Friday, March 30, 2012

BMT: Core Values = BMT Success

One of the administrators on the USAF BMT April 2012 Facebook group made the request that I do a video for the group members, giving them words of wisdom or encouragement as they prepare to depart for good ol' Lackland AFB.  Glad to oblige, I bring you my philosophy on how you can be successful at BMT, by living those Air Force Core Values, and not just repeating them.




If you've seen any of my videos before, you know how verbose I am.  Like usual, this one cuts out at 10 minutes, and like I always say, I was wrapping it up anyway.  ;)  Enjoy!


[It looks like it's going to be sideways, but it's not once you hit play!]

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BMT: Sock Bun How-To

This has been a long time coming!  For a while, I didn't rush to make a sock bun video because I knew YouTube was saturated with them already.  In the effort to make this website as comprehensive as possible and to include more video content, here we are!

 

Recap and Products Used - None of these are affiliate links.
  • Buy all necessary hair accessories before you leave for BMT.
  • Hair accessories must match your hair color.  No black hair ties on blonde hair!  This is why it's essential to buy your items before you leave, especially if you're a blonde!
  • Remember that you can't take liquids over 100 ml on the plane - as many as you can put into a quart-sized Ziploc bag.  Don't buy huge products and expect to bring them with you.  Buy what you can in the mini-mall and if you need something specific, have your family/friends/spouse send it to you.
  • I use the Conair Bun Maker, but you can buy them in black and blond at Sally's Beauty Supply.  The Conair one only comes in brown.  Buy at least two, as they fall apart.
  • A popular hair gel for straight hair is Got2B Glued.  If you don't use that, grab one of the large, generic hair gels.  At home, I prefer Herbal Essences Set Me Up hair gel.
  • Spray gel is a fantastic product to finish off your bun.  It is not available at the mini-mall.  Have a friend/family member/spouse send you some.  While at BMT, my BFF sent me Ion Anti-Frizz Gel Styling Mist, from Sally's.  It worked really well, smelled good, and lasted a long time.  At home, I like Herbal Essences Set Me Up Spray Gel, which you can find at Walmart and some drugstores.  When I found it graduation weekend at CVS, I bought two bottles to take to tech school.
  • Hairspray is fine for finishing off your style, but spray gel is easier to work with.  Many of the girls (regardless of race) used Pump It Up! hair spray which smells great and has really great hold.
  • The mini-mall sells specialty hair products for women of color, including gels and hair sprays.
  • Bring hair pins and bobby pins to use with your mesh donut.  If you have short hair or lots of flyaways, the mini bobby pins are great!

Good luck!  It takes some practice, but you'll learn how to do it really quickly, and without the use of a mirror!  I liked to prop my tupperware up on the urinal, since most of the rest of the trainees were crowded around the sinks.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters I feel like I haven't done a Miscellany Monday in a while.  It's been insanely busy at work and I'm finally getting a break!  Well, a break in my sense of the word, although it feels like a Sunday night right now (more on that in a bit).

1.  Today is my first (and only) day of Spring Break.  The teenage Erin thinks of MTV's The Grind when I think of Spring Break!  Nope, not that interesting over here.  No pool parties, no gyrating co-eds, just me, DH, and my FIL.  I mean, c'mon now, I've been watching "The Muppets" and playing Draw Something on the iPad.  You know how I roll!  Anyway, I'm on orders for the rest of the week.  It was awesome to sleep in, nap, and get a few things done today, but duty calls!

2.  Despite not being on orders today, I went to the base education and training office to handle work-hour business that just can't get done when I'm teaching.  In working towards my CCAF degree, I've decided that I may need to suck it up and take some classes at the local community college, rather than trying to CLEP everything.  I've already applied to said college, filled out my FAFSA forms, and sent off my transcripts for them to analyze.  Surprise, surprise, I had to take a math placement test!  [Newbies: I'm a special education math teacher.]  Despite the fact that I teach the subject, it's been a while since I've done higher level math.  I haven't taken a college math class since my first or second year in college, almost twelve years ago.  I actually don't have a lot of formal math training, so I gave it a go and reasoned my way through the problems.  Fortunately, I did really well and placed right into the 100 level math courses.  

3.  I booked my College Algebra CLEP test for this Thursday.  I'm already schedule to take the DSST test in Speech on Wednesday.  Needless to say, I'm a little nervous about how I'll do this week.  If I fail any of these tests, I'll either have to pay to retest or take a class.  I'm going to give them a go and take a class if I'm not successful.  Luckily, the base education office is offering a few of them this summer and fall, instead of driving to the college campus and having to pay for parking.  The advisor seemed to suggest that many have a low turnout and get cancelled, so I can only hope for the best!

[Source]
4.  In other, non-Air Force news, DH and I are heading on vacation in May.  If you've been reading for a while, you know that we haven't vacationed in ages, partially due to financial issues and partially due to duty.  There's still a chance that DH may not be able to go, but we're crossing our fingers.  Whether he goes or I have FIL go instead, I'm going on vacation in May!  I managed to get a Groupon (or was it a Living Social?) to stay a couple nights in Durango, CO, which is one of my favorite places in the state.  Part of the appeal of the area is taking the train between Durango and Silverton, something I've done since I was a child.  I ended up booking our tickets this week, and they offer a 20% military discount to boot.  May is going to be a busy month for me, with school wrapping up, our trip to Durango, and my first half marathon.

5.  Funny what a pair of socks will do for your self-confidence.  :)  As I buy more and more pieces of my own uniform, versus my initial issued items, I feel like such a big girl.  New socks with my boots tomorrow!      

Saturday, March 24, 2012

BMT: Entry Control

Have you read about the Entry Controller (EC) yet online?  I've been putting this one off for a while.  Like chow at BMT, this is a lengthy and important topic, which will affect everyone in your flight.  Settle in, readers, it's time to brush up on skills every Airman must learn, beginning in BMT.

Purpose
Entry Controllers do just that - they control access in and out of an entry point.  Per the BMTSG, this may be a temporary/informal barrier due to an emergency, or it may be a formal entry point, such as the gate leading into a military installation.  EC is a responsibility of every Airman, as it is a role that anyone may be assigned to fulfill in a forward deployed location if need be.  EC is not just the job of Security Forces personnel.  Due to the sensitive nature and the safety of everyone involved, BMT personnel take this job very seriously.  You will learn the basics of EC within the dorm room and they will also be utilized at BEAST, where you'll simulate the use of EC in a forward deployed location.

EC Monitor
The MTI will designate an EC monitor within your flight.  In our dorm, this trainee's bed was located nearest to the door to the dormitory.  You may also have an alternate EC monitor, as it's such a demanding job.  The EC monitor must be a good teacher, as they are responsible for for instructing all of the other trainees in proper EC procedures and protocol.  They must also be a good manager, as they'll be creating the schedule for EC duty.  They'll have to be prepared to deal with a lot of whiny trainees who aren't happy about their 0230 - 0430 shift.  One last thing to warn you about - the EC Monitor is arguably the person who will be "pushing Texas" as much as the Dorm Chief.  When trainees screw up EC procedures, the EC Monitor will be the one to take the heat.  As the weeks press on, this becomes excruciating to watch.  More on that in a bit.

EC Procedures and Protocols
There are two ECs on duty at all times, and they work a two hour shift.  ECs are required to wear full uniform at all times, including the hat (even though it's indoors), the canteen web belt, and they are required to carry their trainer weapon as long as it's still in their possession (versus when you return from BEAST and check it back in).  During the night shift, they must also carry a flashlight.  If the EC duty is right before PT, those ECs are allowed to wear the PT uniform.  ECs are maintained 24/7.  The only time you won't have an EC on duty is when everyone is at a mandatory class or training.  That being said, whomever's on EC duty may miss certain classes or events. Your student leaders, MTIs, or EC Monitor may hand-select people to be on EC during non-desireable time slots or during more interesting activities as a form of punishment, so treat those people well.  No one likes those late night shifts, especially when you're already sleep-deprived, but know that everyone will have to do it at some point or another.  If makes staying awake in class even more difficult than normal.

ECs are responsible for security, accountability, and conservation of utilities.  They control access into and out of the dorm, and should be the only ones touching the front door.  ECs are not allowed to do anything while they're on duty, aside from their essential tasks or reading EC materials (a list of questions that everyone must be able to answer about EC duty).  If an EC is not at the front door or doing a walk-through in the dorm, they are positioned at the EC stand, which is located in the main hallway.  The stand must be kept free of miscellaneous items, except for the EC log, the flashlight (if during night time), and the EC binder.  Normally the EC material is posted nearby on the wall, for your reference.  Beginning at 3WOT, you're allowed to read your BMTSG instead of the EC material, in preparation for your EOC (End of Course) exam.

Entry/Exit Procedures
There are procedures for allowing someone into the dorm, which are posted on the wall on or near the front door.  While everyone will have the script memorized eventually, you're not supposed to memorize them.  You're supposed to read off the list, verbatim.  It helps to point to the words as you read them, so you're not accused by an MTI of having the script memorized.  The script is as follows:

Sir/Ma'am, may I help you?
May I see your authority to enter?
White common access card, Trainee So-and-So, verifying.
Trainee So-and-So, verified [after scanning the Dormitory Access Roster].
Reading special instructions:
Checking for members of the opposite sex and/or officers.
[Door is opened, unless one of the above situations is present.]

That's a pretty straight-forward entry example.  It's never that easy, unless it's a fellow trainee coming in and no one is around to watch you screw up.  If a member of the opposite sex is about to enter (normally an MTI), the EC will verify that everyone is dressed and yell, "GENTLEMAN/LADY ENTERING THE DORM!"  This must be yelled prior to them coming into the dorm, not after they've stepped over the threshold.  Do not be the moron that makes the mistake of yelling this when there's already a member of that gender in your dorm - if so, prepare to push.  If an officer is about to enter your dorm, you must call the dorm to attention.  If there are multiple officers in the dorm, you call attention for a higher ranking officer only.  For example, if you have a 2nd Lieutenant in the dorm that you've already called the dorm to attention for, you'd call everyone to attention again if a Captain comes in, but not the reverse.

MTIs will try to break you of your military bearing when you're on EC duty.  They'll try to convince you that they need to come in NOW!  Regardless of what they tell you, how mean they are, how urgent things seem, you must not break from the script/procedures.  It's easier said than done, as you'll soon find out.  Don't mess anything up either, or else your EC monitor will start pushing as soon as that MTI gets into the dorm.

The another way MTIs can enter the dorm is if they have an Dormitory or Squadron Access Badge, which are color coded and numbered.  Be cautious of fake access badges, and make sure that you verify each access badge against the Dormitory Access Roster.

Lastly, your MTIs might have a key into the dorm.  If you notice an MTI of the opposite gender is about to key into the dorm, be sure to yell "gentleman/lady entering the dorm" if there isn't an MTI of that gender in there already.

Entry Access List
Nearby the door is a copy of the EAL, which is a roster of the trainees currently assigned to the flight.  It is normally located within a clear plastic sleeve that is stuck to the wall, for easy removal in case of emergencies.  The EAL is updated regularly, as trainees move and in out of your flight.  The board will also have a list of MTIs who are authorized to be in the dorm.  Regardless of whether you know the individual by sight at the dorm, you must verify their CAC card (military ID card), at least through 4WOT.  After that time, you're allowed to cite "personal recognition."

The Box
ECs are responsible for accountability in the dorm.  The box is located near the front door - an intercom between CQ and the dorm.  The box may be turned on by the MTI on CQ duty at any time, and it allows them to monitor the noise in the dorm.  They can hear all if they engage the intercom, so be mindful about what you say when near the box.  ECs must be mindful of the box at all times, as CQ may call to give them a message to be relayed or ask them a question.  After duty hours, CQ calls down on the hour for accountability.  They'll want to know how many trainees are assigned to the flight, how many are accounted for, how many weapons are assigned, how many weapons are accounted for, and what the current temperature is in the dorm (there is a thermostat nearby).  If an emergency arises, the ECs will use the box to alert the MTI on CQ.  When answering the box, the ECs ask:

Sir/Ma'am, Entry Controller, Dorm #, may I help you?

The MTIs on CQ tend to get bored, impatient, or both, so the ECs can expect to put up with a lot of grief from the MTI on CQ.  They may attempt to intimidate or break the ECs of their military bearing.  The box will go off throughout the night, so trainees in beds close to the front door will hear the noise while they're trying to sleep.

Emergency Procedures
ECs have to be well-versed in emergency procedures.  BMT conducts three different types of emergency drills, including a bomb drill, a fire drill, and a gas drill.  During the final few weeks of training, you'll be tested on these procedures, with points being given and taken away depending on if you follow it to the letter.  During drills, the EC will yell out the type of drill so that everyone in the dorm can hear it ("FIRE FIRE FIRE!"  "BOMB BOMB BOMB!"  "GAS GAS GAS!").  No one will speak another word, they will drop everything (or take their security tray with them) and calmly/quickly walk out the exits (either the front door or the fire escape).  The EC will grab the dormitory access roster and walk through each room in the door, ensuring that everyone has gotten out safely.  Everyone will walk in a single file line to the pre-designated meeting spot.  I didn't mind a good drill - we actually got to go outside, sometimes without our ABU tops, and without hats.  During the hot San Antonio summer, it was refreshing. 

Conservation
One of the other responsibilities of the ECs is conservation.  They have to verify that the faucets are turned off and that lights in the latrine are turned off if no one is inside using them.  At lights out, the ECs must also turn off the lights and shut the Day Room door.  The Day Room door has a sensor on it, which alerts CQ if it is opened after lights out.  Do I need to tell you that trainees are not allowed in the Day Room after lights out?  Yeah, you get the idea.  They want trainees away from that TV, the couches, and the civilian luggage closet.  ECs must also monitor the window on the front door, closing it when trainees are showering or changing, after lights out, and when the dorm is unoccupied during the day.  To leave it open when people are in a state of undress is a big no-no.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Blogging on the Blog Brigade!

I've been following Military OneSource's tweets for some time now, as they teased milspouse bloggers about an upcoming opportunity.  When I learned that they were going to feature a new milspouse blogging section, the Blog Brigade, and allow for guest submission, I jumped at the chance before I even knew what was going on [Prompts and monthly topics?  Oops!].  I wrote from the heart and sent my piece on its way, later realizing my mistake and figuring that it'd go by the wayside.

Yesterday I received notification that my piece had been selected for the featured blog post and the career section, active as of today!  I'm excited to share this link with you, where you can read about my decision to enlist and turn our military family into a dual military family.

If you're a milspouse blogger and would like to participate, check out the Blog Call page, where you can check out the monthly topic and learn more!

Monday, March 19, 2012

BMT: Graduation Schedule

Here we are again - graduation weekend is quickly approaching and your family members are breathing down your neck about what's going on.  How will they find you?  What if they didn't get that packet in the mail about graduation information?  How will they ever know?!  Tell mom not to panic.  If she's not internet savvy and your grandparents are completely off the grid, there's hope for them!  

Those graduation briefings on Thursday of graduation?  They're going to get this handy piece of paper with the schedule.  I'm not 100% sure, but they may even receive it in their packet of information.  As a trainee, you'll be pretty clueless too, living day to day.  So, enlarge this schedule and see what you get to look forward to on graduation weekend!
  

Current as of 28 May 2011 - information subject to change.

Friday, March 16, 2012

BMT: The Makeup Question

**Fluffy post alert!  If you're a man, navigate away now!  You have been warned!**

I participate in a couple of Facebook groups for BMT shippers, and the makeup question comes up quite a bit.  I've touched upon this topic before in the "Beauty and the BMT" post, but I figure since it keeps coming up I'll hit on it again.

Should I bring makeup to BMT?  I get asked this question all the time.  The decision is completely up to you.  Here's my suggestions for helping you decide.

You should bring makeup:
  • If you're generally uncomfortable with "naked face" and prefer not to leave the house without any on.
  • If you're a makeup wearing woman of color or have a unique skin tone or undertone.  The makeup you'll have access to at BMT is limited to Rimmel, which may not have a foundation that meets your needs.
  • If you have sensitive skin that is unpredictable in how it reacts to foreign products.  If this is the case, bring your own time-tested foundation and products!
  • If you, like me, are a makeup fiend and are picky/particular about what you use, or tend to use higher end items.
Pass on the makeup:
  • If you don't wear it normally or don't wear a lot.
  • If you aren't particular about brands you use - drugstore or department.
  • If you're ok with sharing makeup with someone else, if you decide you want to wear some in the end.
I fall into the "should" category, because makeup is another one of my hobbies/loves/passions/however you want to judge me.  :)


My BMT makeup stash.
What will the MTIs do if I show up with makeup?  Make fun of you.  Honest answer, and expect them make comments about your makeup when you're going through the shakedown.  Just ignore it and go on about your business.  You will not be allowed to have access to these items until graduation weekend, as they will be locked up in the civilian luggage closet.

Can we wear makeup at BMT?  On a day-to-day basis, no.  Your MTI makes the rules for the wearing of makeup.  My recruiter said that she was able to wear makeup for picture day, which is why she said I was allowed to bring it.  As mentioned in the Beauty post, on the day of graduation our MTI wasn't pleased with us, as we were fixated on our appearance versus our poor performance on an evaluation.  Most of us chose not to wear makeup that day to demonstrate our commitment to his teachings, but a few did.  You are allowed to wear lip balm on a day-to-day basis, and the mini-mall has brands like Soft Lips available.  We were not allowed to wear makeup on Thursday morning, since we hadn't graduated yet, but we were allowed to for the duration of the weekend.

What do I do if I didn't bring makeup with me?  Some of my trainees had their parents/spouses send them their makeup.  Others purchased from the limited selection available at the mini-mall.  The last of the bunch borrowed makeup from other trainees.

What happens at tech school?  At tech school, you're allowed to wear makeup every day, if you so desire.  I chose not to because we had to fall out for PT at 0350 and had little time to dress for the day after that.  I did have friends who put on makeup every day, sometimes in the bathroom of the schoolhouse after we arrived.  I didn't want to bother, and saved my makeup for evenings out or on the weekend.  Tech school also gives you the opportunity to shop at the main BX, where there's a bigger selection, or off-base at the mall, drugstore, or specialty store of your choice.

So...tell me what you brought!  Don't mind if I do!  I packed my bag knowing that I had to keep it very, very minimal, toned down, and Air Force appropriate.  I also selected items that would give me versatility for tech school and evening outings.  I was at BMT/tech during the hottest, most humid months of the year, so I also considered the "melting factor."  The photo above includes every item I brought with me, with the exception of one.  None of these links are affiliate links.
  • Ecotools by Alicia Silverstone bag.  This bag is about the size of a pencil case, and has slots for brushes on one side, and open storage on the other.
  • A 10-day sample of Lancome Teint Miracle.
  • CARGO HD Blush in Pink, which could work for neutral or warm looks.
  • Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Eyeshadow Palette #1, a great palette that is more interesting than your basic brown neutral palette, but offers versatility and options for dress-up/dress-down functionality.
  • the Balm Sexy Mama anti-shine, translucent powder, important for those hot, sweaty Texas days and Mississippi nights!
  • the Balm Bahama Mama bronzer, a shimmer-free bronzer.  the Balm products are great because they're very slim and don't take up a lot of space in your makeup bag.
  • A sample sized bottle of Urban Decay Primer Potion, essential for keeping my eyeshadow in place and vivid for long periods of time.
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, my preferred setting/finishing powder.
  • A sample sized pot of Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, which has a creamy texture and good coverage for my undereye circles.
  • Smashbox Brow Tech, a product that includes both wax and powder in a small-sized package.
  • A sample of a Smashbox cream highlighter, a product no longer available.  Easy to apply, no brush required.
  • NARS sharpener, which works for regular and large sized pencils.
  • Maybelline Full 'N Soft Waterproof Mascara, my staple foundation in a waterproof formula to fight against graduation tears!  I put a new mascara in my bag, so it'd be fresh for the journey.
  • MAC lipstick in Brave New Bronze, a limited edition peachy-pinky-nude shade in a Satin finish.  Satin finishes have no shimmer, and are just about matte in appearance, which I knew would be appropriate in uniform.
  • Too Faced Flatbuki brush, which can be used for blush or highlighter, and is flat/compact in size.
  • E.L.F. Essentials Eye Shadow Brush, which you can find at Target for $1.  Fantastic, reliable brush.
  • The duo crease brush and the eyebrow brush from the Paris Presents HD Deluxe Eye Duo Set, available at Walmart.  If you've never tried these brushes (the HD ones), you need to!  They're amazing!
  • (Not pictured) Ecotools Retractable Kabuki, suitable for doing powders and bronzers.
Seems like a lot?  I told you I was a makeup fiend.  If nothing else, it'll give you an idea of what you can bring down with you.  Remember that any liquids have to go in your quart-sized Ziploc bag, if you're flying down.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BMT: Reuniting at Graduation

As your graduation looms near, your family and friends will probably start freaking out about whether  or not they'll be able to see you during Retreat (the coin ceremony) or at Parade, amongst all of the 800+ trainees.  Fear not, anxious loved ones, the good folks at BMT have thought about you already!

My husband picked up the following document during one of the briefings they hold for visitors.

  
Groups are shown by squadron and flight number.  I was in the 324th Training Squadron, Flight 494, so you'll find me listed as 324/494.  Prior to graduation day, we learned of our approximate location during practice sessions.  When I had the opportunity to call my family, I passed that message along.  If you're able to make this call, or write a letter before they leave, try to give them an approximate location of where you are in the flight.  As flights are organized by height, you'll have a general idea of where you always end up.  If you're an Element Leader, the Guidon Bearer, or the Dorm Chief, you're much easier to spot since you have a permanent, designated spot in the flight.  

Thursday is the day of Retreat, when you receive your Airman's Coin.  The flag pole is the front and center of the ceremony, so we had a prime position.  The squares and rectangles you see marked with an "X" are spectator seating, which is covered to protect against the Texas heat.  Flights will march in where the "Band" box is, and file in to their appropriate positions.

On Friday you'll have Parade, the date which is normally given as your formal "Graduation Day."  During Friday's ceremony, you'll wear stripes on your blues, if you've graduated with rank (E-2 or E-3).  The center tent hosts the invited and honored guests, as well as those who are evaluating your flight's performance as you march down the bomb run.  Your flight will be announced as you go by, including the name of your MTI and his/her hometown.  Again, the squares marked with an "X" are the covered bleachers.

At the end of each event, you'll stand at parade rest and wait to be tapped out, a process that is hyped up on some of the online forums.  Don't stress out about this event.  You just have to wait until your family/guests come to you, then you're excused.  If you know of other flight members who don't have guests attending graduation, do them the favor of tapping them out and inviting them to join your group.  Wingman concept, baby!  While PDA in uniform is not allowed, you may exchange hugs and kisses (within limits) as greetings.  These rules do not apply to children, so you may carry your children or hold their hands while you walk.

Get excited!  There's nothing better than reuniting with those who've supported you through the last eight and a half weeks.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

BMT: House Mouse

"Who is your House Mouse?"
"Sir, trainee so-and-so reports as ordered.
We do not have a House Mouse, we have a Flight Office Technician."

Another duty/detail in your dorm will be the position of Flight Office Technician, affectionately and more often times known as the "House Mouse."  While the moniker of House Mouse is commonplace, you won't ever refer to this individual by this name while outside of the dorm.  This is the Air Force, this is serious business!  ;)

The House Mouse serves as a secretary/personal assistant to the MTI.  This job may be described as one who cleans the flight office (the office inside of the dorm where the MTI conducts business), but that description only scratches the surface of the duties that go along with it.

Our House Mouse was positioned so that her bed was right outside of the flight office doors, so that she wouldn't have to go far when our MTI called for her.

As a House Mouse, your job duties may entail any of the following:
  • Managing appointments made for trainees.
  • Filling out appointment slips.
  • Taking notes for your MTI about trainees who want to have appointments made for them.
  • Informing your MTI of upcoming appointments.
  • Reminding your MTI of who may have returned from an appointment with new medication and/or a waiver.
  • Taking notes during meetings in the day room.
  • Facilitating the signing of rosters.  [This one is huge.  BMT has a roster for everything, as you'll soon find out - rosters for phone calls made, MREs received, church services attended, weapons issued, etc.]
  • Assisting with the distribution of mail.
  • Posting the Daily Headlines in the day room.
  • Cleaning, dusting, and emptying the trash in the flight office.
  • Updating various rosters and signage in the hallway, including the access roster and the weekly schedule.
  • Color coding the weekly schedule for your MTI's ease of use.

Get the idea?  The House Mouse does a ton of secretarial, office-oriented tasks.  You should be well-organized, attentive, thorough in your work, and a legible writer.  This trainee must be comfortable with reporting to the flight office (which is done using facing movements) and having a lot of face time with the MTI.  This is not a job for someone who is fearful or timid.  The bonus to this sort of role is that your MTI will know you well, and you'll get to have a closer relationship with them than other trainees.  This will serve you well if you're gunning to be an Honor Graduate, since your MTI will be well acquainted with your work ethic and your attention to detail.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

BMT: Brother and Sister Flights

The question came up recently of what the purpose or significance was between brother and sister flights.  I throw out the phrase quite a bit, so I thought I'd do a formal post on the topic.

Squadrons are set up so that each stairwell accesses two dorms per floor, on each of the two stories.  Those two dorms share a common foyer, which includes (at least in our squadron) a drinking fountain (that no one uses), a window, and the doors to each of the dorms at a diagonal to each other.  The two flights occupying these dorms are brother/sister flights or brother/brother flights.  I would assume it'd be pretty rare to have a sister/sister flight, since male trainees generally outnumber females.

Brother/sister flights arrive at BMT on the same day and graduate on the same day.  Due to the close proximity of the dorms, they share the same MTI team and their MTIs work closely together.  Your MTI and your brother/sister flight's MTI has access to your dorm on the dormitory access roster, so you should expect them to walk in unannounced at any given time (within the duty day).  Our MTIs would occasionally share responsibilities; if one had to run an errand or attend to a personal matter, the other would watch both flights.  We got very used to seeing our brother flight's MTI in our dorm.

You'll spend a significant amount of time with your brother/sister flight, as you'll do all of your training together.  On second thought, you'll do almost everything together.  All of your hands-on training, all of your classroom training, all of it will be done together.  Your brother/sister flight is your other half at BMT.  You'll learn each other's names and swap advice with your counterparts.  I started referring to my brother flight Dorm Chief as "My B-9 Boyfriend" because we had our nightly meet-ups to head down to accountability.

Initially, your MTIs will encourage healthy competition between you and your brother/sister flight.  It wasn't uncommon for our MTI to build us up as a flight by telling us how much better we were than those "smelly males" across the way, and how much better females do at drill.  Ultimately, you'll be reminded by older trainees and even your MTIs that you can't take this spirit of competition too seriously, as you'll have to work hand in hand with your brother/sister flight at BEAST.  Your success out there depends on it.

Even after BMT is over, you'll still keep in touch with your brother/sister flight, just as much as your own flight.  You're likely to find yourself at tech school with some of them, getting to know them even better than you did at BMT.  We had at least two relationships come of that closeness.  Most of us are in the operational Air Force now, and we still communicate on an almost daily basis via a Facebook group.

Here's to your new Air Force family!    

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BMT: Duties and Details, Part 3

Today I bring you part three of Duties and Details.   If you're just joining me now, check out the introduction and Part 1 (bed alignment, shoe alignment, End of Bed Display) here, as well as Part 2 (Fire Monitor, Utility Crew, Day Room Crew, and Hallway/Chome Crew) here.

Academic Monitor
The Academic Monitor is tasked with the responsibility of making sure everyone passes the EOC (End of Course) exam.  While in formation, your Academic Monitor will be quizzing you, as well as during mandatory study time in your dorm.  This position can be somewhat stressful, as the Academic Monitor becomes the scapegoat when others aren't keeping up with their studies.  If a trainee fails to answer a memory work question, the academic monitor may be called forward to have their 341 pulled.  Some trainees would try to sleep during mandatory study time, so the Academic Monitor is partially responsible for making sure they're on-task.  The MTI will expect the Academic Monitor to do well on their own EOC, despite the fact that they'll lose out on a lot of study time by mentoring everyone else.  The MTIs typically choose trainees who've had a strong educational background to be the Academic Monitor.  My MTI initially earmarked me to be the Academic Monitor, before he changed his mind.
   
PT Monitor
The PT Monitor's job is to ensure that all of the trainees in the flight meet the PT standards and pass the final PT eval.  You don't have any free time to accomplish this in during the day, so our PT monitor used to mentor others after lights out in the drying room outside of the shower.  She would circulate througout the dorm and give other trainees tips on how to improve their fitness through planks, doing sit-ups using the footboards of the bed, or doing modified pull-ups on the bottom bunk by pulling up their bodies using the bar on the bottom of the upper bunk.  Think personal trainer - a motivater, an encourager, someone who provides constructive feedback for others on their progress in physical training. 

Water Monitor
The Water Monitor job/duty can be assigned to anyone in addition to their normal details, as it's not a time consuming detail.  The Water Monitor, if your MTI chooses to assign one, is the trainee who'll remind everyone to keep up with the hydration schedule.  You're required to drink 1/2 to 3/4 of a canteen every hour, which will seem like a ridiculous amount of water, especially if you're not used to hydrating all of the time.  If the Water Monitor yells "hydrate," everyone needs to take a sip.  We ended up not having a formal water monitor, and when anyone said to hydrate, we did.

Electrician
I'm not sure if the Electrician was an official position, or if my MTI assigned it because it was a necessary task that typically got neglected.  The Electrician had to check all of the flourescent lighting fixtures in the dorm and ensure they were all functional.  If one was burnt out, the Electrician would inform our MTI, or go down to PT supply and get the replacements themselves.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @
lowercase letters1.  I'm not a "loser."  I hate when I can't find things, when something goes up missing.  It doesn't happen that often, so when it does, I freak out.  My BMT wedding ring is not in my ring dish and it's not above the kitchen sink, where it normally ends up if I'm doing dishes.  I've already run my hand through the garbage disposal - nothing.  I need to check my ABU pockets when I get home, although I don't think I would've put it there.  My "real" wedding ring is safe and on my hand right now, but I'd hate to lose my the ring that made it through BMT and tech school with me, especially now that I'm at home.  I wear that ring more than my real one now.  I'm trying not to dwell on it, so that I stumble upon it later when I get home.  Ugh!

2.  I was beyond exhausted yesterday evening after getting home from drill.  I am so thankful that I don't have anything going on this weekend.  I'm long overdue for sleeping in, relaxing, and a couple nice, long runs.  UTA weekends usually mean eating more than necessary (thank you DFAC!) and not working out.  Sunday evenings are the worst because I have to do a commissary run after I get out of there, and immediately do all of my weekend chores when I get home.  Do I complain about this every week?  Probably, my apologies.  Fortunately for my sanity, I stayed off the couch, kept the TV off, and was able to get some snuggle time in with DH.  He always appreciates that.  :)
via Temptalia
3.  I just got back from the bathroom, where my lipstick broke.  RIP MAC Jazzed.  I know you can "save" broken lipsticks (I don't usually care for the crush into a palette option), but we'll see how long it takes for me to get around to do that.

4.  I fully intended to share good news and ask for well-wishes today, but that positivity got squashed really quickly.  DH was supposed to head up to MEPS this evening, one step closer to finally enlisting in the AFR, coming over from the USAR.  I got a text from his recruiter saying that they'd cancelled his appointment, which has to be reschedule.  DH's conditional release from the Army is very time sensitive and we're getting down to the wire.  He doesn't tend to be very patient, but when we hit roadblock after roadblock, I don't blame him for being frustrated.  Keep thinking good thoughts for us.  Now he's out a couple days of work this week and not getting anything done at MEPS, and he'll have to take two days off next week as well.  *sigh*

5.  I leave you with this picture of us at the awards banquet we went to on Saturday.  I was running late despite getting out of work early, which always stresses me out.  When we arrived we took our formal photo right away.  I'll be excited to see how it turned out.  The dinner was fair, although we were starving by the time it rolled around.  The speaker left a little to be desired.  Sadly, no one else started dancing when they were cranking old standards.  We got to dance to a couple songs at the end before we bailed.  I was exhausted by the end of the night, and knew I had to be up early the next day.  People were dragging tail the next day in the squadron, let me tell you!   
 
My first semi-formal banquet.

BMT: Wedding Rings

$29.95 through AAFES
This one is primarily for the married ladies, although if you're a bling-bling kind of married man, you may want to read too.

The question may come up before you leave for BMT about what to do with your wedding ring.  If you have a beautiful, expensive wedding ring, leave it at home.  The training environment is not conducive for keeping your valuables safe and unharmed.

The females in my flight that brought their wedding rings to BMT ended up keeping them in their security drawers and didn't wear them until graduation weekend.  While that's an option, I probably wouldn't want to run the risk of having something happen to it in there, if you were careless about leaving your drawer unlocked.

One of my flight members wore her rings to PT one morning, and ended up taking them off and putting them into the tiny pocket on her PT shorts.  Do I even need to tell you what happened next?  She lost them.  Fortunately, our MTIs were nice enough to allow her and another trainee to go look for them, and they were eventually found.  Your MTI may not be so nice and you may not be so lucky.  If she would've lost those rings in the sand pits, she could've kissed them goodbye.

Many opted to have their spouses bring them their wedding rings during graduation weekend.  When we saw our families on Thursday, they would be able to get their rings, and therefore have them for Friday's Parade and the rest of the weekend, not to mention tech school.  This is a much better option to ensure that your ring is safe.

If you want to wear some sort of ring while you're down there, I would encourage you to buy a cheap band.  The above pictured ring is sold through AAFES for $29.95.  You can get them in Tungsten or Titanium, they are unisex in desire, and they are very comfortable.  I opted for one of these before I left for BMT and I actually wear it more than my "real" ring now.

[Sadly, I managed to misplace this ring yesterday, and it's weighing heavily on my mind right now.  That ring has been through so much with me!  Keep your fingers crossed that I stumble over it tonight.]

Friday, March 2, 2012

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #69

It's the first Friday of the month, which means it's time for some fill-in fun!  Head on over to Wifey's if you're a milspouse (or significant other) and you want to get in on the question and answer action!

1.  What is your favorite/most unique anniversary/birthday gift from your spouse? suggested by Bel at Being a Better Me  DH isn't into holidays, as I've mentioned on here before.  He doesn't celebrate them and would rather just blow right by them.  He does try to muster up some enthusiasm for my sake, on our anniversary and my birthday.  The most creative gift he's ever given me for our anniversary was a new living room.  When does give, he goes all out!  It was like an HGTV reveal; I came home one day to an entirely new living room.  We hadn't been talking about replacing our furniture, so it was a complete surprise.  He'd picked out a new sectional couch, chair, tables, lamps, a rug, and used our existing decorative pieces to tie it all in.  He did an amazing job, I was so proud of him and we actually look like we have an "adult" room that is cohesive in its design.

2.  What’s your first thought when you see it’s snowing (or what would you say if you don’t live somewhere with snow?  suggested by Poekitten from Many Waters C'MON SNOW DAY!  At least a two hour delay!  Ugh, into work I go!

3.  What’s one thing in the past month you would have changed?  suggested by Erika from Chambanachik  Probably the amount of working out I've done versus the amount of crap I've eaten.  We've been doing weekly weigh-ins here at school and I'm not pleased with my numbers today.  I've been mowing down the Easter candy this week.  So much for losing a couple pounds for this banquet...  On the plus side, I done two long distance runs, my longest ever!

4.  What was your favorite thing that happened in February?  This has been such a busy month, it's hard for me to remember any big moments.  My favorite thing has probably being seeing my website take off in such positive ways.  It's a big motivator for me right now, and I feel out of sorts on the days when I'm not blogging.

5.  What are you looking forward to in March?  My first semi-formal banquet for the Air Force is tomorrow, and I've been looking forward to that for a while.  Pictures to come!  I need to force myself to remember to exercise that camera, rather than just bring it and leave it in my purse all night, which is typical of me.  I'm also looking forward to paying off one of our credit cards this month, with all of the money I've been bringing in from UTAs (drill weekends) and AT days (annual tour).  I'd say I was looking forward to spring break at the end of the month, but I'm on AT orders then as well.  Guess that means no wild week in Mexico for me, drat!  :) 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

MMS - We have a winner!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Mrs. Duh! 
 She is the winner of the My Memories Suite Vol. 3 software!  

Thanks to everyone who entered.  If you didn't enter, the code below the banner will allow you to buy the software for $29.97 ($10 off) and you'll receive $10 of credit to use in the store.  It may be more than you want to pay right now, but I guarantee you that I've spent more than $30 since I've been using the product, and I've been satisfied with every penny spent.  :)

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