You’ve enlisted and the big day is here! You’re finally leaving for BMT at Lackland Air Force Base!
My experience may differ from yours, as an older trainee and a reservist. I drove myself and my wingman to the airport, where we boarded our plane. Our flight had one stop in Houston, and then into San Antonio. My recruiter didn’t check up on me during the journey, and I wasn’t required to call her. I’m a fairly savvy military traveler, so I knew to stop into the USO in Houston so we could get a meal and relax before the you-know-what hit the fan. You could definitely tell who was heading to BMT by the time we got to our gate. Lots of antsy-looking travelers were packing light.
Arriving in San Antonio was somewhat of a blur. We went down to the baggage claim, where signs direct you to a table and MTIs check you in. We were directed to stand in rows off to the side, while we waited for more trainees to show up. I got yelled at fairly quickly, as I said something to my wingman and was warned not to talk.
All of the females were put on a bus fairly quickly, and luckily no MTIs joined us on the bus. The bus driver didn’t bother us or try to restrict us, so we were able to text and use our cell phones for the duration of the trip, which is about 30 minutes. Most of us made quick calls/tweets/texts/FB updates and gabbed with each other. I had made arrangements to meet up with others, recognizable by a red bracelet (or hair tie), so we hit it off right away.
Your first stop is the reception center, where you’ll get off the bus and go through some basic in-processing. You’ll be ushered into a room where you’ll hand over the packet your recruiter gave you. You’ll also be issued a few items (parka, liner, BMTSG, etc) and do a foot scan to determine what sort of shoes you’ll need for PT. You will also be fed a box lunch here, which you’ll have to eat in a few minutes. Funny story – the box lunch contains Oreo cookies, but they’ll be removed so you won’t get them. I don’t remember everything they made us do here, but it was pretty painless. Don’t think everything’s ok at this point because the yelling hasn’t started yet.
I’m assuming we went back on the bus, as we had to be dropped off at our squadron next. Trainees typically arrive at the squadron fairly late in the evening, so you won’t see anyone else and you’ll be rushed up the stairs to your dorm by your MTI or the MTI of your gender who has volunteered to “welcome” you that night. You may also be joined by “Airmen” who’ll be yelling at you as well, and assisting the MTI – these helpers aren’t Airmen. They’re regular trainees, just like you, but further along in their training.