I leave for basic in two weeks, any advice?

I’ll be going into the Air Force as an Aerial Gunner. So far, my plan is to become invisible. I’m just going to do what they say, and not cause any problems. I do not want to bring any attention to myself. I really don’t want to get yelled at. Any advice or stories from people who’ve already gone through that?

  1. Never volunteer when the DI or other non-com is asking for Volunteers. Not so bad if an Officer is doing the asking. This may not be so bad in the AF, I dunno- but…
  2. Do show a tiny bit of initiative, and that can get you made brevet squad leader, or whatever the AF call’s 'em.
  3. Do be respectful, don’t be a kiss-ass.
  4. grousing is OK, they expect that. That’s to your fellow enlistees, that is.
  5. You WILL get yelled at- get over it. Then again, it’s the AF, not the Marines, so it won’t be too bad.
  6. Before you go, get into a good sleep rythm by getting to bed early, and waking early. Get yourself into better shape. You’d be surpised what you can do in a couple of weeks. Run, sit-ups, push-ups.

No advice, but I wanted to pop in to wish you luck and hapiness in your new career.

When I was in, everyone got assigned to a certain dorm duty for the remainder of basic. IMHO, laundry duty was the absolute best. You have to wash everyone’s stuff, but that means several hours of basically free time while you laze about the laundry room. As opposed to mopping, cleaning showers and so on that the other duties seemed to be.

Other than the obvious, keep a low profile, follow orders without question and immediately, I can’t think of anything.

Oh yes, one other thing, DO join the track and field team, not only is it way fun, but it will also keep you from other much more boring tasks. I was on the tug of war team, we spent a lot of time working out and practicing when others in the flight were doing stupid stuff like “base beautification” (picking up garbage, and weeding, stuff like that).

Good luck, try to have fun. Air Force (of course I was "in’ a LONG time ago), was 95 percent fun imho. The only part that was not fun was the marching in the broiling sun. I sunburn really easily, and despite being an excellent dancer with really good rythm, I could NOT get the hang of a few steps earning me the screams of very disgruntled TI’s (at least that’s what they used to call them in the air force Training Instructors as opposed to other branches’ Drill Instructors).

But then being the target of the TIs ire also earned me the spot of one of the most popular airmen of the flight and sister flight :D, so there’s always something good.

Remember it’s only 6 weeks.

Oh yeah, forgot one. Have the dorm guard wake you up a few minutes before reveille (if they will still do that, they did when I went, but that was in the early 80s). Getting woken up by the recorded trumpet and having to become awake, dressed and alert enough to make sense in a few seconds before they burst in yelling and stuff SUCKS. Much more pleasant to be awake and ready to hop up and jump into the uniform and so on.

DO NOT get dressed if you get the “wake up call”, just get yourself awake. Sometimes they like to do inspections a few minutes before reveille to make sure no one is pre-anticipating it and getting ready before hand.

Ditto to what Dr.Deth said. Do get yourself into an early to bed, early to rise schedule, and also DO get into a really good workout routine. I went to a few aerobics classes a day for a month or so beforehand. It really helped with those runs.

The “exercises” they have you do before the runs were a joke, but the runs were not much fun, and having gotten into pretty good shape beforehand really helped.

Sorry, I didn’t explain this very well. When I went in, the TIs basically “passed out” the different duties to the flight they’d name a task and then those in the flight were allowed to raise their hands and volunteer for it. If you have a chance, and they stilll do that, volunteer for laundry duty if you can. It’s about the easiest one. Everyone in our flight was jealous of our group.

As of last October, I think, the Air Force way upped their physical requirements, much to my brother’s annoyance. He went to basic late last year.

Do try to be in as good shape as you can. My brother didn’t. He still doesn’t want to talk about it, but he did make it through.

They will find something to yell at you about. Deal with it.

You don’t want to be the guy who has to run ahead of your flight and stop traffic when you cross roads getting around base. Trust me.

Luck and don’t get your ass killed.

No advice, really, other than two things gleaned from my sister (current cadet at the AF Academy):
-Don’t make yourself stand out, at all, ever. Do good, but don’t be the best or the worst.
-Remember why you’re there. She wants to design airplanes, and said that when it was really rough, she’d give herself just a second, and look up at the sky. Have a distinct goal going into it, and remember that at all times.

Good luck.

Gee, I wish I was your age again!

Just curious, did you choose your specialty? If not, could you switch to something that a/ has some utility in your future civilian life, and b/ keeps you out of combat? Maybe jet engine maintenance or payroll processing or computer repair? (If you did choose Aerial Gunner, I sincerely wish you the best of luck.)

One little thing. Get a short haircut before your go. Guys with short hair get it cut a little shorter. Longhairs get shaved and “accidentally” scraped by the barber.

Good luck. Vaya con dios.

It was my third choice, and I’m pretty happy with it, my mother isn’t though. None of the other jobs seemed interesting to me. I’m not worried about finding a job for my civilian life because I’ve decided to be a teacher after my stint in the service. But my main goal is to not get killed. All my future plans depend on me keeping that goal.

I usually cut my hair down to a 1. I was going to let it grow out, so I don’t have to go through the effort of cutting it myself and let them do it.

Soon after you get there, your TI will assign members of your dorm jobs.


Dorm Chief: You’ll get it every time someone in your flight screws up, and you’ll have to write nightly reports besides.

Element Leader: Dorm Chief lite, essentially.

Chow Runner: First-hand knowledge here. Before your flight can eat; you have to run down to the dining facility, stand in front of the “snake pit” (where the TIs eat), give a statement (and usually take some harassment from the snake pit), parrot whatever the TI at the box tells you (that is, repeat it followed by “Yes, sir/ma’am, thank you sir/ma’am”). Then, you have to stand in front of the dining facility and direct your flight in when it’s their turn. After that, you stand next to the row of tables and direct the other trainees “back” and “front” to ensure proper loading of the tables. Then, you get to eat.


Academic Monitor: Help people study the things you learn in classes. This may include walking around the flight in formation and asking questions.

Dorm Guard Monitor: You decide who’s on dorm guard, when. This can come in handy in making deals (giving someone a good slot in exchange for, say, a boot shine).

House Mouse: You’re in charge of a lot of the small paperwork, and making sure everybody has enough AETC Form 341s on them (You’re going to learn a LOT more about the 341 very soon.)


If you’re not a totally devout Protestant or Catholic Christian, don’t go to those services. Go to a different service (you’ll want to, a couple hours away from the TIs is a Good Thing). Since the majority of the flight will be going to a Protestant or Catholic service, they won’t want to do dorm guard during that time. If you get stuck with a shift during the night, very often they’ll trade you so they can go to church. This is also a good way to learn about other religions (I went to all of them except for the Jewish and Islamic services, including Wicca, LDS, Bhuddist (speficially Nichiren) Eckanckar (sp?) and Baha’i. Good stuff).

Go to www.rankinsignia.info and study up on the AF Enlisted and Officer rank insignia. You’ll be quizzed on them fairly often, so it’s good to have a head start.

Your reporting statement is “Sir/Ma’am, Trainee (lastname) reports as ordered”. It is not “Sir/Ma’am, Trainee (lastname) reporting as ordered.”

During your last week, volunteer as OJT dorm guard, and pass on your knowledge to the new guys in other dorms. They’ll be just as nervous as you were when you first got there, and anything you can tell them helps.

Getting mail when you’re in Basic is a great feeling. A few days after you get there, you’ll get a mandatory phone call to home to tell them you’re alive and to give them your address. So give whoever you plan to call a list of people to pass the address along to. Make sure to let them know not to send you any packages. When the TIs pass out mail, they do tend to feel the envelopes to find photographs. So make sure nobody sends you innappropriate pictures.

Like Freddy Mercury said, keep yourself alive. Basic sucks, and tech school’s probably going to suck as well. But you’ll get through it.

One last thing: I think you’ll be going to tech school in Keesler AFB, Biloxi, MS. If you do, spare a thought for the poor bastards in the 338th.Those dorms look a lot worse on the inside than the outside; and what they lack in living conditions they make up for in anal retentiveness. And most of those people are stuck there for at least four months.

Hair: Just don’t be a smartass and shave it before you go. Everyone looks VERY different when hair is removed. If you go in bald, you will be recognized and remembered when you leave the barber. That could be a bad thing.

Attitude: It’s everything. I don’t know how many times I stole 5 seconds and distanced myself from whatever evil I was dealing with just to say, “This too shall pass.” It helps. Also, when/if shit gets too deep you have 2 choices: laugh or bitch. Always laugh. Smile at whomever is nect to you and say, “This is GREAT!” No shit. It’ll make the time that much easier and morale will be better around you. That is a good thing.

Artificial Stress: Is pretty much what Basic is. The goal is to identify nonconformists and contrary attitudes so they can be addressed and brought in line. No Drill Sergeant wants to see his people crying and broken, but neither does he want to see a potentially destructive attitude persist through graduation. That type of attitude is best identified under stressful conditions. After all that the goal is to teach the way of your particular branch. Potential for combat terror or whatever is not addressed in Basic–there’s no time for that. There’s too much information to put out, and they need for everyone to be receptive.

You want easy time? Look for contrary attitudes and find a way to bring them around. The sooner all that crap is taken care of, the sooner your leaders can ease off with the yelling and head games. Everyone will be happier.

I LOVED Basic…after a week or so.

Is this like a redleg on an AC-130 spectre , or a weapons specialty that takes care of the M-61 vulcans and what not ?

It sounds like a turret gunner on a B-17 , but the B-52 was the last A/C to have a defensive gun in the tail , and those I assume were converted to remote stations.


The aircraft I could be assigned to are: AC-130H, MH-53J, and the HH-60G.
Here’s a brief description about the job.


I forgot all about the flutter wings

Good luck and stay safe


One of the major goals of basic training is to get everyone to look alike, act alike and think alike. The faster this happens, the easier it will be.

You may want to rent the movie “Stripes” before leaving. It’s a documentary on basic training. Take lots of notes. :smiley:

Yeah, my brother the apathetic agnostic (he don’t know and he don’t care) went to services every week in basic. His recruiter advised him to for the same reason you mention. I think he went to the Protestant services. I suppose even for an agnostic some prayer in basic is not unheard of, however. :slight_smile:

Concerning the hair, yeah, don’t shave it before you go. But they removed pretty much all of my brother’s once he got there. He looks a lot better with hair, though he has to keep it pretty short now. I think he’s going to be one of those that when he gets out grows it out and grows a beard just because.