It’s been more than a month since Martin left for Air Force basic military training. His flight begins Week Five, which is much different than what my fifth week of basic training was back in 2000.
Back then, my Week Five was all about the Warrior Week field exercise experience.
During the day, we attended briefings in tents or out in the field, talking about chemical warfare and terrorism. There were references to Osama Bin Laden, and how it was believed he was somehow responsible for the Khobar Tower bombings in 1996 that killed 19 Airmen, as well as other Middle East attacks.
Yet, that was all before the USS Cole attack. Before Sept. 11, 2001. Therefore, a lot of the things I learned and experienced during Warrior Week were tinged with some Cold War/Desert Storm-era type lessons, and the harrowing stories relayed to us were from those who were on scene during the Oklahoma City bombing (which happened not far from Tinker Air Force Base) or who were deployed to Saudia Arabia when Khobar Tower was hit.
The rest of Warrior Week was spent sleeping in a tent city, pulling late night guard duty, fighting off an attack on the last day using defensive/offensive tactics learned earlier that week, and eating MREs (meals-ready-to-eat) for every meal.
Needless to say, it was a bit different when seven years later, I was actually, you know, out in the field over there.
But there at Warrior Week during my fifth week, all the lessons learned in the weeks earlier came together and at the end of it, my whole flight was presented with our Airman’s Coin, which was also a new thing at that time. We were lined up at attention along the side of a warehouse while the commander came down and gave it to us one-by-one, calling us “Airman” for the first time, and wishing us luck as we were graduating the next week.
Martin’s Week Five experience, though, is a lot more low-key.
He still has a few more weeks to complete before he graduates and gets his own Airman Coin. This week, his flight will be gearing up for next week’s BEAST (Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training).
So it’s going to be more classes. More warrior skills instruction. More inspections.
More Air Force awesomeness.
In the online group made up of other family members from Martin’s flight, I shared one of my BMT memories that ended up being posted again on the AF WingMom’s public Facebook page.
Here it is for you to enjoy, too:
The folded bras remind me of a time when I was going through BMT. During our first inspection, our TI — SSgt. Martinez — was going through the drawers one by one. He stopped at one of the beds, looked at the drawer pulled out ready for inspection, and said, “Where are your bras?”
The trainee — a very tall, slim girl — stood at attention and said, “Sir, Trainee J reports, I don’t have any, sir!” Without missing a beat, SSgt. Martinez asked, “Did they get lost in the laundry? Why don’t you have any?”
And the trainee goes, “Sir, I don’t have boobs, sir!”
Let me tell you … it took EVERYTHING for the rest of us not to start laughing. But he just rolled with it, and said something about she needed to get at least one next trip to the BX so she could pass inspection or something. So he moves on to the next few drawers, no problem. THEN, he comes to Trainee K.
Now, Trainee K was a trip. She was so goofy and clumsy, and bless her heart, talked with a lisp. She was standing at attention, ready for inspection. SSgt. Martinez got to her drawer, started looking at everything, and then paused and asked, “What the hell are these spots?”
Trainee K: “Sir, Trainee K reports as ordered, what spots sir?”
SSgt. Martinez: “These yellow spots here on your underwear. What the hell are these?”
Trainee K paused, and then lisped, “Sir, those are glow-in-the-dark spots on my underwear, sir!”
OMG — that sent us over the edge. We LOST it. SSgt Martinez just dropped his clipboard, held his hands up as if saying, “I can’t … I can’t …” and walked into his office and slammed the door. Inspections resumed about 15 minutes later.