Have you read about the Entry Controller (EC) yet online? I’ve been putting this one off for a while. Like chow at BMT, this is a lengthy and important topic, which will affect everyone in your flight. Settle in, readers, it’s time to brush up on skills every Airman must learn, beginning in BMT.
Entry Controllers do just that – they control access in and out of an entry point. Per the BMTSG, this may be a temporary/informal barrier due to an emergency, or it may be a formal entry point, such as the gate leading into a military installation. EC is the responsibility of every Airman, as it is a role that anyone may be assigned to fulfill in a forward-deployed location if need be. EC is not just the job of Security Forces personnel. Due to the sensitive nature and the safety of everyone involved, BMT personnel take this job very seriously. You will learn the basics of EC within the dorm room and they will also be utilized at BEAST, where you’ll simulate the use of EC in a forward-deployed location.
The MTI will designate an EC monitor within your flight. In our dorm, this trainee’s bed was located nearest to the door to the dormitory. You may also have an alternate EC monitor, as it’s such a demanding job. The EC monitor must be a good teacher, as they are responsible for instructing all of the other trainees in proper EC procedures and protocol. They must also be a good manager, as they’ll be creating the schedule for EC duty. They’ll have to be prepared to deal with a lot of whiny trainees who aren’t happy about their 0230 – 0430 shift. One last thing to warn you about – the EC Monitor is arguably the person who will be “pushing Texas” as much as the Dorm Chief. When trainees screw up EC procedures, the EC Monitor will be the one to take the heat. As the weeks press on, this becomes excruciating to watch. More on that in a bit.
EC Procedures and Protocols
There are two ECs on duty at all times, and they work a two-hour shift. ECs are required to wear full uniform at all times, including the hat (even though it’s indoors), the canteen web belt, and they are required to carry their trainer weapon as long as it’s still in their possession (versus when you return from BEAST and check it back in). During the night shift, they must also carry a flashlight. If the EC duty is right before PT, those ECs are allowed to wear the PT uniform. ECs are maintained 24/7. The only time you won’t have an EC on duty is when everyone is at a mandatory class or training. That being said, whoever’s on EC duty may miss certain classes or events. Your student leaders, MTIs, or EC Monitor may hand-select people to be on EC during non-desirable time slots or during more interesting activities as a form of punishment, so treat those people well. No one likes those late-night shifts, especially when you’re already sleep-deprived, but know that everyone will have to do it at some point or another. If makes staying awake in class even more difficult than normal.
ECs are responsible for security, accountability, and conservation of utilities. They control access into and out of the dorm and should be the only ones touching the front door. ECs are not allowed to do anything while they’re on duty, aside from their essential tasks or reading EC materials (a list of questions that everyone must be able to answer about EC duty). If an EC is not at the front door or doing a walk-through in the dorm, they are positioned at the EC stand, which is located in the main hallway. The stand must be kept free of miscellaneous items, except for the EC log, the flashlight (if during night time), and the EC binder. Normally the EC material is posted nearby on the wall, for your reference. Beginning at 3WOT, you’re allowed to read your BMTSG instead of the EC material, in preparation for your EOC (End of Course) exam.
There are procedures for allowing someone into the dorm, which are posted on the wall on or near the front door. While everyone will have the script memorized eventually, you’re not supposed to memorize them. You’re supposed to read off the list, verbatim. It helps to point to the words as you read them, so you’re not accused by an MTI of having the script memorized. The script is as follows:
Sir/Ma’am, may I help you?
May I see your authority to enter?
White common access card, Trainee So-and-So, verifying.
Trainee So-and-So, verified [after scanning the Dormitory Access Roster].
Reading special instructions:
Checking for members of the opposite sex and/or officers.
[Door is opened unless one of the above situations is present.]
That’s a pretty straight-forward entry example. It’s never that easy unless it’s a fellow trainee coming in and no one is around to watch you screw up. If a member of the opposite sex is about to enter (normally an MTI), the EC will verify that everyone is dressed and yell, “GENTLEMAN/LADY ENTERING THE DORM!” This must be yelled prior to them coming into the dorm, not after they’ve stepped over the threshold. Do not be the moron that makes the mistake of yelling this when there’s already a member of that gender in your dorm – if so, prepare to push. If an officer is about to enter your dorm, you must call the dorm to attention. If there are multiple officers in the dorm, you call attention for a higher ranking officer only. For example, if you have a 2nd Lieutenant in the dorm that you’ve already called the dorm to attention for, you’d call everyone to attention again if a Captain comes in, but not the reverse.
MTIs will try to break you of your military bearing when you’re on EC duty. They’ll try to convince you that they need to come in NOW! Regardless of what they tell you, how mean they are, how urgent things seem, you mustnot break from the script/procedures. It’s easier said than done, as you’ll soon find out. Don’t mess anything up either, or else your EC monitor will start pushing as soon as that MTI gets into the dorm.
Another way MTIs can enter the dorm is if they have a Dormitory or Squadron Access Badge, which are color-coded and numbered. Be cautious of fake access badges, and make sure that you verify each access badge against the Dormitory Access Roster.
Lastly, your MTIs might have a key to the dorm. If you notice an MTI of the opposite gender is about to key into the dorm, be sure to yell “gentleman/lady entering the dorm” if there isn’t an MTI of that gender in there already.
Entry Access List
Nearby the door is a copy of the EAL, which is a roster of the trainees currently assigned to the flight. It is normally located within a clear plastic sleeve that is stuck to the wall, for easy removal in case of emergencies. The EAL is updated regularly, as trainees move and in out of your flight. The board will also have a list of MTIs who are authorized to be in the dorm. Regardless of whether you know the individual by sight at the dorm, you must verify their CAC card (military ID card), at least through 4WOT. After that time, you’re allowed to cite “personal recognition.”
ECS is responsible for accountability in the dorm. The box is located near the front door – an intercom between CQ and the dorm. The box may be turned on by the MTI on CQ duty at any time, and it allows them to monitor the noise in the dorm. They can hear all if they engage the intercom, so be mindful of what you say when near the box. ECS must be mindful of the box at all times, as CQ may call to give them a message to be relayed or ask them a question. After duty hours, CQ calls down on the hour for accountability. They’ll want to know how many trainees are assigned to the flight, how many are accounted for, how many weapons are assigned, how many weapons are accounted for, and what the current temperature is in the dorm (there is a thermostat nearby). If an emergency arises, the ECS will use the box to alert the MTI on CQ. When answering the box, the ECS ask:
Sir/Ma’am, Entry Controller, Dorm #, may I help you?
The MTIs on CQ tend to get bored, impatient, or both, so the ECS can expect to put up with a lot of grief from the MTI on CQ. They may attempt to intimidate or break the ECs of their military bearing. The box will go off throughout the night, so trainees in beds close to the front door will hear the noise while they’re trying to sleep.
ECs have to be well-versed in emergency procedures. BMT conducts three different types of emergency drills, including a bomb drill, a fire drill, and a gas drill. During the final few weeks of training, you’ll be tested on these procedures, with points being given and taken away depending on if you follow it to the letter. During drills, the EC will yell out the type of drill so that everyone in the dorm can hear it (“FIRE FIRE FIRE!” “BOMB BOMB BOMB!” “GAS GAS GAS!”). No one will speak another word, they will drop everything (or take their security tray with them) and calmly/quickly walk out the exits (either the front door or the fire escape). The EC will grab the dormitory access roster and walk through each room in the door, ensuring that everyone has gotten out safely. Everyone will walk in a single file line to the pre-designated meeting spot. I didn’t mind a good drill – we actually got to go outside, sometimes without our ABU tops, and without hats. During the hot San Antonio summer, it was refreshing.
One of the other responsibilities of the ECs is conservation. They have to verify that the faucets are turned off and that lights in the latrine are turned off if no one is inside using them. At lights out, the ECs must also turn off the lights and shut the Day Room door. The Day Room door has a sensor on it, which alerts CQ if it is opened after lights out. Do I need to tell you that trainees are not allowed in the Day Room after lights out? Yeah, you get the idea. They want trainees away from that TV, the couches, and the civilian luggage closet. ECs must also monitor the window on the front door, closing it when trainees are showering or changing, after lights out, and when the dorm is unoccupied during the day. To leave it open when people are in a state of undress is a big no-no.
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!