Heading to BMT?

[Source: J. Boone Pooler Photography]
So, you want to know more about BMT?  Morbidly curious about what your significant other/family member/friend is going/went through?  Or, did you, yourself, make the commendable decision to join the Air Force?  Like you, I wanted to know as much as I could before I left.  My best source for an online community became a Facebook group of others who shared a May 2011 ship date for BMT.  I loved sharing that excitement with others, and I hope that if you're heading off to BMT that you're equally as motivated and anxious.

Who am I to tell you what to do?  Well, I left for BMT on 31 May 2011.  I was an older trainee at age 30, and I'd just finished my fifth year of teaching.  I had been physically preparing myself for five months, focusing on running, pushups, and sit-ups.  At BMT I was the Dorm Chief, from start to finish.  I was never permanently replaced, nor did I replace a "fired" Dorm Chief - I was my MTI's first choice.  I received a 97 on my EOC.  I was an honor graduate.  Upon graduation day (28 Jul 2011), I was awarded Top Honor Graduate out of 817 trainees.  Numbers aside, I had a successful experience at BMT.  The only thing I can't speak to is marksmanship - I did not have a good day on the range, although I qualified.       

What are you getting yourself into?  Read on about my experience at BMT!

My Journey To Enlistment
Announcing My Intentions
Moving From "O" to "E"
Meeting with the Recruiter
ASVAB - Debrief, Awaiting Results, and Results
MEPS - Before and After
Choosing My AFSC
My Enlistment

Thoughts From Training
1 June 2011 - My Arrival
28 June 2011 - Monday of 3WOT
7 July 2011 - Murphy's Law [Written after training.]
13 July 2011 - End of 4WOT
1 Aug 2011 - En Route to Keesler AFB
3 Aug 2011 - Day 2 of Tech School
19 Sept 2011 - The Shock of Reintegration

Pre-BMT Preparations
Money Matters
What to Pack

Know Before You Go
Cell Phones
Guard and Reserve
Traveling to Lackland
"Made It" Postcard
Shakedown Sheet

Daily Life at BMT
Illness and Sanitation
The Period Problem [TMI female post]
Entry Control [Also listed under "Duties and Details"]
Chow Runnin' and Grubbin'  [Also listed under "Duties and Details"]
Love in the Squadron
Laundry Bag Living 

Dress and Appearance
Beauty and the BMT
The Makeup Question
Wedding Rings
Rapunzel, Rapunzel
How-To: The Sock Bun [YouTube video]
When conformity is a GOOD thing!

Duties and Details
Why you should raise your hand!
Dust Down
Student Leaders - Dorm Chief, Element Leaders, Guidon Bearer/A-Flight Guide
Flight Office Technician - "House Mouse"
Chow Runnin' and Grubbin' - Chow Runner
EC Monitor [Also listed under "Daily Life at BMT"] 
Part 1 - Bed Aligners, Shoe Aligners, End of Bed Display
Part 2 - Fire Monitor, Utility Crew, Day Room Crew, Hallway/Chrome Crew
Part 3 - Academic Monitor, PT Monitor, Water Monitor, Electrician
Part 4 - Chapel Guides, Road Guards, Pad Crew

Physical Training
Running Shoes
BMT PT Regimen
Racing for PT

Weekly Highlights

Graduation Information


HopeHatchet said...

Not sure where to post this or if you've said something about it and I've missed it. It has to do with doing your hair. I know it's to be kept off the collar, my hair isn't long enough to bun but it would most liked touch my collar. Do you have to bun your hair? Also is there anytime do do your hair? Because I have very thick curly hair and if I don't straighten it with a flat iron then I'm in big trouble, not way would I be able to pull it up nor would I be able to wear a hat at all. If you could cast some light on this that would be great!

Erin said...

@Hope - If yours isn't long enough to be put into a bun, then you're going to have to cut it shorter, unless you can manage to braid it and keep it from touching your collar. You won't dry your hair with a hairdryer and definitely no straightening while at BMT. You'll just have to end up with a bigger hat to accommodate your hair. The time you have to do your hair in the morning is VERY minimal, and it has to be perfect. Good luck, I know it's a PITA to figure everything out!

Alecia Stoppel said...

Wow thank you so much for all this time and information you have put into this blog. I leave in Aug for BMT and just by reading your blog my nerves cool down a bit. I really appreciate.it. Thank you!

Sarah said...

Hi Erin! I'm a big fan and have been following your blog for forever. I was wondering, when do they take your body fat measurements at bmt?

Erin said...

@Sarah - The took our waist measurement that first night, but I never remember them actually taking body fat measurements. Hope that helps!

Franshesca Aponte said...

I know army solders receive an army tag, does airforce by any chance get their own?

Erin said...

@Franshesca - What do you mean by an "Army tag?"

Franshesca Aponte said...

It looks like a dog tag. It contains their name and some other information. They may have another one attached of a loved brother/ or sister that may have been killed in war.

Sarah said...

Thanks again Erin! I don't know what my BF is, I do know that my weight and waist measurement are ok though.

Erin said...

@Franshesca - Yes, you get dog tags, but you won't wear them at all at BMT, and you're only supposed to wear them in the AF when you deploy. You'll give them to your Unit Deployment Manager when you get to your first base.

@Sarah - Then you should be good to go! ;)

candycane! said...

Hi Erin!
I'm headed to BMT at the end of October and will be in Tech School for about 4months in Ohio. Cold?! My friend will be mailing me a pre-packed suitcase to my Tech School since my family will be unable to attend graduation at Lackland. Can you recommend a packing list for Tech School?

Erin said...

@candycane! - Hello! I would wait it out and see what the conditions are like when you get there. You won't be able to wear civilian clothes initially anyway, and you may find it more convenient to just go shopping. You might want to send a favorite pair of jeans or shoes. Towels you can buy there (if you don't want to deal with your small BMT towels), as well as additional beauty/toiletry items. You might have them send your iPod or laptop (if you're comfortable with that). You also might want some warm PJs or sweats for hanging out in your dorm room.

Mr. Gordon said...

Thank you again for speaking with us at last weekends UTA @ Peterson AFB!

Erin said...

@Mr. Gordon - You're very welcome! :)

Kassidy Allardice said...

Hey Erin! I leave for basic in February and im getting a little nervous. I was a little curious about the amount of people who dont make it to graduation, wether it was because they failed the tests or just couldnt handle it? Kind of a weird question!

Erin said...

@Kassidy Allardice - Congrats to you! Out of our flight of maybe 51/52 people, only one didn't make it because she was recycled. The others that we lost along the way, two were due to medical issues (out of their control) and one was due to an issue with a tattoo that had to be appealed. Ultimately, you'll learn that they don't WANT to lose you - it doesn't make sense for the AF financially, since it costs so much to take you through the process and train you. Discharge is a last resort. Hang in there, embrace the suck, and know that you can do it!

Kassidy Allardice said...

Thank you!! That helps calm the nerves a little!! I appreciate all the time you have put into this blog, it has been a big help and i think id be going a little crazy with out it! haha

Erin said...

@Kassidy Allardice - You're very welcome! I try to put in as much time as I can, which is challenging these days with a new house and a pregnancy! Good luck to you!

Michael Smith said...

Erin, thank you so much for making the time to write. After the graduation, will you be able to go back home before tech school?

Erin said...

@Michael Smith - My pleasure! Typically, no. If you're AD, it's almost certainly a no (according to my experience). If there's a BIG gap between BMT/tech (I'm talking months, like August to November/December for a girl in my flight), then you'll be sent home before going to tech. Otherwise, everyone goes to tech school and will be put on AFI ("Awaiting Further Instructions") where you'll do chores and CQ while you wait for your school to start.

Stefani Bradley said...

Hi Erin!
I am (hopefully) leaving for BMT sometime this summer. I am still waiting for jobs to come down. But I have started a physical training program to get me ready for basic. I would love to score as a Thunderbolt on my final PT eval and I was just curious if you remembered the run time and number of sit up and push ups needed to score as one. I have found numbers on various sites but they differ. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much! :)

Erin said...

@Stefani Bradley - There's no magical number you have to hit to make it - you just have to have a composite score of 90 or higher. :) I hear that they don't do awards for it anymore though, so it's a crapshoot. All in all, it's still worth it to try. If you get a 90+ on your PT score, you won't have to test again for a year. Good luck to you!

Nicole Rinker said...

Ahhh I'm so glad that I found this blog. I've been reading all your posts like a mad woman. I'm leaving for BMT June 4th. Everything that you've said has been so insightful. I too live in Colorado, Colorado Springs. I read where you mentioned Peterson and Carson. My husband is TACP in the Air Force and so he's stationed out of Carson. I've been asking so many people that I know about their BMT experience and they're so vague about it and just tell me that I'll do fine. So thank you so much for being so detailed!

Erin said...

@Nicole Rinker - Glad to help! Are you doing ANG/RES/AD? Congratulations to you! Definitely take advantage of our high altitude to improve your running!

Nicole Rinker said...

Yes it'll be nice to actually feel like I can breath while running for once. I'm going active (finance) in hopes of putting in a package for OTS when I'm eligible, that is if I like it.

Erin said...

@Nicole Ringer - You'll be heading to my old stomping grounds, the 335th TRS at Keesler. Enjoy your time there!

Alison.B said...

Hello Erin, I hope this message finds you well. I leave for bmt in two days and I am excited and nervous. I have found your site very informative and helpful. Unfortunately I only found it a few weeks ago, I wish I had found it months ago so I could have studied your posts in depth, haha. I just wanted to thank you so much for all the time and work you have put into it. It is by far the most useful site on the internet. I have one question for you, my husband suggested I pack a separate bag for tech school. Forgive me if I missed a post containing this information, but is this allowed? And what should I bring? My ideas of what to bring are clothes, makeup, shoes (just my super comfy nike sandals), air force appropriate jewelry, shower/hair stuff (like my deep conditioner, I know my hair will need it after basic!), my contact lens case/solution, my full wallet/my purse, and my ipod and accessories. I was also wondering how many clothes I should bring? I am aware I may lose some/a lot of weight during basic so should I only bring a few items? I'm thinking I should bring clothes that are small/tight on me now too. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank again for everything ma'am!

Erin said...

@Alison.B - the ideas you have for your tech school bag are perfect. Don't go crazy with the clothes. I brought one civilian workout outfit, my favorite jeans, a jean jacket, and that was about it. The best way to do it is to have your husband bring you the bag and figure out what fits out of those items by Sunday evening, and take possession of that bag then (versus Thursday night). You can always buy more clothes there or have your husband ship you items. Good luck to you! You're very close to my original ship date! :)

Kristi Hingstrum said...

Your blog is the best thing I could have found!! I'm about to join the Air Force (attempting to track down my recruiter!), and I have been very nervous and concerned about BMT- I've always been fit, but it is BMT, after all! I really appreciate the time you took to share all of this with everyone! Definitely improves my own confidence knowing what to expect and what is expected of me.

Erin said...

@Kristi Hingstrum - Thanks, glad to help! Good luck to you as you start the process. It's a very exciting time, when anything is possible! :)

Christopher Calvery said...

Thanks so much for posting all this! I get shipped to BMT in two weeks (nervous- definitely) and both my normal recruiter AND his replacement have been in the hospital for months now due to various illnesses and complications. I'm finally getting a new recruiter tomorrow, but your posts and articles have made me feel wayyy more comfortable than he can. You're a lifesaver!
P.S. I have some towels that are the same size as the ones you use in your video, but after about an hour I still couldn't get it quite perfect. I'm assuming we'll have time to practice before our first real inspection?

Erin said...

@Christopher Calvery - Glad to help! That's what my goal was - to help people feel better about what they're doing by learning more about the process. The unknown is exciting, but it's also very anxiety-inducing. You'll definitely have time to practice folding, and you can find the person in your flight who folds the best and have them help you. Good luck and congrats on your upcoming shipment!

Nicolle said...

I just came across your blog yesterday & am so grateful! I, unfortunately, can't enlist into AD & was told that I could potentially qualify for AR. It was frustrating at first because I have done so much research! I've been trying to research what I can about AR & there is almost nothing. It's very difficult! Fortunately I came across your blog. Seriously, you have made my decision to enlist into the Reserves much easier. And I thank you for that! Without this information I would be lost! Calling the recruiter Monday. Can't wait! Again, thank you for all your hard work & sharing all of these experiences with everyone!

Erin said...

@Nicolle - Glad I could help! I think the Reserves are very family friendly, so it should work out in your favor. I don't feel like any less of an Airman because I'm a Reservist. Sure, I miss out on the fun of PCSing, but it also helps to provide stability in my life and my career. You may find that you have plenty of opportunities for active duty orders within your Reserve unit, so it's as though you're doing it full time as a Reservist. Good luck with your recruiter!

Nicolle said...

Random Question. Are the same AFSC offered in the Reserves as in AD?

Erin said...

@Nicolle - For the most part, yes. I would assume that some AFSCs aren't as prevalent in the Guard/Reserves as AD, such as battlefield Airmen (PJs, Tac-P, etc), as the length of their training and the need of their career would demand a greater commitment - I THINK. A recruiter should be able to give you a better idea.

Bereg96 said...

High Erin! I was wondering, where exactly can I purchase those underarmour hipsters? At BMT? Or should I get them before I go off to BMT? I so, where?

Jaleesa Davis said...

hi, erin! i've got two more weeks, give or take, until i ship out for bmt. and i'm 5lbs below my max (which is 170). any suggestions? i don't want to completely rely on the bmi. my recruiter said he's not sure if the meps i ship out of (ft. buchanon, puerto rico)does that.

Erin said...

@Bereg96 - I hear they're not available at all anymore. If you want nicer underwear, don't wait for BMT - buy them ahead of time. White granny panties are your only option down there.

@Jaleesa Davis - I would just keep eating clean for these last few weeks. Water only, proteins, veggies, no carbs or starches, no sweets. Best of luck to you, you got this!

Trisha King said...

I just want to say I love your blog! Very informative!
I leave 12/16/13 and Im running into a bit of a problem finding the people in the chain of command. I realize the list is always changing. This sheet my recruiter gave me is confusing and is making it hard to "plug in" the correct people with their titles.
The list is as follows:
Secretary of Defense
Secretary of Air Force
Chief of Staff
Air Training Command Commander
Lackland Training Commander
Basic Military Training Group Commander
Squadron Commander
Training Superintendent
Sections Supervisor
Team Chief
Team Member

Is this list right? It seems short. It doesnt even ask for the CMSAF. Where the confusion sets in: Im not sure if the Lackland training commander is the commander for the 37th training wing? Is the bmt commander the 737th commander? The Squadron commander...do you find out this person and the rest of the list when you get there? Lol of course Ill find out all of this when I get there, but to have a jump start on it would be nice...Im not the best with names. Any help you could provide would be appreciated! Although Ill admit, a strange question. ;)

Erin said...

@Trisha King - Thank you very much! Your list is a smidge short. CMSAF is definitely on the list down there. Your assumptions are correct though!

Info for the 37th:


Here's the info for the 737th:


Squadron commander you'll find out when you get there, along with your MTI Chief and MTI team, since you don't know what squadron you'll be in. I didn't have to know my section supervisor.

I wouldn't stress out too much. If you're going to memorize anything, memorize the Airman's Creed and the AF song before you go, and familiarize yourself with pay grades, rank, and how their insignia looks. You'll study that chain of command before every meal, as well as during other down time. Best of luck to you! You're going to kill it!

Trisha King said...

Thanks for getting back to me so fast! Youre awesome! Another question...Im currently a spouse. My husband is about to be Staff Sgt. and we are stationed out here at Travis AFB. How soon do the MTIs figure out who you are? Everyone tells me just fly low, be quiet and so on. But I feel like the minute Im "discovered" (lol) they would make me dorm chief or element leader...My question is, should I just volunteer for it and get it over with or wait for them to "deal with" me?

Erin said...

@Trisha King - You're welcome, I try! ;) You know, there were a number of milspouses and military connected folks in my flight, and it didn't seem to make a huge difference in the picking of student leaders. There were other factors at play, including age and personality traits. If you have strong leadership skills and want to serve in that sort of role, you can choose to stand out and get selected. Totally your call. I didn't go in there wanting to be a DC, per say, but I knew I was destined for something and I just rolled with it. I can't really suppress that part of my personality. ;)

Trisha King said...

Thanks! This helps ;) Im just gonna go for it! What've I got to lose? In my last job I had a lot of responsibility taking care of my team and a department in the absence of management. So taking charge and being a leader isn't an issue. Either way I know I got this and Ill make it through (got my eyes on that honor grad ribbon) :) Thanks again!

Erin said...

@Trisha King - Best of luck to you!

Zitlaly Esparza said...

Hi Erin, just wondering what happened with those afoqt results? I'm gonna try to take my test, but I would like to hear a girls opinion on her experience and outcome first! Thank you

SrA Nino

Erin said...

@Zitlaly Esparza/SrA Nino - I posted about them here! http://www.aimhigherin.com/2012/07/afoqt-results.html :)

Zitlaly Esparza said...

Wow, I'm so happy to see your test result! You did awesome! Good luck in the submission of your package! I know it takes a lil bit to get the actual commission, specially if there are others competing for the position! Either way, I think you'll do great!

Best wishes,

SrA Nino, Z.

Erin said...

@Zitlaly Esparza/SrA Nino - Thanks! I've already been giving the blessing in my wing and have a position lined up as an LRO, I just have to submit my package for final approval at the ARPC level. :)

Jenna henchey said...

Hi Erin!

All of your posts have been tremendously helpful to me and I plan to pass the link on to the other females in my DEP group, I'm the DEP commander, so I try to look out for them.

I know you're not AD, but you are and you mentioned knowing some milspouses. My husband is a SSgt and I'm enlisting AD. My departure date is 25FEB2014. I will go to tech school at Keesler for Cyber Transport Systems (one of the newer AFSCs, and longer). I'm curious how the joined spouse system would work for me once I get to tech school and get to the assignment part. How do we apply for joined spouse? I've attempted to do research on this subject and have discovered very little information, as if it's a rare instance to have a spouse of and AD service member enlist AD.

If you have any information or know anyone that's been through this process, please let me know.

You've already been such a great help. Thank you for your Integrity, Service, and Excellence.

Jenna H.

Erin said...

@Jenna H. - Glad to help you all! The AFI on Join Spouse is as follows:
There also seems to be some good information on AFEF:
Hope that helps!

Emily said...

Hey Erin! This has been a tremendously helpful blog for me. I have been doing a lot of research through my consideration on joining the Air Force, and this is by far the most helpful. My main concern is how I can mentally prepare myself for the mental mind games and the yelling from the MTIs. Are there any tips on how you could share on what I could do to prevent the tears and any other reaction similar? It would be super helpful:)

Erin said...

@Emily - Glad to help! There's really no way to prepare yourself for the mind games, and that's the toughest part. So many factors play into how they affect you, including stress and lack of sleep. The best thing I can tell you is to remember that the process is worth it, and in the long run, eight weeks is nothing. As for tears, bite your tongue, do whatever you have to do to resist breaking down in front of your MTI. Save it for later, or try to get to the latrine ASAP so you can do it there in private. Good luck to you!

Megan England said...

Hi Erin, thank you so much for your excellent blog! I was wondering - do you have to be tall to be a Dorm Chief? You've mentioned a few times how your height has played a role in various ways at BMT. I have an extensive background in leadership and would love to take on the extra challenge, but I'm only 5'4". Marching at the back of the pack, I'd be staring at a whole lot of shoulders!

Erin said...

@Megan England - Nope, not at all! You can be any height! :)

A Tay said...

Hi Erin,

Thank you for all the information you provide on these blogs.
If i were to bring a laptop to bmt, what would happen?
I know it would be locked up in my luggage for the whole 2 months; that i do not care about. I also plan to pad the laptop case very well, so damage I'm not worried about either.

Erin said...

@A Tay - Ridicule and negative attention, from your MTIs and flight members. We had someone do that in my flight. I'm not sure what they'd do, now that things have become more strict. When I went through, people brought those electronics back to the dorms with them Sunday night before they shipped to tech, but I've heard that isn't permissible anymore.

Becca Goce said...

Hey Erin, my name is Rebecca and I'm leaving in 8 days. Thank you so much for everything on this website. It's very detailed and it has helped me a lot. I do have a couple of questions though, my bag says "nike" on the side... Is that a bad? Also, for my hair ties, I put some of them in a plastic container. Will they get thrown away, or are they okay?

Erin said...

@Becca Goce - No big deal at all about the Nike logo on your bag. Totally fine to put your hair ties in a container too. Good luck to you!

Rebecca Goce said...

Thank you! I appreciate everything you do!

blazegirl130 said...

Hey Erin, I don't leave for bmt til August but I want to know about the hair situation. I don't really want to use a sock bun. Can I just twist it into a bun?

Erin said...

@blazegirl130 - Yep, that's totally fine! Just make sure you still use pins/product so you don't have any loose hairs. Good luck to you and congrats!

blazegirl130 said...

Hey Erin, weird question here that popped into my head. You know how you bring 6 sports bras and one reg? Do you wear the same sports bra from pt all day? I mean I don't have a problem with it if so cause I mainly wear a sports bra anyway.

Erin said...

@blazegirl130 - No, we did laundry every day, so I cycled through them without issue.