Happy Leap Day! Today I bring you part two of Duties and Details. If you’re just joining me now, check out the introduction and Part 1 (bed alignment, shoe alignment, End of Bed Display)here.
The Fire Monitor is a fancy phrase for trash man at BMT, or at least, that’s all our Fire Monitor did. Your primary concern as the Fire Monitor is to take the trash out as soon as it’s full and dispose of it in the dumpsters. This is a pretty straight-forward duty, although you’re dependent upon everyone else doing their details in a timely manner so that you can get the trash out before lights out. More than one, our trainees were making a late-night power march out to the dumpster and back with their flashlights, trying to beat the clock. You can fail an inspection if your trash can is too full in the middle of the night and you get hit with a non-duty, so it wasn’t uncommon for our crews to encourage everyone to wipe their hands on their clothes after washing, to avoid using paper towels. The Fire Monitor is also responsible for cleaning and dusting the fire escape. Your MTI will run his/her finger along every surface in your dorm, to ensure that there’s no dust anywhere. The Fire Monitor(s) may be one or two trainees.
This job is arguably one of the more demanding ones, aside from Latrine Crew and Laundry Crew. We had three trainees on the utility crew, including one designated as the chief. Your dorm will have a closet in it where all of the cleaning items and laundry bags are stored. No one is allowed in the utility closet except a student leader or a member of the utility crew, and even we always tried to respect their space as well. If someone needs something from the utility closet, the utility crew must hand it to them – they cannot help themselves.
For a room stocked with cleaning supplies, this place has to be impeccably organized and clean at all times. This is a difficult task, to say the least. There can’t be any dust or hair left in any cleaning brushes, and everything has a specific storage location. You also can’t have any unauthorized items in your utility closet, so nothing can be stashed in there. There is a max number of items you can have, so no more than a certain number of paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls can be stocked.
Utility crew members must keep their closet stocked. They’re responsible for going down to the main supply rooms in the squadron to get more of what they need. In some instances, the supply room may be out of stock, so our utility crew would have to bed the baby flights or our brother’s flight to borrow items. If they don’t have the required number of items, we could get dinged, hence the urgency. The utility closet also includes spare hangers, which have to be bundled in groups of twenty, with no more than one hundred hangers in the closet. If there were more, the utility crew had to run them down to the hanger closet in the squadron. Do you get the impression yet that the utility crew is always busy? They were!
Laundry bags are stored in the utility closet as well, and they tend to pose the greatest problem for both the laundry crew and the utility crew. Both teams have to set up a system to distinguish between dirty and clean laundry. We chose to have the open ends of clean laundry bags facing one way, and the dirty facing the opposite way. If there was a wet spot on the laundry bag, the utility closet can fail an inspection. A successful utility crew must work for hand in hand with the latrine crew and the laundry crew.
Day Room Crew
Each dorm has a “day room.” It sounds like it may be a comfortable place to entertain visitors (ha!) but it’s not. The day room is primarily used for instructional purposes when your MTI needs to address the flight. The day room has a number of cushioned chairs, a few couches, and some end tables. You are never to sit on these couches or chairs and will be told that you are not allowed to do so until you earn the right as a graduated Airman. There is also a bookcase, a desk with a chair for your MTI, a podium, and an empty wall locker. We also had a flat-screen TV that never got turned on. There is a whiteboard on the wall for instruction, a mirror, and a bulletin board with some informational flyers. You’ll also see various motivational wall decor items. When you are in the day room, you’ll be sitting on the floor, in close proximity to others so that everyone fits and that there’s a clear walkway for your MTI. The civilian luggage closet is located in the day room and is kept locked at all times. The day room crew is responsible for keeping this area clean, including polishing and dusting everything. Again, your MTI will inspect the area with his finger for dust, as well as checking mirrors and framed items for streaks in the glass. Furniture has to be aligned and straight. The day room crew is also responsible for the civilian luggage closet. Inside of that closet, civilian items are stacked one on top of the other, and must not go over a certain height. Each bag is tagged with a cardstock luggage tag that must be filled out according to certain specifications that your MTI will share with you. This tag must be at the end of the bag facing out, and visible for inspection. The day room crew will also do the floors in both areas. This crew normally finishes quicker than the others and can help out where needed.
The hallway crew will sweep and clean the hallway, which includes a few bulletin boards, the Entry Controller (EC) stand, and most importantly, the chrome stripes on the ground as you step into each of the bays. Be prepared for that fingertip inspection from your MTI! No dust – anywhere! You’ll be wiping down the walls, making sure the mirror is streak-free, wiping down the EC stand, the fire exit signs, the hardware on the door, the tops of the bulletin boards, etc. As you enter the dorm, there’s a bulletin board immediately on the nearest wall, with a roster of the trainees authorized to enter the dorm. You’ll also have a list of MTIs that are authorized to be inside of the dorm. There will also be a reference sheet of access badges that are accepted in lieu of having a name on the roster or authorized MTIs. We had two additional bulletin boards with other important notices and informational flyers, including off-limits places in the area.
The biggest task in the hallway was the chrome polishing. Each dorm is given a roll of polishing cloth that’s about an inch wide. You’ll cut it into 1″ squares and use those little squares to polish the chrome strips using teeny tiny circular motions. You’ll reuse those strips until they practically disintegrate. This is a pretty tedious job, to say the least, and your MTI will implement the policy that you can’t step on the chrome. Many trainees remind themselves of this policy by saying the word “Chrome!” every time they step over those strips.
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!