You may have heard your recruiter talk about education opportunities within the Air Force. I’m not talking about Tuition Assistance or the Montgomery G.I. Bill, as I have not taken advantage of either of those programs yet, but I have earned my Associate in Applied Science degree courtesy of the CCAF degrees are increasingly becoming more important to your military career. While I’m not sure if it’s been put in print just yet, the word is that you cannot progress to the senior non-commissioned officer ranks unless you have a CCAF degree. The Air Force really stresses that education and leadership go hand in hand, and this is no exception.
I’m Annelise and I joined the Air National Guard in November of 2013. I recently found out that I’ll be attending Basic Training (BMT) this spring of 2014, and until that training date arrives, I’ll be spending our mandatory UTA’s (drill weekends) out at Student Flight.
Student Flight was created to help prepare future trainees for BMT. You learn all about rank, pay grades, uniform insignia, how to sit at attention and say the basic reporting statement, the USAF Chain of Command, how to roll t-shirts, roll socks, fold towels, make a bed, march in formation, practice PT—the list goes on and on. Some attendees are even given the chance to be selected as Element Leaders, Class Leader, Road Guards, etc., giving you a first hand (and much lower pressure) look at what certain leadership positions will be like during training. It’s a priceless tool that I’d highly recommend taking advantage of if you’ve got some time between enlisting and BMT.
Here are some things to note if your UTA is coming up and you’re scheduled to attend Student Flight:
- Wear comfortable clothing! Your recruiter will typically give you a list of what to wear & bring. I recommend wearing a crew-neck t-shirt, jeans without holes, athletic shoes, and a belt to tuck in your shirt. Men should be clean-shaven with short hair and women must wear their hair up. It’s important to follow the dress code so you won’t stick out from the crowd—don’t give your instructors anything to pick on you for!
- You will get yelled at and you will have to do push-ups. This is why it’s so important to be in that comfortable clothing. Not only will you be doing push-ups, but you’ll probably also be marching & doing flutter kicks, and other active tasks that are so much easier in clothes that allow you to move.
- Bring PT gear. Each UTA, our Student Flight does a PT test to see how we’re measuring up to the Air Force BMT Fitness Standards. Make sure you’ve got your pants or shorts, a t-shirt, and your running shoes.
- Take every correction as constructive criticism. The purpose of Student Flight is to prepare you for BMT, so if one of your instructors calls you out for something you’re doing wrong, don’t be upset! They’re doing you a favor by correcting you… so learn from every mistake. It’s so much better to make a mistake in Student Flight where there are absolutely no (or minimal) consequences versus down at Basic.
I suppose my summary of Student Flight might make it seem a little intimidating. It’s truly not. It’s an invaluable learning tool and is a lot of fun. You will be able to meet people from all over your squadron, receive pointers and advice from so many people who have “been there, done that,” and it will help pass the time before you leave for BMT. Plus, did I mention? You get paid! It’s a total win/win.
If you’d like to know more about Student Flight, I have several other posts about my pre-BMT experiences that can be found here. Good luck, future Airmen. Thank you for all you will do for our amazing country!
Thanks Annelise for sharing your suggestions and recommendations for those who have the opportunity to participate in Student Flight/D&TF! I totally agree with you that it’s a win/win for those waiting to leave for BMT! Take your training, preparation, and networking to the next level, and get paid on top of it? Game on!