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What is Capstone Week?
Capstone week is a response to the string of sexual assaults that prompted a comprehensive review of US Air Force Basic Training and its effectiveness at producing new airmen. Basically trainees will now graduate after 7 1/2 weeks of basic training, then spend a final week as their “capstone” where some of the restrictions are lifted, and classes become more about discussions than lectures. It is meant to be a transition period between BMT and tech school, and to learn to apply the things that were taught in BMT using scenarios and group discussions and projects with civilian and military “facilitators” rather than Military Training Instructors.
The differences between normal BMT and Capstone Week
There are quite a few differences between capstone week and the rest of BMT. For one thing, airmen don’t do PT on Monday or Friday.
The airmen wake up between 0445 and 0500, do PT if it’s scheduled that day, do details in the dorms, then go eat breakfast. After that the day is spent either going to large lecture type classes, or small group discussions, depending on the day. Classes are facilitated by a civilian or military instructor. There is no yelling and the military facilitators do not wear their campaign hats, instead wearing a normal ABU cover like every other military member. Classes involve group discussions, applying lessons you learned in BMT to scenarios and role-playing, team-building exercises, and airmen must also work on a group project that is presented at the end of Capstone Week.
After classes, the airmen are mostly free to do what they like, as long as their evening details are accomplished. Some airmen choose to go to sleep early, others may just enjoy their free time. The dorm has to be neat, but is not required to be in inspection order like the rest of BMT.
It’s important to keep in mind that you are still in a military training environment. If you completely lose your military bearing or customs and courtesies, you can expect even the military facilitators to remind you that you are in BMT.
From what I’ve read it sounds like they are still trying to figure out how to handle airmen being given privileges in the evenings. Some were allowed on the “patios” where they could get snacks or use pay phones, others were allowed to go to the shoppette to get fast food or snacks from there. However it sounds like some of these things were quickly abused and taken away, so this may change regularly depending on how airmen handle their new freedoms.
Airmen definitely do not get their phones until they are on their way to tech school. They are not available during Capstone Week.
Airmen wear ABU’s all week, and instead of their web belt with canteen, they wear blue reflective belts to set themselves apart from trainees still in the normal BMT environment.
Airmen are given more time to eat at meals, and they are also allowed to have candy and soda, things that are prohibited during regular BMT.