Library Fact Sheets
AIR FORCE BASIC MILITARY TRAINING FACT SHEET|
Printable Fact Sheet
Basic Military Training
Lackland Air Force Base, known as "The Gateway to the Air Force", conducts the Air Force's only enlisted recruit training program, ensuring orderly transition from civilian to military life. Recruits are trained and educated in the fundamental skills necessary to be successful in an Expeditionary Air Force. This includes military discipline, physical fitness, mental preparation for combat, basic war skills, drill and ceremonies, Air Force core values and a comprehensive range of subjects relating to Air Force life.
More than 7 million young men and women have entered Air Force basic military training since Feb. 4, 1946, when the training mission was moved to Lackland from Harlingen Air Force Base, Texas. Throughout its history, Lackland's BMT program has changed in many ways to meet the operational needs of the Air Force. Yet, recent updates in the program are some of the most significant in its more than 60-year history, with every aspect of the program overhauled.
On Nov. 7, 2005, BMT changed its curriculum to focus on a new kind of Airman -- one who is a 'warrior first.' The goal is to instill a warrior mindset in trainees from day one and better prepare Airmen for the realities of the Expeditionary Air Force. The changes resulted from the need to meet current and future operational Air Force requirements, as identified by the 20th Basic Military Training Review Committee in September 2004.
The most significant changes:
-- Air Force basic training mirrors the Air Expeditionary Force cycle -- trainees prepare to deploy, deploy to field exercises, and then reconstitute. The AEF construct is the Air Force's way of organizing, training, equipping and deploying forces for contingency operations while remaining ready to meet national crises.
-- M-16A2 weapons training -- recruits use a trainer rifle identical to the real weapon in every way except its ability to fire an actual round of ammunition. The weapon is issued day one of week one. Trainees can tear-down, clean and reassemble the parts of this weapon prior to combat arms training with the actual M-16 weapon. This training immediately connects the trainees with their warrior role, ingrains safe weapons handling and security, and allows the trainee to become comfortable with the weapon prior to the field deployment exercises.
-- Early classroom instruction and application in developing basic war skills is taught in the early weeks of training. The focus is to communicate war skills as a first priority. Basic Airmanship subjects such as history and Air Force doctrine, previously taught in the first two weeks, were moved to the seventh week.
-- "Foundational Expeditionary Skills" and "Self Aid and Buddy Care" are taught in the classroom with application immediately following, prior to trainee deployment to field training. These lessons were previously taught in the field. Now, trainees have more time to practice scenarios in the field and apply the skills learned in the classroom.
-- New classroom warrior related subjects include "Role of the Warrior," "Mental Preparation for Combat," "Basic Situational Awareness", "Basic Leadership and Character" and "Combat Stress Recovery" place emphasis on warrior resiliency.
-- Trainees receive a deployment briefing which includes operations, intelligence, medical and security briefings to add realism to a field deployment and mobility experience; and reinforces the message: "You are either deployed or preparing to deploy."
-- Daily evening "Airman's Time" mentoring sessions -- instructors relate daily training events to warrior and Airmanship qualities and character values required of all Airmen.
In February 2006, Air Force leaders made the decision to lengthen BMT to an 8-1/2 week course from the 6-1/2 week program. Extending BMT produces a more lethal and adaptable Airmen with the basic war fighting skills and confidence to use those skills to defeat any current or future adversary.
In November 2008, BMT lengthened from a 6-1/2 week to an 8-1/2 week program. The two additional weeks of training were used to include an intense five-day Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training exercise called BEAST, replacing the previous "Warrior Week" which included classroom type training in the field. BEAST replicates the sights, sounds and emotions Airmen experience in a deployed environment. The Air Force also reinstituted subject content that was previously deferred or reduced due to time constraints in foundational subjects such as Air Force history, organization, sexual assault prevention & reporting and suicide prevention. Another tangible benefit of increasing the time in BMT was that training learned in earlier phases of BMT are reinforced in later weeks of training.
In May 2010, the 22nd BMT Triennial Review Committee (comprised of the CMSAF and MAJCOM command chiefs) tasked BMT to determine the best way to implement a combatives training program, which builds on warrior ethos created through current BMT foundational expeditionary training, and Cyberspace and Computer Training.
In October 2010, BMT added a new "Cyberspace in the Air Force" lesson plan that provides basic facts about operating within the Cyberspace Domain. In Jan 2011, Airmen began navigating around the Air Force Portal with the stand-up of the first computer classroom training in BMT. Airmen now login to the Air Force Portal using their CAC cards and navigate through cyberspace before reaching technical training schools.
In April 2011, BMT added an "Introduction to Combatives" which serves to enhance physical and mental readiness of a warrior to act decisively and effectively when the "moment of truth" occurs in battle (e.g. warrior ethos).
In basic combatives BMT trainees are introduced to combatives as an organized system of fighting, encompassing a hybrid of mixed martial arts and combat sport techniques that train warriors how to fight; promotes health, fitness and confidence; teaches how to react under pressure; and it requires physical strength, mental readiness, and years of continual practice to master even just one fighting component. During the class trainees perform basic application exercises. The Basic Warrior Stance demonstrates how to maintain physical balance to properly defend. Stand Up in Base re-establishes footing quickly and regains balance if knocked down. Multiple Weapon Control Techniques prevent an enemy from taking away weapons. Basic Punches demonstrate the most common and simplest to learn upper body techniques to protect themselves. Basic Kicks demonstrates using the body's biggest muscles to produce the most powerful strikes. In addition, trainees observe advanced combatives techniques through an instructional video during the Air Force Fitness class which also briefs them on potential Air Force Combatives Training Courses in their future.
Introduction to basic combatives, in synergy with an extensive array of existing BMT-related warrior training (to include role of the warrior, mental preparation for combat, weapons discipline in hostile environments, basic firing positions, basic rifle fighting techniques, tactical movements, challenge procedures, basic situational awareness, pugil stick fighting, and week-long Basic Expeditionary Airman's Skills Training exercises, to name only a few), inculcate a warrior mindset during BMT.
In August 2011, BMT is including a Creating Leaders Airmen and Warriors (CLAW) leadership reaction exercise during BEAST. It is designed for trainees to rehearse leadership and Airmanship skills (wingmanship, team work, and discipline) learned earlier in BMT, and, to reinforce trainee resiliency and strength of character, as they experience and overcome mental and physical demands of simulated combat to accomplish their mission.
History of the length BMT Training:
-- November 1942 -BMT training began at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center (SAACC) (Lackland); the length of time has not been determined; It was probably between six to eight weeks.
-- 1946 - BMT at six weeks (30 training days). This is when SAACC absorbed the BMT school at Harlingen Field, Texas
-- May 1949 - The 13-week BMT program increased to 520 hours.
-- July 1950 - Training went from 65 to 40 days (7 weeks).
-- December 1950 - BMT was at two weeks (Korea War buildup).
-- February 1951 - BMT at eight weeks.
-- August 1952 - BMT increased to 12 weeks.
-- February 1954 - BMT cut to 11 weeks.
-- 1955 - Two Phase (male) training: 6 weeks (phase I) at BMT and 5 week phase II.
-- February 1960 - BMT at eight weeks; program made up of five week phase I and three week, phase II.
-- November-December 1963 - Seven-week single phase BMT.
-- October 1964 - Six-week single phase BMT phase program.
-- August 1965 - April 1966 - Split phase BMT training (Vietnam buildup); 22 days at Lackland. and eight days at the technical training school (still 30 training days; 6 weeks).
-- April 1966 - Six week 'minimal essential' BMT training.
-- November 2008 - BMT extended to 8-1/2 weeks.
(current as of 19 Jul 2011)