Friday, May 6, 2011

Air Force Basic Training

I turned 21 in April and left for basic training in July. July in San Antonio TX is very hot. The base had flags and the color of the flag indicated what was allowed to be done outside. For instance, a red flag meant you could not march outside. Too hot. Our Training Instructor was a female, we were her first flight (what we were called, had nothing to do with flying). Poor thing ended up getting sick towards the end of training and having a mini breakdown. Kind of reminds me of the movie Stripes. I remember her name, and it's been a while, but you don't forget some people.

I'm gonna backtrack just a little, to just before I left for Basic Training. I went to get a haircut. I don't know what possessed me, but I ended up with very short hair on one side of my head and the other was like a chin length bob. I looked ridiculous and this was just before I was to leave.

In the dining facility at basic training you'd get your three waters (that you had to drink before eating), and then your food. On your way to your table (which you had to stand by your chair at, until everyone was there before you could sit) you passed a long table of TIs or Training Instructors. They are like Drill Instructors are in the Marines. Every day as I passed them they would stop me. They'd say, "Airman, who cut your hair?" "Was your barber on drugs?" They had these thick southern accents, try to imagine in your head.

I worked KP or Kitchen Patrol once, don't know why they called it Patrol. We basically went and washed all these huge pans etc... that they'd used earlier to cook dinner in. It actually turned out to be kind of fun, because once we finished we got ice cream. This is a big deal, because basic training sucks. Why does it suck? It sucks because you're away from home for the first time, it's hot, you have to be up at 4:30 in the morning, gulp down your food, then go to military classes all day in hot rooms. If you fell asleep you got yelled at. You were surrounded by at least forty other girls (not women) and some of them were little you know whats. It was kind of like high school, some girls were popular and some weren't. With my hair--guess which one I was. The best part about basic training was the obstacle course. Everyone had to pass it to graduate and to me, it was fun. Worse part of basic training, training on the M-16. Once they trained you, you had to shoot and pass. So many shots had to make it into a small area. It was a long dirty, hot, tireing day. I failed. If it had been a movie you'd have laughed, I'm walking back with my gun, I'm miserable and then I find out that I still have to clean the thing. I almost cried. By the time I retired, I was two shots short of marksman.

We had a male instructor too. The door of the building was locked and so there was a schedule showing who had Door Duty. When the male instructor wanted in, before you let him in you were supposed to yell, "Gentleman in the room!" One evening he came and showed his badge (also required) and I opened the door. He stepped in, then stepped out, then stepped in, then stepped out. I just looked at him like WTF? So he yells, "Gentleman in the room!". I looked sheepish and then I yelled, "Gentleman in the room!" I learned later that both instructors though I'd end up getting recycled which means being held back another week. Ha! I didn't, so there.

I made it through basic training and went on to Technical School in Mississippi.

I'll skip Tech school, nothing interesting there. Please, feel free to leave comments or questions.

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