Basic training graduation

You know you’re in the Air Force when…v3

By Meredith March
Air Force Production Defense Media Activity

Sometimes “culture” just seems like a buzzword. But, initiatives and missions aside, the Air Force is more than just a career — it’s a lifestyle! Our first and second blog posts focused on our service’s sometimes humorous quirks and received a tremendous response from our followers. So without further ado, here is the third installment in the series. You know you’re in the AF when…

1. You consider your next PT test while browsing through the menu at your favorite restaurant.

Airmen exercising

Photo 1: You might even calculate exactly how much PT you’ll have to do to indulge and still pass the abdominal circumference portion.

2. In conversation, you use so many acronyms that your non-Air Force friends and family members have no idea what you’re saying.

Airmen and their families at BMT

Photo 2: “So, the NCOIC had questions about my EPR, but I was TDY at PME…”

3. At the end of leave, you’re more sad about shaving your beard/mustache than you are about going back to work.

Half-shaven Airman

Photo 3: We know—even if it’s just scruff from over the weekend.

4. You hear a coin drop and you panic.

Coin challenge

Photo 4: Challenge coins look impressive displayed in a case on your desk, but hopefully you also keep one in your pocket to save money (and avoid some humiliation) during a coin check.

5. You have 12 reflective belts stashed in your closet and/or desk.

Reflective belts for PT

Photo 5: As attractive as we think they are, it’s not necessary to wear more than one at a time.

6. You feel like you’re missing something when you’re not wearing a hat.

Uniform preparation

Photo 6: Admit it…you’ve even reached for your cover when you’re out of uniform.

7. You take your Professional Development Guide everywhere as your promotion test day draws near.

Professional development guide

Photo 7: You’re moving on up!

8. Years later, your military training instructor’s words still randomly pop into your mind.

Military training instructor

Photo 8: Was it the words of wisdom, or simply the volume?

9. During an argument or when correcting someone, you still use the “knife hand.”

Basic training instruction

Photo 9: You can tell someone was/is in the military when they correct their kids using the knife hand.

10. Friends from other services joke about the “Chair Force,” then tell you they wish they were Airmen.

Air Force Academy graduation

Photo 10: We’re glad WE are!

Can you think of some more? Comment below!

28 thoughts on “You know you’re in the Air Force when…v3”

  1. Shaving the beard is this AF wife’s saddest thing about him going back to work. I really like it!

  2. I guess this shows that I an old guy but I have no clue what most of these are talking about… USAF 1982-1992…..

  3. My husband was in the AIR FORCE 22 years “AMMO”. He retired for 11 years and I am still proud of him as ex Msgt Air Force… AMMO Huah!

  4. You drive by Army guys eating their MRE’s and see their faces as they smell your drive thru lunch meal

  5. When Army volunteers in fatigues/BDU’s are assigned to cleanup and maintenance at a Special Olympics track meet, and you volunteered as well for the event, and you are wearing your USAF Blues a you get assigned the flag detail during the opening ceremnoy and pass out the medals to the kids. I will never forget the Army soldiers faces.

  6. (Later as a civilian) When getting ready for work, you give yourself the once over in the mirror and think “Would I pass 3510?”

  7. The week before their PT test, people quit smoking, stop drinking, and suddenly start drinking a lot of water!

  8. I was asked by a retired army soldier as to why I joined the air force. Before I answered him I asked him why he joined the army. He told me he did not score too well on his ASVAB test and the army or marines were the only 2 branches that would take him. He looked at me and waited patiently for my answer……it was a simple answer. I told him I joined the air force because I had the choice of which service I wanted and I told him that I wanted to stay back during war as I salute and send the officers forward to fight the war.

  9. Even after 30+ years, when correcting something that you just said, you use the words “As you were”

  10. T.H. – Be glad you don’t. The level of stupidity is really shameful. I joined in 1987, and those were good days when Commanders had backbones. By 2011 when I retired, you could count the ones that could make a decision without consulting someone else first could be counted on your fingers.

  11. That 16 years later it drives you crazy to live near a Navy base with prop jobs. Oh how I miss hearing F-4’s and F-111’s taking off and in the pattern! GO BLUE!!

  12. Youngster.. USAF ’68-’72… I had BIL’s in US Army & USMC.. they would TALK about their Runs.. I would TALK about DRIVING a Fuel Truck!

  13. Going to get some food is phrased, “going to get some chow.” Bathrooms will always be referred to as latrines. Your bed always has to be made before you go to work. You walk with your hands cupped. I am Retired and I still do this. Just to clarify, they are not knife hands when you speak to folks, they are daggers. A knife has one straight edge and the other side curved, for cutting right. Look at your hand, make a “knife hand” but fold your thumb in…that is a knife hand, used for Saluting…as the Salute shall be swift amd fierce with purpose. Know make the “knife hand” again but leave your thumb out…ah ha…a Dagger….the Dagger is used to pierce your enemy numerous times until dead….But in our instance, to pierce our subordinate with verbal strikes until compliance ;). Nice thread, you guys have a good Air Force day!

  14. Photo 6, on which base is that? Tech School or Permanent Party? Damn, been a long time and still I so regret not taking better and complete photos of my dorm rooms to share with my folks at home. Need renovation ideas to present you see while I’m in the Philippines.

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