Longer, Tougher Basic Training for Air Force Recruits
by Paul Connors
The Air Force finally seems to have taken notice. After almost a decade of operations using its own Air Expeditionary Force concepts and models, the nation's junior service finally realized that it needs to train the way it will fight. As a result, the Air Force concluded that it must change its basic training and as of the time of this writing, is doing just that.
Gone are the days of learning how to fold t-shirts into six inch squares (an exercise designed to stress attention to detail). Air Force Basic Training, the shortest of all the services at just six weeks had long been viewed as a cakewalk compared to Basic Combat Training for the Army and the legendary boot camps of the Marine Corps. Training cadres in the know even admitted that Coast Guard basic training, held at that service's Training Center in Cape May, N.J. was more difficult and stressful than that experienced by incoming airmen.
Now the focus, curriculum and length of time a trainee spends at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas have all been revamped. The service's newest incoming enlisted trainees will face a basic training program that is seven weeks long, with a curriculum that emphasizes the "warrior ethos," and ground combat skills.
I've never attended AF basic training (my military career started in the Army), but as a member of the Air National Guard for the past nine years, it has become painfully obvious to me that USAF personnel are in serious need of more tactical training. In this era of asymmetric warfare and joint operations, technical proficiency in one's job is no longer enough. This isn't a huge step, but it is a step in the right direction.