Adventure to Lackland: Another Day in Paradise

By Senior Airman Soo C. Kim
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Editor’s note: This is part two of a series detailing this author’s experiences at Air Force Basic Military Training and beyond. You can read part one of the series here.

A week and some days have passed since the fateful night we met our campaign-hat-of-doom. Most of us were still shivered at the sight of anything that remotely resembled that hat as if the Grim Reaper himself was staring directly into our soul. But, as the days went by, we slowly adapted to our new lifestyle.

Marching everywhere and avoiding eye contact with anyone who had more than two stripes became the norm. The yelling and push-ups began to sound and feel like loud sage advice and an opportunity to make my less-than-impressive “guns” stronger.

Once we completed our daily routine, there was no better place to rest our exhausted bodies than the uncomfortable beds we were assigned to. After days and nights of training, the rock hard mattresses and scruffy, uncomfortable comforters felt like fluffy clouds and silky smooth sheets.

Sleep was the most glorious thing we could experience. It was our haven from our instructor, the military and the training. The Earth must have been spinning five-times faster than normal when we were sleeping on those beds; the beautiful sound of trumpet from the speakers on the wall often played way too early.
We had no time to lose. With five minutes to spare, we’d make our beds as sharp and tight as possible, utilize the latrine and form up outside the dormitory.

Every morning was mandatory physical training. We counted down our numbers out loud in formation and marched down to a large open area that used to be a parking lot.

Trainees prepare to do an exercise on the ground. The physical training program at BMT incorporates different types of strength training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Krystal Ardrey/Released)

We started with standard warm-up stretching, continued with strengthening exercises and ended with countless laps around the PT area.

Once morning PT was complete, we enjoyed a delectable breakfast at the chow hall. Every time we sat to eat, it seemed as though the food tasted better and better. I was getting a bit concerned for my taste buds.

Air Force Basic Training
A trainee gets his instructions loud and clear from Staff Sgt. Joshua Hite after arriving to the 322nd Training Squadron for basic military training, Sept. 11, 2012, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./Released)

The layout for the chow hall was a cruel one.

With our trays in hand, we take side-steps to proceed down the line to our main entrée, side menu and drinks. Everything was great until you arrive at the dessert section. Those fluffy cakes, delicious pies and the sweet ice creams glow radiantly, beckoning you over. They were definitely available for us to grab, but not without the MTIs noticing.

The MTI’s seats were located right in front of the dessert section, and we had no choice but to walk past the desserts and cross directly in front of their area to get to our seats.

After our meal, the daily activities and training varied depending on what week we were in. Around the second and third week, we participated in classes to learn more about the Air Force and military lifestyle. Learning about the history of the Air Force, customs and courtesies, the education opportunities in the Air Force, etc. was informative and exciting.

Students in Air Force basic military training learn about defending cyberspace during a training class Oct. 8, 2010. The course teaches basic operating fundamentals on the Air Force network and the significance of protecting the network to meet the Air Force mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Robbin Cresswell/Released)

We always wrapped up our long and draining day by cleaning our dormitory. Everyone had specific jobs assigned to them: the bed aligners, shoe aligners, day room crew, hallway crew, and the list went on.

Five unfortunate souls and I had the best duty out of all: the latrine crew.

We were responsible for making the latrine spotless. Not a single stain or drop of water was allowed to linger. I must have scrubbed those toilets until they began blinding me with sparkling shine, or maybe it was the cleaner doing its work.

I dragged my tired body to my uncomfortable bed. All daily assignments were complete for us and the lights turned off. Some were already snoring before I slid into my scruffy comforter.

The noises from my fellow trainees faded away from my consciousness, and I fell asleep. The sweet slumber, however, was shattered too quickly as always by the cheerful sound of trumpet from the raggedy brown speaker on the wall.

It was the start of another day in basic military training!

Does any of this sound familiar to you? What are your fondest memories of the BMT dining facility, airmanship classes and PT? Stay tuned for part three of the series!