How does BCT compare to enlisted basic training?

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by xray328, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. xray328

    xray328 Member

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    Not sure if anyone really knows since I'm assuming not many people have actually done both. My DS's mom and I were both enlisted, just wondering how BCT compares to what we went through. I was trying to tell him the things he'd experience but I wasn't sure how much was still relevant or relevant at all. I know the upperclassmen run BCT, but is the experience anywhere near the same? Thanks!
     
  2. USAFA83GradWife

    USAFA83GradWife Member

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    My DD actually had this discussion with a prior in her squadron. His response was, "Physically about the same; but it's way more mentally challenging here."
     
  3. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I would agree with that statement.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
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  4. AFrpaso

    AFrpaso USAFA '17

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    I have done both. I think BMT was more mentally challenging while BCT was more physically challenging (but that is probably because I'd had the mental shock experience already).

    There is a lot that is the same but also a lot that is different. BCT doesn't have EC, bays full of beds, latrine queens or lightning fast meal times. These were things that really defined BMT for me. Having just one roommate and 4-5 cadre (instead of 1-2 MTIs) increased that disparity. You still live meal to meal and sunday to sunday though.

    You can't opt out of BMT just because you don't like it. You see flights graduate every week and it is torture.

    You can leave the Academy. I guess that itch in the back of your mind telling you to it's not worth it was a little more tough to deal with mentally, but nothing compared to the mental stress of BMT.

    Perhaps I can send you a private message when I have more time.
     
  5. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    Probably the biggest dynamic difference is that instead of 50 people answering to one or two MTIs, 30 basics answer to 6-7 cadre. The cadet cadre vary in quality and ability a bit more than the average MTI (it's a training program for them too!). That said, by having multiple cadets involved, if one isn't the greatest, another will step up.

    The dorm room versus bay is another big difference.

    MTIs can play mind games like few people I've ever seen. So, I'd say BMT was probably more mental, and USAFA slightly more physically challenging.

    (Based on my experience as a USAFA basic, cadet job shadowing at BMT for 6 weeks, and as cadet cadre.)
     
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  6. CadCandMateus

    CadCandMateus Recent Grad

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    I did the cadet job shadowing/participating in BMT as well and BMT definitely has more of that mental aspect that makes it much more of a challenge in my opinion. You also have to remember that BCT has a different mission/mindset than enlisted BMT. One is to train/prepare you to be a successful cadet for the next 4 years while the other is to send you off to a no crap active duty station in about 8.5 weeks assuming you do everything right (and not get recycled/washed back). BCT has the physical challenge due to elevation as well as the PFT/AFT all done at altitude.

    They are just... different.
     
  7. xray328

    xray328 Member

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    Thank you everyone, good info!
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    While I've never really discussed this with individuals who were prior enlisted, one of the biggest Mental challenge "Differences" I've concluded is the TYPE of leadership. Some say it's easier; some say more difficult.

    In enlisted BMT, your average age is 17-19, but your MTI's are TRULY ADULTS. Many are E-5 - E-7's who are usually in their late 20's to 30's. You're use to taking "orders" from adults. Parents, teachers, coaches, etc. At the academy, while the age of the incoming cadet is also 17-19, the cadre running BCT, and pretty much the academy as a whole, is about the same age. Maybe 1-2 years older than you are.

    For some, this can be difficult to accept. For others, the whole place stresses them no matter who the person yelling at them is. So asking what the difference is, only really means anything if you have already been to BMT as an enlisted airman. In that case, the mental side of BCT training and having someone probably younger than you, trying to exert their authority and trying to train you to do something you already know, is probably the most challenging. Hopefully, being most prior enlisted go to the prep school first, their able to get this mental attitude adjustment taken care of with a much smaller class size and older instructors at the prep school. Then, when they come to the hill, their able to "Play along" better. That's one reason I think the prep school is such a good thing for prior enlisted. Even if they've been taking a lot of college classes and are academically prepared to jump right into academy academics. They have to get their mind readjusted to accept the role of basic trainee again instead of looking at the cadre and in the back of their mind saying: "Shut up KID, I've already been here".
     
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