Tuesday, February 7, 2012

BMT: Guard and Reserve

Most of you have picked up on the fact that I'm a Reservist, or at least, I hope you have.  Regardless of if you're active duty (AD), Guard, or Reserve, all future Airmen go through the same training for the same length of time at BMT.  There is only one location where the Air Force does basic training, and that's good ol' Lackland AFB!

Flights contain a mixture of trainees, from all different components of the Air Force.  The primary thing that distinguishes one trainee from the next, in terms of component, is their roster number.  Rosters are used for everything at BMT, from signing off to indicate that you've received something (a phone call, a box lunch, a particular training), to taking accountability.  If trainees are to be put in a straight line, it'll be done so in roster number order.  Prior to every class, accountability will be taken and roll is called using the roster numbers.  Active duty trainees have roster numbers without any letters attached to them (1, 2, 3, etc.).  Guardsmen have roster numbers with a "G" in front (G1, G2, G3, etc.).  Lastly, Reservists have roster numbers with an "R" in front (R1, R2, R3, etc.).
The only other time AD, Guardsmen (ANG), or Reservists (Res) will be separated from each other is when they go to the career counselors or the liaisons. If I recall correctly, it was in the third and the seventh weeks that we visited the liaisons.  During these visits, the Guard and Reserve liaisons will speak to you about issues with your orders, paychecks, tech school, and how to utilize them as a point of contact.  Your liaison is your first source for information about any issues with your unit back home.  They need to be made aware of any delays in your training, such as recycling, medical holds, etc.  They are the ones that will adjust your orders accordingly and get you a new schooling date if you're being held back for whatever reason.  If a serious need arises, you can ask your MTI to make you an appointment to see the liaison.  Questions from trainees wanting to switch from Guard/Reserve to active duty need to be discussed with the liaison, but understand that it's a difficult process and it's never guaranteed.  I'm not discouraging you from seeing them about that matter, but make sure you're 100% serious about trying to make that switch.  The liaisons in place when I was there were fairly gruff - don't waste their time, and only see them if you absolutely need to.  They have hundreds of trainees to deal with and a limited number of staff members, so they're very busy and not very patience.  Fear not, you'll have liaisons at tech school as well, and they tend to be a lot friendlier.

The only other special requirement for Guardsmen and Reservists is that you have to have a copy of your [current] orders on your person at all times.  You're able to get away with not carrying them to PT, but if you're in your ABUs or your blues, you need to have a nicely folded, clean copy of your orders on you.  Do yourself a favor and put them in a small, Ziploc baggy when you're doing anything physically demanding where they might get wet or damaged, like on the obstacle course or at BEAST.

Stereotypes and Attitudes
Be prepared - you're going catch hell for being Guard and Reserve.  We had a unique situation in our flights; aside from three to four AD trainees in both brother and sister flight, we were all Guard and Reserve.  Guardsmen and Reservists have a reputation for being relaxed and informal in nature, which is the complete opposite from the atmosphere at BMT.  There is some truth to that negative stereotype.  The operational Air Force is quite different from the training environment.  Training environments will teach you how things are supposed to be done, but you'll learn in the operational Air Force how things are really done.  The gap will be significant or insignificant, depending on your command, your supervisors, your career field, and your component.

Be prepared to hear the following stereotypes.  "Guard and Reserve...
  • ...are just here for a paycheck."
  • ...call their superiors by first name."
  • ...don't care about dress and appearance."
  • ...don't care [period]."

You'll see MTIs roll their eyes when they refer to you as Guard and Reserve, spitting the words out of their mouths with disgust.  "Mother effin' Guard and Reserve!"  "Oh that's right, you don't care, you're just Guard and Reserve."  We heard it constantly - get used to it, and just disregard it.  Prove them wrong.  Show them that you have just as much motivation and commitment to the Air Force as your active duty counterparts.  Ultimately, many of them are just using this as another way to motivate you and push you harder towards excellence.  Service is service.  I could've gone my entire life without serving, and still been able to support my family and have a rewarding career.  I chose to enlist and I choose to serve.  You probably have similar reasons for going Guard or Reserve, so ignore the nay-sayers.  Maintain those BMT standards and bring them back to your Guard or Reserve unit and show them what Excellence In All We Do is all about!

5 comments:

Teddy said...

Hi, Love your blog. I am an old retired Active Army NCO who loves all branch's of the service and being that I live in San Antonio, have taken to following things at Lackland. One of my assignments while in the Army was as a personnel advisor to Army Guard and Reserve units in Virginia and I can tell you a lot of the Reserve and National Guard unit's were in lot better shape and looked better than a lot of active duty units. Love your blog and hope someday you get to be a TI. You have impressed this old NCO

Teddy said...

oops, i dropped and gave myself 5 (too old to do 20), lol, i meant MTI :)

Erin said...

@Teddy - Thank you so much for your compliments, I appreciate it! Keep up with that strength training - builds character and discipline!

I have no doubt that some of our Guard and Reserve units present better than AD, especially given the older, more experienced demographic.

Thanks for reading, glad to have you!

Aunie said...

This was REALLY good to read, being that I'm ANG :) Thanks!

Erin said...

@Aunie - Glad to help! ANG/RES are definitely their own beasts!