BMT: Dust Down

“Dust Down” was one of my distinct privileges as the Dorm Chief of my flight at BMT.  Dust Down is the way your flight will keep the dorm clean and is performed at least twice a day during duty days.  On Sunday you’ll do deep details, so you’ll probably only do Dust Down once in the evening.

Dust Down will be lead by the Dorm Chief and is a series of directions that are given to the flight, which will then echo them back and perform the request.  The idea is to get the entire flight cleaning up their own area, so the entire dorm is clean within a period of ten minutes or less.  The more often you clean, the better your dorm stays inspection ready at all times, and the less effort you’ll have to put out when you do clean.

Air Force BMT: Dust Down
Soldiers of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division salute the American flag as the United States anthem is being played during their departure ceremony at historic Fort Snelling on May 22, 2011. 1st BCT will be deploying to Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn.

I would stand at the end of the dorm, in between the two bays, where both A Bay and B Bay could hear me.  It wasn’t uncommon for our MTI, in his thick Puerto Rican accent, to say, “Why are we not doing Dust Down?  Let’s go!”  That was the signal for me to immediately start jumping into my script.  While we were beginning DD, someone from the Utility Crew would’ve already passed out rags (ripped up pieces of the towel), so that each trainee had one.

Your MTI’s script and procedures for DD may vary, but mine was as follows.  They may not be verbatim, but they’re to the best of my recollection right now.  Every command is followed by an allotted number of seconds to complete it in.  Each command and its count is echoed by all trainees.

photo Air Force BMT: Dust Down

Prepare for dust down!
Clear all chairs!
Weapons cases by wall lockers!
Tightly laced shoes on jail cells!
Window sills!
Chair boards and h-bars!
Bed rails and jail cells!
Sweepers, go!

That was the first “paragraph,” if you will, of the instructions.  That “floors” part?  You’ll be on your hands and knees gathering up all of the dust bunnies with your rag.  You’ll shake out that rag in the center aisle, where the sweepers will go by and collect the piles.  The second paragraph included setting up our personal areas again – putting those chairs back, re-aligning shoes and weapons cases, aligning the towels and laundry bags on the end of bed display, and so forth.  The third paragraph has you open your wall locker and align all of the clothing items in there, the flashlight, and the BMTG.  Eventually, we became more responsible for our own wall lockers, so we skipped that last paragraph.  Once you get your wall locker perfect, you won’t want to touch it.
photo BMT: Dust Down
As the weeks progress, more and more of your flight members will be off doing other things during DD, so you may end up having to pick up the slack for your missing wingmen.  DD usually happened during nightly accountability, which meant I was gone with another trainee, which meant that an element leader took over for me, which meant three spots were unattended.  Get my drift?  It happens.  Help your wingmen out, they’ll repay the favor later!

DD should be a fairly easy task.  As you advance in your training, you’ll learn strategies to speed the process along, like putting the shoes and weapons cases up early, without waiting for the prompt.  Other trainees liked to do all of one task in their general area, while someone else did another task.  You can get in trouble during DD, but only if you’re not moving with a sense of urgency, or not pulling your own weight – dirtbag trainee moves.  Don’t be a DBT.

After DD, you’ll report to your individual duty areas.  I’ll be describing those shortly on the blog, so stay tuned!