By request, today I bring you BEAST! And I’m not just talking about myself! 😉 BEAST stands for Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training, which is the field exercises you’ll do in week 6 of BMT. BEAST serves as a culmination of all of your practical, hands-on education at BMT.
Prior to leaving for BEAST, you’ll receive training in SABC (“Self-Aide Buddy Care” – first aide), CBRNe (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear warfare), defensive fighting positions, and non-lethal rifle fighting techniques. Around week five, this training will ramp up, and your classroom lessons will discuss “predeployment” procedures and information.
Your MTI and student leaders will select several trainees to take on leadership roles at the BEAST. These roles include:
BEAST Monitor – This individual functions as the Dorm Chief of BEAST and will work with other BEAST Monitors to organize and strategize.
Tactical Deployment Leader – Four trainees are selected to be TDLs, which are the Element Leaders of BEAST. They assist the BEAST Monitors.
Weapons Monitor – This trainee is responsible if anyone mishandles their weapon. They should have weapons handling down pat.
SABC Monitor – These two to three trainees are responsible for ensuring that all trainees understand SABC procedures and can execute them properly.
The weekend before you leave for BEAST, you’ll go to the mini-mall for a predeployment shopping trip. There’s a checklist of items in your BMTSG. Things I bought but didn’t use include bug spray and flexible bandage tape (for protecting my arms and elbows on the chalk walk). You’re going to want to bring hand sanitizer and probably sunscreen since this is one of the most exposed areas of the base and you’re outside all day. You’ll also prepare a second canteen so that you have two on your web belt at all times. All of these items will be packed in Ziploc bags in your duffle bag. You’ll carry your duffle bag and your rifle (without the case) onto the bus on Monday morning and be transported to the BEAST, which is located on a remote side of the base.
For whatever reason, this particular area of the base seems hotter than back at the squadron. Throw in some sand, MOPP gear, sweat, and it can seem unbearable at times. By the time the week is over, you’ll be thankful for the “luxurious” squadron living. I remember saying that I would gladly roll and fold in my air-conditioned personal area for hours after that experience! Our flight joked that there would be no more fussing when our MTI asked us to do something, regardless of how ridiculous it seemed. Bleach the latrine floor with a toothbrush? Not a problem, on it Sir! We were thankful just to be back. Keep in mind though that we were at BEAST in the middle of July in Texas – you can imagine.
[Parts of this post have been edited due to OPSEC concerns brought forward. I will answer questions as best as I can, but please understand if I can’t answer everything and elaborate as much as I’d like.]