BMT: Duties and Details, Part 1

It’s high time I described some of the possible duties you could be assigned at BMT.  After Dust Down each day, you’ll go to your assigned detail area where you’ll clean it to inspection perfection standards.  Your MTI will select who does these jobs, and may sometimes ask for volunteers.  My MTI questioned us initially, to figure out what our strengths were.  Trainees who were artistic in nature, or good at visually eyeballing something got stuck with alignment.  Regardless of what is chosen for you, suck it up and do it to the best of your abilities.  Excellence in all we do, even if you don’t want to do it.  You will be resented by your fellow trainees and won’t earn any points in the eyes of your MTI if you shirk your responsibilities or fail an inspection because you didn’t do your job properly.  It is possible to get “fired” from your detail if you can’t perform it to standard, and you’ll most likely be assigned to something less desirable of your MTI’s choosing.  If you do your job well, take initiative/be proactive, you can be recognized for your hard work.  Our MTI gave one trainee an additional phone call because she recognized one of the lights was out and went and got a replacement without being prompted.

I’ll present the different details/duties in a few different posts, that way this post isn’t insanely long.

Bed Aligners
Three to four trainees in your flight will be bed aligners.  Bed alignment is one of the priority details, as so many other details depend on the beds being done first, such as shoe alignment.  Our bed aligners frequently stayed behind in the dorm behind the rest of the flight or went first at chow, so they could complete their detail first.  Beds and bunks move with the slightest tap, so your bed aligners are an easy group to piss off if you mess up the beds.  Be kind, don’t bump the beds! 

Dorms have both bunk beds and single beds, with more bunk beds than singles.  I think our bay (two bays to each dorm) had approximately 7 single beds with the remaining 19 or so being bunk beds.  The single beds are closest to the front of the bays and the flight office, with the bunks in the back.  The bed aligners in our flight used long 2 by 4 pieces of wood to measure the distances between beds, as well as kite string to ensure that they were in line with each other across the aisles.  A 3′ piece of wood was used to measure the required 3′ that the first single bed had to be from the wall.  Each additional bed and bunk had to be 4′ apart, so we had 4′ pieces of wood for that.  Bunks and beds had to be aligned with each other across the aisle, so they were perfectly straight.  Our MTI brought bright pink kite string and our bed aligners would stretch it across the aisle, align the two furthest posts and kick the other two beds until all four posts were in line.  This process is repeated all the way down the line. 

Shoe/Chair Aligners
We had two trainees for shoe and chair alignment.  They used two longboards (spanning the length of a bunk/bed) and had to do all of the chairs and shoes in the entire dorm.  While the bed aligners were doing their thing, they’d be pushing the boards up against the wall lockers and moving the chairs up against them so they line up with the edge of the wall locker.  Once the beds are aligned, they use the same boards to align the shoes.  Each bed is numbered and has an “inspection side.”  If you’re laying down (looking up at the ceiling) with your head on the pillow, the inspection side is to your right.  Your shoes are lined up so that they are flush with the edge of the bed.  The board is held up against the bedposts and the shoes are lined up so that the toes touch the board.  Shoes are lined up so that the first pair is furthest to the left.  The order of the shoes is remembered by the rhyme, “Loose, Tight, Shiny, Wet, White.”  When all of the shoes are there, you’ll have a pair of loosely laced combat boots, tightly laced combat boots, your low quarters (oxfords worn with blues), your shower shoes (black flip flops), and your running shoes.  When in place, the heels are touching and each pair is right up against the next, touching at the balls of the feet.  Our MTI used to tell us that it wasn’t a parking garage – you’ll never have an “empty” spot in the line-up.  Shoe alignment is similar to bed alignment – it doesn’t take much to throw it all off, and trainees can very easily knock shoes out of place.  Don’t make more work for your poor shoe aligners, try to be respectful of their work and stay out of their way.

End of Bed Display
The last detail that involves working in everyone else’s personal areas is the End of Bed Display trainees.  We had two trainees that were assigned to this task.  The EOB display consists of your towel and your laundry bag.  These trainees will align the towel, to make sure the laundry mark is visible and properly displayed, and that the edges are aligned and flush with each other.  The towel is positioned on the footboard (nearest to the wall locker), all the way to the left, so that it’s touching that left bedpost.  The right side is where your laundry bag will hang.  It’s a small cotton bag with a white drawstring at the top and a zipper along the bottom.  The drawstring top is wrapped and tied around the footboard.  The EOB trainees will ensure this knot is tight and that the strings hang straight down (and don’t cross over each other).  Laundry bags are not allowed to stay stuffed during the day, and if you’re inspected you’ll take a hit for this.  Many trainees try to get away with hiding clean laundry in their laundry bags, so they don’t have to fold/roll it.  You’ll do this to a certain extent, but you can’t have it overloaded.  Each laundry bag is required to have a certain number of mesh bags in it (you’ll buy these at the mini-mall and put your laundry mark on them) at all times, two, and you’ll have four total.  You’re also required to have two bundled-up white kitchen trash bags in there as well, for placing wet laundry or mesh bags in.  Your MTI will set you up with these trash bags, or you’ll buy more at the mini-mall.  I don’t believe our EOB trainees examined the inside of our laundry bags to verify if these items were there.  Lastly, the EOB trainees examined the towel and laundry bag for any loose strings, trimmed them, and lint rolled both items.