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A lot of your time in basic military training will be spent standing around in formation outside of the dining facility or other buildings. During this time your MTI will usually tell you to study your “memory work” which is a few sheets of paper containing various information that you have to memorize by the end of basic training. If you memorize a few of these things before you even arrive at BMT, it will only be that much easier on you while you are there.
The Airman’s Creed
The Airman’s Creed is relatively new in the Air Force, but it is required to be memorized by all Air Force members, not just those currently going through basic. It is as follows:
I am an American Airman.
I am a warrior.
I have answered my nation’s call.
I am an American Airman.
My mission is to fly, fight, and win.
I am faithful to a proud heritage,
A tradition of honor,
And a legacy of valor.
I am an American Airman,
Guardian of freedom and justice,
My nation’s sword and shield,
Its sentry and avenger.
I defend my country with my life.
I am an American Airman:
Wingman, leader, warrior.
I will never leave an airman behind,
I will never falter,
And I will not fail.
The Air Force Song
You will sing the Air Force song every morning while at basic training. You’ll only sing the first verse, so that’s really all you need to memorize:
Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At ‘em boys, Give ‘er the gun!
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one hell of a roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame.
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!
About.com has a lot of info on ranks. Learn the ranks and insignia for each rank for both officer and enlisted, as well as their official term of address such as “Sergeant” or “Airman”, etc.
Chain of Command
Your chain of command during basic training start with your dorm chief (a trainee selected to be in charge of your flight) and goes all the way up to the President of the United States. You will not know a lot of your chain of command until you get to basic training, as it will depend on what squadron you are in and who your MTI is, but you can at least learn the top tiers before you go.
As of 1 December, 2014 the chain of command is as follows:
President: Barack Hussein Obama II
Secretary of Defense: Chuck Hagel (recently resigned)
Secretary of the Air Force: Deborah Lee James
Chief of Staff: General Mark A. Welsh III
Air Education & Training Commmand Commander: General Robin Rand
Lackland Training Commander: Colonel Michele C. Edmondson
In basic training, you are required to say your reporting statement before any conversation with an MTI (military training instructor). For example if an MTI asks you how old you are you would first say your reporting statement, then answer the question.
The reporting statement is as follows:
“Sir/Ma’am, Trainee Jones reports as ordered”
Obviously you would only say sir or ma’am depending on the sex of the MTI, but you’d be surprised at how many trainees will say both sir and ma’am. Also substitute your own last name for “Jones” in the example.
You only need to say the reporting statement once per conversation, and if the MTI asks you a question that only requires a yes or no answer, then you only need to say “Yes, Sir/Ma’am” or “No, Sir/Ma’am”.
But, if they first ask you a yes or no question and then ask you a question that requires a different response, you would have to say your reporting statement before you give the other information.
MTI: Jones, is the sky blue?
Trainee: Yes, sir!
MTI: Jones, how old are you?
Trainee: Sir, Trainee Jones reports as ordered! I am 18 years old, sir!
Note: Reporting Statement
The MTIs will regularly try to trick you and trip you up with your reporting statement. They’ll ask you questions like the one above and frequently people will forget to say their reporting statement before answering a question that requires more than a yes or no answer. Just accept the fact that you will mess it up at some point. Even trainees in the last week of training will still mess up their reporting statement, surprisingly.
Air Force Core Values
The Air Force’s core values are the values that guide all other aspects of military service. You will be required to memorize them and live by them while in BMT and throughout your Air Force career.
Service before self
Excellence in all we do
Military time, also referred to as 24 hour time, is how you will tell time while in BMT and in the military in general.
In military time there is no AM or PM. Instead you will add 12 to the PM times. It is easiest to understand by looking at some examples.
6:00am = 0600 (pronounced “oh six hundred”.
3:00pm = 3:00 + 12:00 = 1500 (pronounced “fifteen hundred”)
9:45pm = 9:45 + 12:00 = 2145 (pronounced “twenty-one fourty-five”)
To convert military time to am/pm time just subtract 12.
2036 = 20:36 – 12:00 = 8:36pm.
You will use the phonetic alphabet throughout your military career. It is a way to clearly state letters over the phone or radio, where poor quality can sometimes make letters like P, D, and B sound similar.