Basic Training for Air Force in the U.S.: All You Need to Know

Being an Airman can be an admirable as well as rewarding career. However, it does not go without saying that it will require great discipline before you even begin your training. The basic training for Air Force in the U.S. is notoriously grueling, with the hardest part of it being the many obstacles during the intense weeks.

Basic Training for Air Force in the US
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For almost eight weeks, you will undergo demanding courses that will prepare you to become a full-fledged Airman. They will take all your determination and fortitude to get through them all. But before you pack your bags and sign up for it, you can learn more insights about basic training for Air Force in the U.S. below.

Where is Basic Training for Air Force?

Air Force Basic Training in Texas
Photo: Courtesy of Express News

The Air Force basic training location is in San Antonio, Texas. Called Lackland Air Force Base, it is the only training base the Air Force has. It was named after Brigadier General Frank Dorwin Lackland, a general during World War II.

This base for Air Force basic training in Texas is one of the Air Force’s major bases, sitting less than two miles from downtown San Antonio. Together with two other bases, Fort Sam Houston and Randolph, this location has constituted Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) since October 2010. Nonetheless, they are separate military installations that happen to be located on the same site.

Interestingly, this Air Force basic training base is often dubbed as the “Gateway to the Air Force” due to its function as the home of the entry processing station for prospective Airmen. All applicants, whether they are signing up to join the Active Duty Air Force, Air Force Reserve, or Air National Guard, will complete their training here.

Lackland Air Force Base has nearly 200 family housing estates spread across eight neighborhoods in a variety of options:

  • Private housing
  • Unaccompanied housing
  • Community housing
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Upon arrival, all trainees should report to the housing office to receive counseling and guidance before entering into a written lease or rental/sale contract for housing. They will also be required to report to their Commander’s Support Staff (CSS) for sign-in. Thereafter, they will receive a schedule of in-processing appointments.

How Long is Air Force Basic Training?

Overall, basic training in the Air Force lasts eight weeks. The journey of the trainees begins as soon as they step off the bus where they will be directed to a squadron with an instructor who will guide them throughout the training.

The first week of training will be the week where you find out what the following weeks will look like as you become an Airman. Basically, you will learn about life in the Air Force.

The second week involves a ton of history classes about your branch of the military. By the third week, you will start to get accustomed to the yelling of the instructors. Also, you will begin to develop your leadership skills. You will still be in many classes learning details about the life of an Airman. Be sure to pay attention because tests are waiting for you.

You will go into depth in the middle of your basic training on specific careers. By week five you will be involved in team-building exercises and mental preparation to cope with the stress that commonly arises when you face various threats during combats.

In week six, also dubbed the most intense week of basic training, you will test your knowledge and move on to a physical evaluation. You can expect more training in field exercises in week seven.

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Your graduation is on the horizon in the final week. Your friends and family will be watching you as you celebrate your achievement with the Airman’s Run and graduation ceremony.

Air Force Basic Training Requirements

While the process of joining basic training is fairly simple, the Air Force maintains high standards. The good news is that most of these are things within your control. Meeting the following criteria will keep you in your training:

  • Be between 17 and 39 years of age
  • Maintain weight and height within an acceptable range
  • Be in good health
  • Have earned a high school diploma or GED
  • Be allowed to have an eye refraction level no worse than + or – 8.0
  • Not be in possession of tattoos, brands, or piercings that are prejudicial to good
  • Be an American citizen or legal permanent resident with a valid Green Card
  • conduct and discipline
  • Not be under the use of drugs
  • Have no criminal record
  • Achieve an overall Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score of at least 31 or 50 for GED holders

How Hard is Air Force Basic Training?

Photo: Courtesy of Joint Base San Antonio

One question that generally pops up in the minds of those individuals interested in joining the Air Force would be this: Is Air Force basic training hard?

As with most things in life, there will be many factors that shape your journey when you enter Air Force training. They could be your background and goals for the future.

That being said, how tough the training is going to be is somewhat subjective and situational. At the end of the day, much of it will depend on you. Yes, it will be difficult as there are things to learn that require not only physical endurance but intelligence. In fact, a lot of memorization will be required during basic training, including military ranks and regulations for a sentry.

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Being out of shape is unthinkable; as such, you will have to put in extra hard work to meet the passing standards for physical fitness. While you will not fail basic training by being weak and flabby, staying out of shape will take you a long time until you can eventually go to tech school.

In a nutshell, basic military training can be seen as a physically and mentally rigorous program. However, those things that make things hard for you will eventually be worth it. After all, they are meant to help prepare you to be ready for your next training. For this reason, knowing how to survive your basic Air Force training is all the more important.

What’s Next?

There are many things you can do to get ready for a basic training for Air Force in the U.S. For example, start running a few miles every day to build up your cardio endurance. You can also study the history of the branch you have chosen to go into to enhance your knowledge. Most importantly, brace yourself mentally to sharpen your mind to handle the many tests that will come your way.

If you are an active-duty member and are currently looking for scholarships to support you through your college years, check out the wonderful opportunities offered by the Army ROTC.

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