BMT: Military Bearing

I received a great question today from a reader who wanted me to explain military bearing.  Military bearing is a phrase I drop around here quite frequently but haven’t ever described it in detail.  Forgive me, readers, let me tell you more!

Military bearing in the operational Air Force boils down to professionalism and the way in which you conduct and compose yourself, especially while in uniform.  

photo BMT: Military Bearing

A fantastic phrase used to describe military bearing stressed “decorum and discipline.”  As a member of the United States Air Force, you serve as a representative of our great branch of service.  Whether you’re on duty or off, people will judge you based upon your behavior.  I’m not a total party pooper, but your reputation as an Airman is a precious thing, not to be tarnished.  Be mindful of your actions, as you never know when you’re being observed.

The military bearing will get hammered into you at BMT, where it takes a slightly different tone than the one presented above.  When you read “military bearing,” think “poker face.”  Military bearing is the ability to remain composed despite the circumstance – not showing any emotions (especially disappointment in yourself or fear), not reacting to sounds or commotion around you, and staying on point.  While marching, military bearing is staring straight ahead with a closed mouth/straight lips, etc.  Military bearing is standing at attention and not crying or shaking when an MTI is yelling at you.  Military bearing is professionalism and the lack of emotions in most instances.  You’ll gain military bearing just as the weeks pass since it takes a little getting used to if you’re a more emotional person.

photo Military Bearing

The sooner you solidify your military bearing, the better.  MTIs work at “breaking you down,” seeing if they can get you to crack while trying to hold your military bearing.  If they succeed, they will continue to hound you.  If they realize they can’t get to you, can’t upset you, then they’ll leave you alone (for the most part).  Developing military bearing while at BMT is a survival tactic – the sooner you start exercising self-discipline and discipline of emotions, the greater your chance of survival.

It’s going to be a challenge at first, but you will get through it and you’ll emerge a confident, self-assured Airman!  My husband always wondered how I’d do, since I cry fairly easily, but I was able to pull it off and let myself shine at BMT.  I only ended up crying once that I remember, but that’s a story for another day!  😉

BMT: Military Bearing


  • Elizabethsaid

    I didn't cry till week 4 when a blue cord started mooing at me while he made me do pushups for no reason, and talking shit about my mom and my relationship with her.Ass.

  • Unknownsaid

    Thanks for your advice. Reading your blogs really helps me calm down myself from freaking out about the yelling part since im not really use to being yelled at and i also cry easily. Leaving in less than 2 weeks.

  • Erinsaid

    @Unknown – You're very welcome! Crying is totally normal, especially under the stress and pressure. Try your hardest to let it out when you have some privacy, such as in the latrine, versus in front of an MTI. Best of luck to you! You got this!

  • Rebecca Piercesaid

    Just a quick question. I'm a mouth breather. I can breathe a little out of my nose but only if my body is at rest. Is this something I would constantly get yelled at about?

  • Erinsaid

    @Rebecca Pierce – Depends on how discreet you are, I would think. I would definitely try to only breath through your nose if an MTI is nearby yelling at you, or if you're doing an inspection and they're right in front of you.