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]|
|CMSgt Williams with Top Honor Grad Awards [Credit]|
- 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!