Advice for 2021 from a Current Cadet

Hoodlum15

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Mar 27, 2016
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278
Most of you have your appointments by now and are getting excited (nervous?) for BCT. Here are a few tips and things I wish I'd known going in.

Undergarment Colors
I obsessed over bringing the right stuff and not bringing too much or too little and following the directions to a tee, etc. They will not check your undergarments. I repeat, THEY DO NOT CHECK. They don't care what length your spandex are or whether your boxers are white or black. I don't recommend bringing crazy colors, and sports bras should be white (see through shirts) but other than that don't worry about it.

Packing
Try to pack light. You don't need much. I recommend bringing bandaids for blisters. 3-in-1 will also be huge when you only have 2 minutes to shower. If you forget anything you'll have a chance to shop within the first week or so.

Boots
I did not bring boots and regretted it. They will not take your boots away and having lighter boots than the issued ones will be a blessing when you're running and doing flutter kicks. It might be a little more hectic on Iday but that's minimal compared to the 6 weeks of basic.

Relax
Yes basic will be stressful. It'll be tiring. It'll suck. But there are some really cool, funny, awesome moments. Take advantage of those and try to create them when you can. Take basic seriously but don't take yourself seriously. Try to relax and get the most out of the experience. It'll go faster than you expect.
 

Hoodlum15

Member
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Mar 27, 2016
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278
A couple other things I remembered:

Tailor Measurements
I remember freaking out about getting perfect measurements because I wanted my clothes to fit. In reality, they only use the measurements to guesstimate the sizes they need and then their tailor shop completely re-measures you.

Boots Contd.
When you do go to the boot warehouse, take the time to make sure they fit. You won't think you'd be so dumb as to take ill-fitting boots, but you will. Ignore the huffy people and make sure you get what's right, you'll regret it if you don't. Additionally, when getting dress shoes remember you're trying them on wearing much thicker socks than you'll normally wear with them. A lot of us forgot that and ended up with too big of dress shoes.

Random
A couple random tips. Buy an extra ABUs belt when they let you shop, it will get wet in Jack's Valley and you'll appreciate having a dry one. Make sure you know you SSN - not really sure why you wouldn't but some people don't. Make sure you try on the validation tests. Some people will tell you to sleep through them but if there is even an inkling of a chance that you can pass take advantage of it.
 
Last edited:

tex2021

Proud parent of USAFA C/O 2021
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Apr 14, 2016
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365
Tailor Measurements
I remember freaking out about getting perfect measurements because I wanted my clothes to fit. In reality, they only use the measurements to guesstimate the sizes they need and then their tailor shop completely re-measures you.
This is good to know. We will follow the instructions and get this done ourselves. What do you suggest DS do during measurement at BCT ?
 

Hoodlum15

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Mar 27, 2016
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278
This is good to know. We will follow the instructions and get this done ourselves. What do you suggest DS do during measurement at BCT ?
Honestly the tailor ladies are whirlwinds during basic as they get a 1000 basics fitted for clothes. There's a chance things like pants won't fit great, but he can always go back after basic and the tailors will spend more time fitting him. Ultimately, he's the one that has to deal with his clothes, so that's the time to be obstinate and try on 6 different pairs of pants to make sure they fix.
 

pa_ptmom

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Apr 6, 2017
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Honestly the tailor ladies are whirlwinds during basic as they get a 1000 basics fitted for clothes. There's a chance things like pants won't fit great, but he can always go back after basic and the tailors will spend more time fitting him. Ultimately, he's the one that has to deal with his clothes, so that's the time to be obstinate and try on 6 different pairs of pants to make sure they fix.
Thanks for taking the time to share! Will be sure to print/share with DS. What are validation tests ?
 

Hoodlum15

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Mar 27, 2016
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278
Thanks for taking the time to share! Will be sure to print/share with DS. What are validation tests ?
Sure! I know how big of a help this forum was to me last year. Your DS will take several tests during basic, calculus, chemistry, physics, and maybe a few others, and if they do well enough they can earn validation credit and place into a higher class or completely skip taking that class come fall.
 

DeVakhan

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Joined
Dec 3, 2015
Messages
21
Most of you have your appointments by now and are getting excited (nervous?) for BCT. Here are a few tips and things I wish I'd known going in.
Boots
I did not bring boots and regretted it. They will not take your boots away and having lighter boots than the issued ones will be a blessing when you're running and doing flutter kicks. It might be a little more hectic on Iday but that's minimal compared to the 6 weeks of basic.
What brand/type of boots do you recommend? Nike.. etc? What about the boots they give you, do you just hold on to them?
 

Hoodlum15

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Mar 27, 2016
Messages
278
What brand/type of boots do you recommend? Nike.. etc? What about the boots they give you, do you just hold on to them?
I really like my Nikes because they are really light, but a lot of people don't like them because they don't hold up as well as other boots and they're not water proof. If you got them you would definitely want to use your basic boots during 2nd beast when you have the chance of getting wet. A lot of people really like rocky's and danners, too. I'd probably recommend one of those as a better boot for basic.

Having extra boots is always good in case the other pair gets damaged, wet, etc, and that's the function the basic boots can serve.
 

raimius

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Jun 9, 2006
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Yeah, a little secret...The cadre at the issue warehouse don't really care that much. Chill out a little and get stuff that fits correctly! Equipment issue isn't a test. Try stuff on, make sure it fits, then move on.
 

USAFA10s

USAFA Class of 2012 Kirtland, AFB
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Nov 18, 2007
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570
Make sure you try on the validation tests. Some people will tell you to sleep through them but if there is even an inkling of a chance that you can pass take advantage of it.
I would take this one step further and if you had good high school (or AP/IB) chemistry, math, physics, calculus or computer science, brush up a bit before basic. Validating those classes will allow you to either take a lighter load or add a language or other minor/major. Definitely worth it to try.
 

benton23

USAFA '21
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Oct 27, 2016
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Are we allowed to bring items that aren't on the portal's "To-Bring Checklist?" I'm thinking things like compression shorts/spandex, a hairbrush and hair ties (not on the list for whatever reason...), etc. Just want to check before I pack this type of stuff, just for it to get taken away!
 

Wishful

"Land of the free, because of the brave..."
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Dec 12, 2012
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Speaking as a parent, don't see the items listed as being a problem, If they're taken away, they are. Just don't bring vitamins; DD had them taken away because they "created an unfair advantage".
 

Hoodlum15

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Mar 27, 2016
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278
Are we allowed to bring items that aren't on the portal's "To-Bring Checklist?" I'm thinking things like compression shorts/spandex, a hairbrush and hair ties (not on the list for whatever reason...), etc. Just want to check before I pack this type of stuff, just for it to get taken away!
Oh yeah, you should definitely be fine with that type of stuff. Stay within the packing list and necessities, but they definitely won't take away what you need for your basic daily care/hygeine/comfort.
 

ejeffress

New Member
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Mar 19, 2017
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You stated that we would be able to shop during the first week of BCT. How are we paying? Do we bring money there? I opened a USAA account for the monthly payments; do we use this account?
 

KTMDad

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Oct 24, 2014
Messages
175
You stated that we would be able to shop during the first week of BCT. How are we paying? Do we bring money there? I opened a USAA account for the monthly payments; do we use this account?
You should bring some cash but also a debit/credit card.
 

FalconsRock

Parent
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Mar 2, 2015
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You stated that we would be able to shop during the first week of BCT. How are we paying? Do we bring money there? I opened a USAA account for the monthly payments; do we use this account?
1+KTM - bring a little cash (100 or so), although I don't even think you need that much. USAFA will be keeping a tab on what you spend and it will be deducted from your pay. These things include haircuts, tailoring, socks and such. All big ticket items, like uniforms, boots, camelbaks, backpacks, PT gear including athletic shoes and your computer when you finish BCT will be given to you in advance and you will pay some of it back every paycheck. USAFA will supply you with everything you need clothing wise. Some of the items purchased during BCT are irons, ironing boards and cleaning supplies. That is where your debit/credit card will come in handy, so make sure you have some money in your account before you leave for BCT. Not much longer to wait til your adventure begins. Good luck.
 

Hodge

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Sep 1, 2014
Messages
83
Make sure you have cash or credit/debit because very early in BCT you will be visiting the C-store to pick up required items. Later in BCT you will also be shopping at the C-Store and you'll need it again for that
 
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