Story by Dan Hawkins, Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

After listening to feedback from the field, a few changes to the Air Force Basic Military Training curriculum will transform trainees into more combat-ready Airmen.

The 737th Training Group revamped U.S. Air Force basic military training to inspire and develop MACH-21 Airmen. In order to achieve this goal, BMT curriculum changes improve all aspects of training across an 8.5-week program that focuses on readiness, lethality, airmanship, fitness and warrior ethos. U.S. Air Force video // Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos

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The changes, which began Sept. 4, 2018, are entirely focused on readiness and lethality, airmanship, fitness and warrior ethos.

“The future of BMT focuses on creating disciplined, warrior-Airmen who are ready to support our joint partners in conflicts around the globe,” said Col. Jason Corrothers, former 737th Training Group and BMT commander who spearheaded the modifications. “These changes to refine the basic training experience are about increasing our readiness and lethality while simultaneously instilling airmanship and core values from the very beginning.”

Restoring readiness is one of the Air Force’s top priorities. The changes address readiness through a revamped expeditionary skills and weapons training curriculum, said Lt. Col. Jose Surita, 326th Training Squadron commander, who has overseen the development of the revamped curriculum.

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Air Force Basic Military Training trainees work to complete an obstacle during the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training, a weeklong training simulation at Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT). The BEAST is where trainees get to put everything they've learned about combat skills into practice in a simulated environment. U.S. Air Force photo // Bennie J. Davis III

Basic Expeditionary Airmen Skills Training which previously took place in week five of training, is resequenced to the final training week as the culminating event of BMT. Air Force recruits will also experience a beefed up Self-Aid/Buddy Care regimen, called the Tactical Combat Casualty Course.

“We need highly trained and ready Airmen,” Surita said. “Readiness is the central theme across the BMT curriculum as we deliver trained and committed Airmen capable of delivering 21st century airpower.”

There is also an increased focus on weapons handling and familiarization, said Surita.

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Air Force Basic Military Training trainees prepare for a log climb and rope walk obstacle during the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training, a weeklong training simulation at Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT). The BEAST is where trainees get to put everything they've learned about combat skills into practice in a simulated environment. U.S. Air Force photo // Bennie J. Davis III

Airmen’s Week, which was focused on a values-based “Airmanship 100” curriculum, was taught the week after trainees completed basic training. Airmen’s Week lessons, which are not being changed, are now incorporated throughout 8.5 weeks of BMT.

This change gives end-to-end ownership of the training to the military training instructor corps, delivering a continuous immersion that accelerates “mind to heart” adoption of the Air Force core values and warrior ethos principles

“Our Airmen need to be technically capable, but they also need to be motivated,” said Master Sgt. Robert Kaufman, military training instructor. “Airmanship 100 lessons focus on their resilience and challenge recruits to commit to holding each other accountable to our core values.”

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An Air Force Basic Military Training trainee attacks a dummy during an obstacle during the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training, a weeklong training simulation at Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT). The BEAST is where trainees get to put everything they've learned about combat skills into practice in a simulated environment. With the modifications to BMT, the BEAST was moved from the fifth week of training, to the very end of BMT to make it the final event before graduation. U.S. Air Force photo // Bennie J. Davis III

With an emphasis on improving human performance, BMT will also see a bump up in the overall number of fitness sessions, increasing from 31 to 44 periods throughout training. Workouts will be a balanced mix of cardio, strength and interval training.

“Physical fitness is a critical component of readiness,” said Master Sgt. Andrea Jefferson, military training instructor. “By increasing the number of physical training sessions, we build fitness habits that will help recruits perform both in the military environment, and in their personal lives.”

BMT curriculum changes also includes a purpose built heritage program that introduces recruits to Air Force heroes, and weaves heritage and warrior ethos throughout training.

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An Air Force Basic Military Training Instructor watch an Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) graduation. Every enlisted Airman begins their Air Force career with 8.5 weeks of BMT. Challenged both mentally and physically, they get the skills and training you need to develop into Airmen, Wingmen and Warriors. U.S. Air Force photo // Bennie J. Davis III

“We will be introducing warrior identity, as well as Air Force history and heroes, every week throughout training,” said Master Sgt. Richard Bonsra, military training instructor. “Those topics will then be reinforced during all training events, such as naming physical training sessions after a fallen Airman to cement the experience.”

Future changes to how heritage and warrior ethos are ingrained into BMT will include naming obstacles on the “Creating Leaders, Airmen, Warriors” Course after Air Force heroes, said Bonsra.

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Air Force Basic Military Training Instructors train drill and ceremony movements at Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. U.S. Air Force photo // Bennie J. Davis III

“Over the last 70 years, we have become the most dominant Air Force the world has ever known, but there is no doubt we must be, and can be better in the future,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lee Hoover, 737th TRG superintendent, “The next generation of Airmen will take us there, so it’s critical we start them on the right foot. These changes ensure we move in that direction.”

Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, the 737th TRG is the Air Force’s largest training group, comprised of nine squadrons and more than 900 permanent-party personnel. BMT, with an average daily load of 7,000 trainees, graduated more than 37,314 Airmen in fiscal year 2017 and BMT instructors are postured to increase that number to more than 40,200 graduates in fiscal year 2019.