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The Delayed Entrance Program is a program for recruits who have decided to enlist in the Air Force but have not been sent to basic training yet. Basically it is a way for the recruiter to keep track of you and for you to take the first steps in becoming acquainted with the military without being in the strict military environment of basic training. Being in the DEP does not obligate you to military service, it is still possible to get out until you raise your hand and swear the oath of enlistment at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) right before you board a bus or plane to fly to San Antonio. However, you should not agree to join the DEP unless you have full intentions of joining the military. If you were to join and then change your mind you can expect for the recruiter to be very upset that you wasted his or her time, and you would have wasted a considerable amount of your own as well.
While in the Delayed Entrance Program you will continue processing paperwork for enlisting in the Air Force and will be in regular contact with your recruiter.
The exact activities you will be expected to participate in will vary and depend on your recruiter. I can only speak of my experience with my recruiter, so your experience may vary significantly.
Your recruiter will likely have monthly DEP meetings where everyone in the DEP will come to the recruiter’s office to check in. The recruiter will likely give everyone a safety briefing, telling you not to drink and drive, not to get in trouble while in the DEP, etc. They will take your height and weight measurements again to make sure you are still qualified to join and have you fill out a piece of paperwork saying that you have not been arrested or had any injuries, etc since the last meeting.
Sometimes the recruiter may have a guest stop by such as an active duty Air Force member to talk to you and answer questions about Air Force life. The recruiter may also teach you very basic marching skills so that you can be more familiar with the techniques when you arrive at BMT.
Your recruiter may also require or encourage people to participate in weekly PT (Physical Training) sessions where you’ll run, do sit-ups and push-ups, etc. My recruiter made it optional, as many people had jobs or school and other responsibilities, but some recruiters may require it or not offer it at all.
Again all of these things will vary greatly from recruiter to recruiter.
The important thing is to remember that you need to be careful with what you are doing and not get in trouble and ruin your chances of joining the Air Force. Don’t get speeding tickets, don’t get arrested, don’t break any bones, don’t try drugs, etc. If you do get in trouble, be sure to tell the recruiter. You won’t necessarily be disqualified from the Air Force but it’s important to be honest from the beginning.
One of the guys I went to tech school with was arrested while in the DEP but didn’t tell his recruiter or anyone else. He made it all the way through basic training and tech school and arrived at his first base, and then during his security clearance investigation it was discovered that he had been arrested and lied about it. He was kicked out of the Air Force almost immediately and now drives a Pepsi delivery truck.
It is not worth it to try to get away with things like that while in the DEP. Be honest and up front, just like everything else.
The DEP is also a good time to meet fellow recruits, and if your recruiter has monthly DEP meetings he may also have fun activity planned for you all to do to build morale and get to know each other, such as going bowling, playing laser tag, etc. This once again will completely depend on your recruiter.