What is Air Force Basic Training Like? Is It Easy?

Air Force Basic Training Is Not Easy, Contrary To What Many May Think.

Every military branch has their stereotypes. The Army is the ground pounding grunts. The Marines are the brainless muscle, the Navy mops the decks, and the Air Force is the corporate pencil pushing geeks.

The thing about stereotypes is that they are only true to a very small extent but largely false altogether. Meaning, stereotypes are true enough to earn the generalization, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of examples for a stereotype to take hold.

Yes, the Air Force does arguably have the easiest basic training. But, that would be similar to saying that being burnt by fire isn’t as bad as being burnt by a branding iron. First of all that is a highly debatable opinion, and second of all they both would suck pretty bad.

That is the case when it comes to Air Force Basic Training. It is by far not a walk in the park and nothing that anyone ever would volunteer to experience again.

What Makes Air Force Basic Training so hard?

This is actually an easy question for me to answer. The Stress! Doing physical fitness every day is not the hard part. Learning how to march, do facing movements, or learn Air Force History isn’t the hard part. The hard part is the stress of doing all these things under extreme pressure and lack of sleep.

Boot Camp is 8 1/2 weeks long and the worst thing in the world would be to get recycled and have to be there any longer than you are scheduled to be. Getting recycled or washed back, means that you are not cuttin’ the mustard and you need more time to get your act together.

Everything you do in Basic comes with the risk of getting recycled, therefore you are constantly under pressure not to mess up. This constant pressure coupled with a lack of sleep and a very angry instructor makes for a situation where you are literally living in a constant state of stress. And this is precisely the purpose of basic training.

The ability to do simple tasks under pressure

How to prepare for Air Force Basic Training

Here are a few tips that will help you immensely in preparing for Basic Training.

  • Practice facing movements and drill movements. There is nothing worse than having a T.I. in your face yelling at you to perform a movement that you wouldn’t be able to perform in a perfectly comfortable setting.
  • Run. If you’re not running you are wrong! increasing your running ability will prevent you from getting shin splints from the sudden stress on your legs. It will also keep you from feeling like you are dying after your first lap around the track.
  • Do push ups and sit ups. If you go to basic already doing enough to graduate then this is one less thing to be stressed about. You won’t have to worry about getting recycled or kicked out. Instead you will be more focused on getting awards and recognition.
  • Study Air Force knowledge. You need to know the Ranks, The Airman’s Creed, Air Force history and more.
  • Learn your reporting statement. You would not believe how hard 6 simple words are to remember. The Training Instructors know you are going to mess it up, so they will purposely mess with you. practice this sentence , Sir/Ma’am trainee _____ reports as ordered! trust me you will thank me later.

What should I expect when I get to Lackland AFB?

Expect to be full of adrenaline and nervous. You will probably arrive late at night. I got to Basic at 1 am. You will be “greeted” by a group of very angry T.I’s who will begin to apply an insane amount of stress the moment you step off the bus. This stress will not go away until 8 and 1/2 weeks later. Welcome to Air Force Basic Training.

During your time at Lackland you will run, march, get yelled at, laugh, cry, study, and grow more than you have ever done in your life. It will be the most difficult experience of your life (for many people) but it will also be the most rewarding.

As the weeks progress and you graduate from week to week. your pride and confidence will grow exponentially. You will be able to tell which week a flight (a flight is the name of the group you are in) is in by their hair cut. When you reach the final week and you get to march around in your blues you will feel better than you have ever felt in your life. Your confidence will be bubbling over, and it should be because you have earned it.

I warn you though, do not get complacent. You have not yet graduated and you can still get recycled or even kicked out. I’ve seen it happen and I just thanked god it wasn’t happening to me.

You are not free from Basic Training until you arrive at Tech School. So don’t get cute, or you will demonstrate that you have not learned anything and will wind up staying behind to ensure you have received the proper additional training you need.

Your time at Lackland AFB will culminate in a graduation where you will march in a parade attended by friends, family and loved ones. You will no longer be referred to as a Trainee. You are now an Airman. You will be part of a new family, a fraternity of friends and associates that you can call your Wing man. People you may have never thought you would connect with will end up being your friend for life.

But this is not where it ends. This is merely the beginning. The beginning of a career, an adventure and a calling.


Welcome to the United States Air Force.

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