!

Meggan Sudja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meggan S said...

Hi Erin,
Our stories are very similar and you are a great source of motivation. A little about me, I have been teaching 7th grade for 4 years, going to basic at 30(!), scored well on the ASVAB (97), have a graduate degree, enlisting into AF Reserves, and will be missing an entire school year because AIT is 6 months. It is extremely important to me to be an honor graduate because when I am going to be away from my 3 little girls for at least 9 months, I want every pass available to me during graduation weekend. Any other tips for accomplishing honor grad? Do most people score well on written tests that you have to get at least a 90 on? How did you ensure you were ready? Is it easy to go the entire time without earning the discipline that disqualifies a trainee or can you be disqualified for something simple? Besides a dorm Cheif, how can I set myself apart? Sorry for the list of questions, but this is so important to me.