The following behaviors (or vocabulary words) are BMT No-Nos. The sooner you remove them from your everyday behaviors (or language), the better you’ll fare. Keep it up and you’ll be sure to get blasted verbally, put on your face, or have a 341 pulled. 20-20-20, anyone? [I promise, I’ll explain those disciplinary actions further in a future “MTI Tools” post.]
“OK” – The word “okay” is not acceptable at BMT. Use the word “acceptable” as a replacement. This makes for amusing conversations when the word “acceptable” is used in an inappropriate context. Our MTI asked how one of our females was holding up one day – she answered, “I’m acceptable, sir.”
“Ladies,” “Girls,” “Women,” etc. – Any other word other than “females” is a no-no. You can imagine how difficult of a habit this was to break as a leader when I’m trying to organize and delegate. If you’re offended by being referred to as a “female,” get over it. They don’t care. If you are referring to your sister flight, the phrase “sister flight” is acceptable.
“Boys,” “guys,” “men,” etc. – Same concept as above. The word is “males.” If you are referring to your brother flight, the phrase “brother flight” is acceptable.
“T.I.” – If you refer to your Military Training Instructor as a “T.I.,” you’ll be reminded that they are not rappers. Don’t forget the “M” in MTI. “Sergeant” – Until you’re in the operational Air Force (as in, graduated from tech school already), you will always refer to a superior by their entire title. I made the mistake of referring to someone as “Sergeant” when I wasn’t sure of his rank and I was promptly corrected. “Tech Sergeant” – Same concept as above. Always pronounce the full and complete title – “Technical Sergeant.”
Smiling – Your MTI will probably tell you that they don’t smile – ever. I’m very much a smiley person, so it was hard to make that transition. Part of military bearing is showing no emotion, regardless of what is said. Work on your poker face.
Showing emotions – Along with the smiling and the poker face mentioned above, you need to reign in your emotions as well. Motivation is one thing – I’m primarily talking about sadness, disappointment, and other emotional breakdowns. No smiles, no smirking, no hint of sass in your face or attitude in your voice. This is extremely difficult if you’re an expressive person, as I am. I learned during zero weeks that if I didn’t get that in check, my life was going to be extremely difficult. It’s really easy to break down when you’re exhausted and stressed out, but you must keep it together at all costs. If you mess up, you can’t let it show in your face.
Touching your face – Don’t get caught picking at your face, resting your face in your hands, etc. I mentioned the rationale for this one in the sanitation post.
Drinking coffee, soda, smoking, etc. – Any of these habits? Are you addicted to caffeine or nicotine? Kick those now, as you’re about to go 8.5 weeks without them! You may resume them in tech school, but prep yourself for cold turkey now.
Chewing gum – Yet another no-no! You’ll find gum in the MREs later on in your training. Don’t you dare chew it!
Needing privacy – There is no privacy at BMT, get used to it. You’re going to see everyone naked, you’re going shower in close proximity to everyone else, you’ll talk to other flight members while you poop, you’ll change in front of everyone while holding a conversation with them, you’ll comment on each other’s body hair, and so on. You don’t have time to be self-conscious, so start getting over it now. I once had a conversation with two other trainees – at least one of us was naked while another was on the pot. We embraced the moment and our friendship. 🙂
Sleeping in silence/pitch dark – Hey friends, not an option! There are going to be 50 other people in your flight, who may or may not be making noise while you’re trying to fall asleep. They’ll have flashlights on, they’ll be working in their areas after dark, the trainees on EC (Entry Control) will be talking, etc. It won’t be too big of an issue, as you’ll be so exhausted you’ll fall asleep quickly.
That’s all for now! You may see “No-Nos: Part 2” in the future, depending on what comes back to me! Mind your Ps and Qs, trainees!