The Air Force Shortens Recruitment Training, Shifts to a New Base in the Middle of the Pandemic | Instant News


Basic Military Training in San Antonio-Lackland Joint Base, Texas, will be reduced by one week to 7 7/2-week curriculum while leaders adjust the program amid a new coronavirus outbreak, officials announced Tuesday.

This step will help protect new candidates, as well as “Military Training Instructors, other active duty members, civilians and contractors who support the mission,” the Air Education and Training Command (AETC) said in a news release.

Officials are also working to reschedule recruitment access into BMTs to filter trainees better through pipes when increasing social distance is a must, according to the release.

Last month, AETC announced that a graduation event that is suspended by a deferred family to keep visitors from the base. Since then, graduations have been broadcast live on video pages and social media.

Related: Soldiers Will Stop Taking New Recruits in Basic Training for 2 Weeks

Officials announce the latest graduation update schedule. The perfect time for the graduation ceremony will be posted this week, at the USAF Basic Military Training Facebook page:

  • April 9: Flights 257 to 286
  • April 16: From 320 Training Squadrons (TRS), Flights 287 to 302
  • April 23: From TRS 323, Flights 303 to 318
  • April 30: From 331 TRS, Flights 333 to 348
  • May 7: From 324 TRS, Flights 349 to 362
  • May 14: From 737 Training Support Squadrons, Flights 363 to 376

The changes follow BMT’s leadership decision to start using Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, as a alternative site for basic training.

The “proof of concept” trial began Tuesday, with 60 new recruits sent to Keesler, while 400 remain in Lackland, AETC spokeswoman Jennifer Gonzalez recently told Military.com

Overall class size has been cut to 460 due to social distance requirements; previously, groups of 650 to 800 prospective pilots would arrive in Lackland every week.

By using Keesler, instructors and leaders have eliminated “the secondary need to transport BMT graduates to advanced technical training locations while meeting COVID-19 requirements,” Gonzalez said.

“Keesler is home to the 81st Training Wing, where members train, develop and inspire key warriors in training for more than 160 specialized career training courses, in addition to eight operating locations on the continental United States,” he said.

A trainee scheduled for those fields will already be in place, he explained. “By limiting the need to send trainees from BMT to technical training, we limit the possibility of COVID-19 exposure.”

AETC said the new process will remain in effect for the next 180 days, but it was not intended to be a long-term option.

“We will use Keesler during the current global pandemic demanding we do it or until we receive direction from the Air Force Department,” Gonzalez said in an email.

The change rearranges BMT to its length a few years ago. In 2018, BMT expanded to add an extra week to the curriculum in an effort to align more closely with Defense Minister Jim Mattis’s focus on increasing readiness and death, and to guide the next generation of leaders.

– Oriana Pawlyk can be contacted at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @ Oriana0214.

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