Failing Out of BCT

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by nmdad, Jul 13, 2014.

  1. nmdad

    nmdad Member

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    How possible is it to fail out of BCT at USAFA? Cadre have been telling basic cadets that "at this rate no one from this flight is going to make it through BCT." I'm thinking that this is just a poor example of tactics used by cadre to motivate their basic cadets. Some cadets from other squadrons have never heard this. I know that there have been plenty to leave on their own. However, I was just curious on what the percentage is of cadets that "fail" BCT. I'd appreciate getting some honest feedback from folks that have been through this. I can't stop thinking about the old movie Officer and a Gentleman when Louis Gossett Jr (Foley) keeps asking Richard Gere (Zach) "I want your DOR!" LOL Thanks
     
  2. martinjj

    martinjj Member

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    What Squadron

    NMDAD - what squadron? Just curious as my son is in BCT also.
     
  3. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    It's not common....at all. Some quit, some are medical turnbacks but almost nobody fails. Let the cadre do their jobs and it will all work out by the end of BCT.
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I can't speak directly to BCT at AF Academy but based on DS's experience at USMC OCS this summer, hearing statements like that is part of the training. It's meant to up the stress levels to get them accustomed to it and see if they can handle it while being resilient. DS likes to imitate the instructors he worked under. The most common thing he heard is "Scream FAIL, candidate!". They're set up to fail at something every day so they learn to bounce back. I wouldn't read too much into what you're hearing.
     
  5. USAFretired1996

    USAFretired1996 Member

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    My ’16 son is a Soaring IP so he is not working BCT. I don’t know how factual this is but he said that one of his friends who is Cadre for the flight that will eventually be in his squadron lost 5 Basics already. He didn’t have any specifics as to why they left so it could be a combination of reasons as Aglages indicated.
     
  6. melindayching

    melindayching Member

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    My cadet was cadre for 1st BCT and i have talked to her several times during the past 3 weeks and yes, you can fail out of BCT if you have a bad attitude, if you don't try really hard to support your squadron mates and you are physically (which usually means mentally) unable to withstand the physical demands.
    Cadre are not all the same and each tries to get the best performance out of each basic differently. These are cadets who are learning as they are doing, under supervision by the permanent party. So as a previous poster, said, let them do their job. Without going into specifics, my kid and i have had long discussions about leadership, shaping attitudes and eliciting the best from people. Please be assured the cadre are working hard to get it right. A normal day for cadre is 3:30 a.m. to 2 hours past when the basics go to bed. They care about these basics and about the job they do.
    And yes, basics have to earn the right to stay. As parents it's hard for us to understand since we think our kids are so great and wonderful to have earned an appointment to USAFA, but now it's different. Best of luck to your basic and to you.
     
  7. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    First: I am NOT not working daily at USAFA. I am an ALO. With that being said, "failing out of BCT is NOT common at all; but it does happen, rarely." The most common reasons for leaving during BCT that I've seen (again, this is just my experience) are that the cadet has been injured such that they will miss too much of BCT or that they have decided USAFA is NOT what they want and they ask to resign for personal reasons.

    The academy is not quick to toss cadets out; they've got a lot invested in them even at this early stage.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  8. aglages

    aglages Parent

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    I'd agree with half of this. Just my personal observation but it seems to me that while USAFA is reluctant to lose cadets during BCT, after BCT they have been very willing to let cadets go. Perhaps it's the effects of sequestration or an attempt to reduce the cadet wing to the mandated 4000, but during the last few years it seems as though it often doesn't take much for a cadet to be shown the door.
     
  9. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    My son was also cadre for first BCT. He had 2 leave and both were medical. I don't believe they 'fail' basics but some realize it just isn't what they wanted. There have been a lot dismissed by USAFA during the year, particularly 2 years ago when they were trying to get the wing under 4000. A 1.99 GPA was enough. BCT is only the first challenge for these men and women, there are many later both at USAFA and after. Many will succeed and some will not, but that doesn't mean they failed, it's just this isn't right for them. I'm sure they will all be successful in their life.


    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  10. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Actually, I don't think it has much to do with sequestration or an "attempt" to reach 4000...the law was written with USAFA/USNA/USMA leveled at 4,417. However...in recent years "they" did want to get to 4,000.
    That being said; and here's where the "old grad, when dinosaurs roamed the terrazzo, attitude hits..." the honor code has been very LOOSELY applied (IMPO) over the last 10+ years...in my day...you violated the code, you were GONE unless there was a VERY compelling reason to keep you. And we all agreed that was the way it should be. Today...it's not that way; well, it hasn't been. But...the pendulum is swinging back; as is the academic pendulum. This happens every 5-7 years...it is cyclical and if it falls upon you, it seems very unfair and personal. It's a fact of life.
    Conduct failure, academic failure (and I sat at the end of the table during an academic dismissal board where I was spared in 1980) and honor failure...I'll be harsh here: I have no problem with a cadet being separated for these. Other than that...again, in my experience, USAFA will try very hard to keep cadets.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  11. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I disagree. If they don't make it, through any fault of their own they have failed. I'm not talking about kids who leave because they realize it's not what they want, or kids who have medical issues. But some people just fail at it too. True it may also not be a good fit for them. Some succeed and some fail. Failing doesn't make them bad people. Failing doesn't mean they won't be successful in life. You can fail at something (like being a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy) without being a failure at life.

    Let's not lessen success but ignoring folks DO fail.

    I would not be the person I am today without the failures I have, myself, experienced.
     
  12. Sooner Julie

    Sooner Julie Member

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    Failing BCT

    nmdad,
    My DS is a Basic Cadet class of 2018. In his first four letters home he said he will never quit, be he may be sent home. I have continually encouraged him in letters and told him that if he is really trying he will not be sent home. I have been told if they have 8 days of failure, they may be separated (sent home). The letter I received today was the first letter that did not mention failing or being sent home. I think it's rare, but does happen-my uneducated guess would be attitude issues.
     
  13. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Keep encouraging him. BCT I was a challenge for my DS as well. He recieved EI (Extra Instruction) on marching from a C1C until he got it right. He is now cadre for BCT II as a C1C.

    BCT II will be more exciting/fun for the most part. Relying on teammates gets easier and then the academic year offers new and different challenges. Life gets much better after Recognition.

    Best wishes to your DS and your family. :thumb::thumb:
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    LITS; excellent post. I think there's too many people today with the attitude that "Everyone must get a trophy". School kids can't play kickball at recess and keep score because bleeding hearts are afraid if someone loses, fails, doesn't win, doesn't succeed, etc. it will "Warp their fragile little mind". There is absolutely nothing wrong with failing; assuming you give it your all. The problem with "Everyone gets a trophy" is it demotivates individuals from doing their best if they don't want to. But if an individual gives a valiant effort at the academy and it doesn't work out for them, it doesn't mean the rest of their life is relegated to digging ditches or directing traffic in an orange vest in a construction zone.

    You're mistaken. It's not "8 days of failure". There's no such thing. But there is a condition at the academy whereby if you miss 8 or more days of BCT, they can send you home. e.g. you break your arm/leg and miss 8 or more days of BCT. Get really sick and miss more than 8 days. But there's no real such thing as "8 days of failure".

    You have to understand..... One of the goals of BCT is to MAKE THE INDIVIDUAL FAIL!!! That is the only way you can MAKE THE TEAM SUCCEED. How do you take 1000 individuals from 50 states, numerous countries, numerous territories, different skin color, different gender, different morals and values, different backgrounds, etc... and get them to work as a team???

    BCT is part of the "Cycle of Military Life". Breaking the individual.... Builds the team up..... Building the team up........ Builds up the individual....... Individuals who have been built up strengthen the team....... and in turn, the team accomplishes the mission and trains their replacements to continue on with the process in the future. It doesn't always make sense until you can look back at it from the future.
     
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  15. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Well, I don't know if there is "nothing wrong" with failing (unless the goal was wrong). I think what people forget is that failure is not always catastrophic. Edison failed to make an incandescent light bulb quite a few times before succeeding. The important thing was that he learned from his failures and improved until he found something that worked.
     
  16. ryokogirl

    ryokogirl New Member

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    It is certainly possible to fail out of BCT. It is rare though, and the more common route is to be placed on aptitude probation coming into freshman year. This is for the Basics with the absolute poorest of performances, or attitudes. Being placed on aptitude probation is not a removal from USAFA, but it will make doolie year a nightmare. You come into you academic squadron with a reputation, and as with any other place, reputations are hard to break once they are formed.
     
  17. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt's arena speech:

    "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. "
     
  18. Bruce111

    Bruce111 Member

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    Thank you Blackbird! I will pass that on.
     
  19. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    And keep in mind, as parents receiving letters that you are going through ups and downs with them, delayed and filtered.

    Delayed because mail isn't immediate.

    Filtered because your kid is going to talk about what he wants you to know. On a hard day it may be able how much he hates it. On a good day it may be able how patriotic he feels. If it's a good day, and then right before he writes something discouraging happens, he may focus on that, forgetting to pass on the good parts.

    It's up and down, for a summer and then a year.

    I had a chance to read my letters to my parents, last year.... so that is about 11 years removed. Boy was I all over the place. Some days I said I was doing great. Some days I was really down (and I know I didn't write how down I was sometimes).

    What you can be confident is, feeling bad and good, up and down, confident and freaked out..... they're all normal. Each day will feel long for them, but the weeks seem to fly by... and while their perception of time is all over the place, for you, it will feel like an eternity.

    The best thing you can do is encourage them, remind them that, no matter what, you will always love them, and (when they do call) let them vent.... just let them tell you whatever they want.... and then encourage them some more, and remind them of your love, NOT MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. Unconditional love is less pressure than pride. "We're proud of you" is great, until the kid things he'll let you down. Love your kid, sink or swim, reminds him or her that there is something bigger than this moment in time (something that can be very helpful to remember in stressful times).

    Those are my opinions... now 12 years removed from Swab Summer, TRYING to put myself back in my old ugly running shoes and smell gym cloths in New London, CT.
     
  20. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    +100 :thumb:
     

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