This weekend was my first Air Guard drill weekend (I enlisted November 27), and my first Student Flight! Going in, I had no idea what to expect, but I made it through (it wasn't bad at all) and learned a few lessons because of it.
If you're unfamiliar with the Air National Guard, once a month they have a UTA (Uniform Training Assembly) a.k.a. "drill weekend" where everyone is expected to come out and serve two workdays out in their unit. For me, my AFSC (job) is Personnel, so I am expected to go work two full days out in the Personnel office, performing whatever duties they need me to get done. Each unit has several full-time staff (either AGR or Technicians) and they are also there on these weekends.
Since I haven't gone through Basic Military Training (BMT) or Tech School yet, drill weekends are optional. Since Daniel's out at the base, I figured I may as well go in, too—plus, I get paid to be there—so it's a total win/win.
For those of us who have enlisted but haven't been through training, they have a program called Student Flight, which is intended to help prepare new airmen for BMT. Student Flight, in my opinion, is awesome. You sit in a classroom and receive instruction from several different people, and occasionally there are also BIT's (people who are on a "break in training" between BMT and Tech School) there who have recently gotten back from Basic Training and are there to answer any and all questions you may have. These Airmen are like gold because Basic is so fresh in their minds—so if you have a BIT who is willing to answer questions, give them all you've got!
Over the past two days, I learned all about rank, pay grades, insignias, how to sit at attention and say the basic reporting statement, how to roll t-shirts, roll socks, fold towels, make a bed, march in formation, said "Sir" and "Ma'am" more times than I could count, and did push-up after push-up. My favorite part of Student Flight was the physical training, and next month we are expected to take the full PT test with the 1.5 mile run, push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups. We didn't have a chance to do the PT test this time, due to the fact that Boise dumped several inches of snow on us this weekend, so instead we squatted and lunged our way through a P90X workout—which I still loved!
If you're in the Air Guard and are going to be going to Student Flight, here are a couple pointers:
- Wear comfortable clothing! You will be doing push-ups and flutter kicks throughout the day in whatever you wear, so make sure you can move in it. I recommend (though it's not the most attractive combination, in my opinion) athletic shoes, jeans (without holes!), a plain crew-neck t-shirt, and a belt to tuck it in. Typically, Student Flight will assign you with a t-shirt, but in the off chance that they don't have any on hand, make sure you're in a t-shirt that you can do push-ups in.
- Females need to wear their hair up, and men need to be clean-shaven and with a neat, short haircut. They're not a fan of shaggy 'do's.
- As far as PT gear goes, bring a t-shirt, shorts or pants (or capris for the women), your workout shoes (most people in my Student Flight wore their PT shoes all day) and extra cold-weather gear if you're going outside in the winter.
- Bring a notebook with paper for notes and a blue or black pen.
As far as additional pointers, even though this isn't BMT yet, they want to get you ready for it so they will yell at you. They will make you do push-ups if you don't give the reporting statement correctly or back-talk the instructors—or for absolutely no reason whatsoever. They will test you and push you and challenge you—because they want you to be absolutely READY when you leave for Basic Training. Trust me, take the time while in Student Flight to learn and soak it all in. It's so much better to make a mistake right there where you can be corrected versus at BMT where an MTI (Military Training Instructor) will rip you to shreds.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience this weekend at Student Flight. I learned so much and even made some new friends! I'm looking forward to next month (and probably several more after that) that I will be attending before I leave for Basic. I don't have dates quite yet, but I know it could be anytime between March (if I'm lucky) and August... so we'll see as it comes.
Thanks for all your support in this new venture. It's such an honor to be able to serve our country with the Air National Guard!
See my other Air National Guard Student Flight experiences here: UTA 1 │ UTA 2 │ UTA 3 │ UTA 4 │ UTA 5