Most of us have been raised to believe that being unique and “special” is a good thing. Not so at BMT. At BMT, you’ll want to be a conformist.
Blending in with the crowd is a survival tactic for those at BMT trying to avoid the hawk eyes of the MTIs. The more you fit in, the less you’ll be harassed. It just makes life at BMT all the more enjoyable. Part of how you achieve this goal is through your uniform, which changes as you progress through the weeks of training.
0 Week When you first arrive, you’ll be in civilian clothes. You’ll stick out like a sore thumb and you’ll be an easy target. Other trainees will feel sorry for you and be glad they’re not in your shoes anymore. Get used to being referred to as “Sneaker Weekers,” as you’ll use the phrase eventually.
Even after you are issued your first uniforms, you’ll continue to wear sneakers with unbloused ABU trousers. We used to wear sneakers in the morning, and then after lunch, we were able to put on our boots and blouse our pants. After a few days, you’ll move on to wearing boots all the time.
Oh, I failed to mention – you’ll never roll your sleeves up in BMT, regardless of the weather. That won’t happen until you’re at tech school. You’ll continue to wear your civilian eyeglasses, which will make you recognizable as a newer trainee.
Week 3 Time to ditch those civilian glasses in favor of some BCGs (“Birth Control Glasses”)! Believe it or not, this is an exciting time, because now you’re beginning to look like you’ve been there for a little while, rather than being fresh off the bus. Sure, you’re not going to look particularly attractive, but neither is anyone else. Embrace the BCGs – they’re actually pretty comfortable and I still wear mine at home when my contacts aren’t in.
Week 4 Here we go, what you’ve been waiting for! In week four, you’ll finally get your name tapes! There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your last name on your chest. By quick glance, many won’t be able to distinguish you from more advanced trainees. Sneaker Weekers will look up to you. The downside is if you do mess up, MTIs will know you by name now, and they’ll know you’re fairly far along in your training, so you should know better. Enjoy it, but be careful.
Week 7 This is the one time you’ll want to stand out. Once week seven hits, you’re done with your physical training. You’ll spend a good chunk of the week in Dress Blues for the first time. You’ll walk prouder, and as a woman, feel feminine again. Other trainees will envy you since you’re almost done. You’ll also get to wear your “frame of choice” (a pair of government-issued, metal-framed glasses) instead of your BCGs.
Week 8 Wednesday night of the eighth week, you’ll don your squadron t-shirt with your PT gear, as the next day you’ll be doing the Airman’s Run. Once Friday hits, you’ll not only be in blues, but they’ll have rank sewed on them (if you’ve enlisted with rank), as well as your ribbons. You’ll have a minimum of two ribbons on your chest (the AF BMT ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal). When you ship to a tech school, your ABUs will have rank on them as well. On Saturday and Sunday, you’ll get to wear whatever Blues combination you like.