Yes, you read that title correctly, privileges! BMT isn’t all about punishment, pushing Texas, and being berated by intimidating individuals. Like anything else, the sooner you adapt to the system, give them what they want to see, the sooner your MTI team will relax and you’ll feel you like can breathe again. Don’t resist the process, believe in the system. The longer you fight it, the more difficult your life will be.
So, how can you earn privileges?
Perform well as a flight on clothing/drawer inspections.
Perform well as a flight on non-duty inspections.
Have a 100% passing rate on your PT tests.
Demonstrate flight-wide motivation and excellence when put to the test.
Demonstrate personal motivation and excellence, putting service before self.
Notice that I mentioned doing well as a flight? You could be an exceptional trainee, and while that is recognized every now and then, they want to see the flight succeed as a whole. Pitch in and make sure that your wingmen are on top of their stuff. You need to keep each other motivated and encourage each other every step of the way.
What kind of privileges are there?
Extra or Extended Phone Calls – There were times as a Dorm Chief when my MTI asked me and my element leaders who stood out that week, in terms of making personal sacrifices, surpassing expectations, and showing personal growth. These folks got an additional 15-minute phone call that week. In instances when our entire flight performed well, my MTI gave all of us a longer phone call that week, beyond the standard 15 minutes.
Dessert– Our MTI made a bet and challenged us when we went to the obstacle course. If less than twenty-five trainees fell in the water, we would be allowed to get dessert at dinner that night. You can imagine our excitement, as Nutri-Grain Bars were as good as it got up until then. The DFAC has an array of desserts that you’ll drool over but never touch (unless you have a death wish). There’s cake, cheesecake, pies, and a soft-serve machine. I enjoyed every little bit of it! Just be prepared that if another MTI isn’t aware that you’ve been given the privilege by your MTI, you may be questioned during the process. For that reason, we had a number of trainees in my flight who passed on the opportunity.
Patio Breaks – Each squadron has a couple of patios, generally located outside of the laundry rooms. It’s a partially fenced off area that contains some benches, vending machines with soda and candy, and payphones. If given a patio break, you’ll get to access these “amenities,” for a specified amount of time. That’s the reason most folks suggest you bring a calling card or have some cash on you. We never ended up getting a patio break on my flight. Our MTI preferred to send us on-base liberty so that we got the chance to get out of the squadron area. Remember that the patio is not a free-for-all zone. Other MTIs can hear and see you in there, so act accordingly.
Base Liberty – The most coveted privilege of all, base liberty! I’m not talking about the base liberty that occurs during graduation weekend either. We received base liberty twice, during 7WOT, with one of the reasons being our 100% passing rate on the EOC. On base lib, you’ll be given a specified amount of time (ours were around 2 hours long) in which to transit to/from the squadron to the location of our choosing. It was very common for trainees to go to the mini-mall and enjoy the off-limits areas in there, such as the restaurants (like Subway, another Mexican chain, etc), as well as buy sweets and snacks from the mini-mall and eat them in the food court area. You’d better believe we gorged ourselves, in addition to buying and sharing bags of candy and ice cream. After not eating that way for seven weeks, you can imagine how our stomachs reacted! On our second opportunity for base lib, two wingmen and I went all the way to the main BX. We had to hustle, but it was worth the trip! This may not be possible for most squadrons, due to the location of the BX.
Your MTI’s Trust – Arguably the most important privilege you can earn. If your MTI trusts you, he’ll/she’ll treat you accordingly, and depart the squadron earlier than when you first started BMT. They’ll give your student leaders a schedule and you’ll be left to accomplish those tasks on your own, without your MTI hovering over you. As long as you can prove you can get the job done without immediate guidance or without issues, they’ll continue to give you this time to yourself.
Mentorship Opportunities – When you earn your MTI’s trust and respect, they’ll give you opportunities to mentor other, newer trainees. This may include sending a small team over to instruct 0WOT trainees on how to do their hair properly, sending student leaders over to other flights to provide them with guidance during those first few challenging weeks, or even better, assisting an MTI as pick up a new flight. What does that mean? You get to yell [Yell? Well, strongly encourage.] at a bunch of new trainees, fresh off the bus, who don’t know that you’re not an MTI. Awesome. I never got to do that, sadly, but some of my brother’s flight members got to!
As they say, with great sacrifice comes great reward, and the same is true at BMT. Push yourself to succeed, motivate those around you, and you may find yourself earning some privileges at BMT!