Five things to know before you arrive at BMT

By Staff Sgt. Antonio Gonzalez
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Getting ready to leave for Air Force basic military training can be an exciting, restless and confusing time. While you’re busy getting in shape and finalizing paperwork with your recruiter, you may have additional questions about how to succeed once you arrive at BMT. Don’t fret! We’ve got your back with these five essential tips to make BMT a bit smoother.

1) Know your reporting statement

You will use this every time you speak to your military training instructor. It is as follows:

“Sir/Ma’am, trainee (last name) reports as ordered.”

Be sure to use ma’am and sir when appropriate. Calling your MTI the opposite gender never ends well. Also, be cautious to not give your military training instructor a “sir sandwich”, by starting and ending your statement with sir:

“Sir/Ma’am, trainee (last name) reports as ordered, sir.”


Nothing makes an MTI’s day like a sir sandwich from a new trainee fresh off the bus!

2) Know the Airman’s Creed

The Airman’s Creed highlights an Airman’s promise to their country and fellow service members. Learn it and recite it with pride and motivation.

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.

3) Know the first part of the Air Force song

You’ll hear this song at many ceremonies and events throughout your Air Force career, and it’s customary for everyone to sing along too.

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 helluva roar!

We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force!

4) Know the Air Force enlisted and officer rank structures

Walking around Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in uniform can be a stressful situation if you don’t know the difference between enlisted and officer rank insignias and who you are supposed to salute.


5) Know the Air Force’s core values

They are our values that guide all aspects of an Airman’s military service.

Integrity first
Service before self
Excellence in all we do

Learning these five things before you arrive at BMT will make your transformation from a civilian to a motivated, disciplined warrior Airman a tiny bit easier.

What additional advice do you have for new recruits as they prepare for BMT?

88 thoughts on “Five things to know before you arrive at BMT”

  1. The worst thing about Basic was PT early in the AM and the Sand Spurs!! God those little rascals were every where!! They stuck on your clothes, in your skin, everywhere. On KP, a couple of us usually “volunteered” for Pots & Pans. We were done before the rest of the crew.

  2. I earned the title “Airman” the day I enlisted in the Air Force. We’re all Airmen, including the USAF Chief of Staff.

  3. That’s just for PT evaluation toward the end of BMT. PT evaluation day is the easiest day. Every other day you’re running for 30 minutes straight and plenty of intense calistenics. Don’t misinterpret the goal for the journey.

  4. I went through Air Force Basic training at Lackland AFB in 1973, and was assigned to flight 0402, 3703 squadron. Back then basic training was mind numbingly boring. I remember spending more time reading my student study guide, and keeping my personal area clean. We did PT, and drill and ceremony, spent allot of time learning how not to get VD, and we learned how to wear the uniform.

    Some of the old timers here might remember 1505’s, those were the khaki uniform back then, and yes they had 341’s as far back as 1973.

    After the Air Force, and not being able to find a job in law enforcement due to hiring freezes at the time, I joined the Army. Comparing the two would be like comparing a wrench to a hammer since the two services have completely different missions. But, having said that, and based on the accounts of those around me when I attended the Military Police School at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, I would say Army basic training would have been far more preferrable to Air Force basic training. But that’s just my personal opinion.

  5. 1. Always remember that the TI’s are doing their job to make you a squadron, so don’t take it personally. Do what they say and stay out of trouble
    2. Don’t volunteer for anything during basic
    3. Always look straight ahead. Lowering you eyes when they are in your face is a big mistake.
    4. Don’t think your boots will polish themselves.
    5. Remember teamwork is everything. Be a team member and people will follow you. Break rules and you will get a gi party.

  6. And do NOT under any circumstance have pictures of any military members in uniform on you. My MTI knew my husband. Needless to say, I was held to a hole other level.

  7. Or keep two a new one for your foot locker display & the one you use in your laundry bag out of sight. I lived out of my laundry bag & all other things were kept in order for inspection only

  8. yeah, smoking is not allowed in BMT, get caught on the patio without permission you will get washed back, and no one scrubs anything with a tooth brush

  9. Always remember that the AF is an organism that will take all that you are able to give and still ask for more. Pace yourself.

  10. Bring one pair of clothes, a toothbrush, and body wash, and some good “new” running shoes. That’s all you’ll need, everything else you’ll be issued or can buy there within the first week. And it doesn’t matter if you volunteer or not, they may put you there anyways.

  11. It also helps to remember that the MTIs are not yelling at you to be mean, they do it so that everyone can hear the correction. No one wants to keep repeating themselves a dozen times over, just to have someone ask/be corrected, again. So don’t take the yelling personal.

  12. i did the same in’85. I kept a clean replacement razor head and an unused toothbrush in a sock roll. Swapped new ones for the used ones for inspections. stuck the other in my pocket cause sometimes they checked the laundry bags.

  13. Volunteer for some detail on the assigned duties list at the first big meeting. Those left not volunteering get stuck on latrine duty. Patio/break area cleanup was easy duty outside, sweeping leaves.

  14. It is a mind game. Everything you do or say is “wrong .” Just do your best, and take the inevitable punishments. Don’t let them get to you. Leave your emotions out of it, and play the game. 🙂

  15. It has been a long time, but if you need to measure things, such as the fold on the top sheet of your bunk, a dollar bill is 6″. Arrive wearing footwear that fits that you can march, run and shower in, anything else you own may be on its way to Hawaii. White underwear, white t shirts, white socks, white towels. Bleach em, wash em together, nothing turns pink.

  16. Trimming strings with nail clippers is fine, but if they still allow it, it would be better to use a bic lighter to burn the strings. It does two things, it burns it down to nothing, and it melts the synthetic fibers so that they don’t unravel again. But that’s something that the trainee should discuss with their TI.

  17. When walking in front of the or by the “PIT” at the chow hall, make sure your walking correctly , uniform intact and do not say a word or they will eat you alive .

  18. For the love of all that is good, if you want to not die in BMT, DO NOT call a female MTI sir!!!! I still have nightmares from when I did….

  19. The better shape you are in when you get there the better, also remember the Staff at BMT are there to make you into the best in the world, Park your ideas on what that means, or how it should be done for the duration of Basic.

  20. I went through BMT exactly one year ago this month and the one thing that you have to brace for is the first week. You will get there pretty late at night for most people so you will be tired and when you arrive make sure you use the Reporting statement. If you show up knowing it you will have an easier time there. the first week you will have no idea what is going on thats okay no one else did as the weeks go on you will see how everything works. MTI are going to yell a lot but keep calm and think even if they are in your face do what they say. Some other things to know is learn the Position of Attention ask your recruiter to show you, anytime you talk to anyone you will be in this position. Bottem line for basic is The Better your Flight works together the better time you will have. Work together thats what its all about taking 50+ men/women who do not know each other and make them work together and learning how to do so fast. KP duty is great, Chow runner is a no, i was weapons monitor it wasn’t bad if you like M16 its pretty fun. Keep Calm and its only 8.5 weeks you will get through it. GOOD LUCK Future AIRMAN

  21. Just to boost an MTI’s ego, for about the first 3 1/2 weeks of training, I’d purposely answer or ask with the worst grammar. They’d have fun yelling at me correcting my grammar…

  22. Disagree. There is zero downside for volunteering for a trainee leadership position. Even if you get fired it’s good experience and unless you do something patently illegal you will graduate the same time as everyone else. You’re not going to be sent to be a lab rat or anything, so volunteering isn’t a bad thing.

  23. Well said and all good advise. I am quite sure things have changed alot since I was in basic back in 1975.
    it was still a great experience, one I enjoyed very much and will never forget.
    Good luck and congratulations to all of your choices to join THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE.

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