Now that I’ve delighted you with tales of PT, how about we get you stocked with your BMT essentials? The “don’t leave home without it” stash is radically different between the civilian and the BMT worlds. Blackberries, scads of lip balms, and my AETC Form 341 – Gimme your 341! These are the words no trainee wants to hear. 341s are slips of paper that you’re required to have on you at all times. They serve as a calling card of sorts, at tech school, where they’re not used in such a negative fashion. At BMT, you’re required to have at least two in your pocket at all times, and they better be filled out correctly and not wrinkly, which is easier said than done when you’re pulling them in and out of uniforms, low-crawling through sandpits, etc. If you’re being verbally reprimanded by any MTI, and your discrepancy is deemed horrid enough, they’ll pull your 341. That form is then filled out and given to your MTI, who will punish you in their own manner. If you had too many 341s pulled, you could risk getting a U (unsatisfactory) for the week of training, which could get you recycled. 341s can be pulled for a variety of reasons, including not knowing your memory work (more on that later), having your uniform out of regulation, not having your required items (mentioned in this post), falling behind on the PT pad during run days or not trying hard enough at PT, etc. 341s can also be pulled for excellence, although it’s a lot rarer at BMT. It only typically happens when you’re doing duties, such as when I was working at the Wing Headquarters, and that’s if you’re going above and beyond and demonstrating the core value of Excellence in All We Do.
Side note – while most trainees needed to have two 341s in their pocket at all times, I learned to carry the maximum amount of four. As a Dorm Chief, I would get 341s pulled for the mistakes of other trainees in my flight. You can imagine how excited that made me. I eventually learned that if my MTI didn’t input my 341 and have me sign off on it, it wasn’t really being counted against me.
Money List – We were required to carry a money list in our pockets, with our 341s, and have a duplicate money list in the locked security drawers of our wall lockers. Again, this better be filled out appropriately. We had to write down the denominations and the serial numbers of every bill we had in our security drawers. Every time you spent any money, you had to update both money lists. For that reason alone, it wasn’t worth having any cash on you while at BMT. Military ID card – Pretty much a no-brainer here. We had ID cardholders that we had to wear around our necks. Later in our training, we were required to carrying emergency contact information on us at all times, which was also placed into those ID cardholders. While I was at BMT, Trainee
BMTSG – Ah yes, the Basic Military Training Study Guide! Don’t leave home – er, the dorm – without it! If you ever had any “downtime,” you were expected to be reading this book or memorizing your memory work. Memory work is a two-sided sheet of the basic information you were expected to know – rank structure, insignia, the Airman’s Creed, the Air Force song, different parts of our service weapon, our local chain of command, and the larger national/federal chain of command. You could be quizzed on memory work at any time, and a 341 pulled if you answered incorrectly. The BMTSG is 569 pages of fun, including all of the material that we covered in our coursework, and all of the information that we’d be tested on when we took our EOC (End of Course) exam in the 7th week of training. We would study while waiting to be called into the chow hall, during mandatory study time, and pretty much any time we were waiting around. As a Dorm Chief, I didn’t get a lot of study time in, as I was either monitoring/supervising my flight or consulting with my MTI. Luckily I pulled it off in the end with a 97 on my EOC.
I’m a 31 year old Navy sister, Army wife - Air Force wife to a prior service Marine/Soldier, and an Air Force Reservist. I am a happy wife and mother. My husband switched branches and joined me in the Air Force Reserve. We look forward to a future of dual military service!