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BMT adapts during COVID-19: adds masks, shortens pipeline

By 37th Training Wing Public Affairs | 37th Training Wing Public Affairs | April 9, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

To prioritize safety and continue providing ready Airmen to fuel tomorrow’s Air Force, Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is moving to a 7.5-week training pipeline.

There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges that require adaptability and the 7.5-week training program is one of many measures implemented at BMT to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

More than 1,400 trainees became Airmen at BMT graduation April 9, with a total of 30 flights graduating. Fourteen flights are graduating at their 8.5-week mark, alongside 16 flights graduating in 7.5 weeks.

Graduating both classes in the same week creates additional space on the BMT campus and lessens the number of total trainees present at a time, allowing the BMT team to further implement health and safety measures. 

A variety of approaches are being used to shorten the training length, such as decreasing time spent on certain drill and ceremony items (i.e. parade).

To prioritize safety, BMT is transitioning from large-classroom settings to smaller-classroom settings, when applicable, which also saves on transit time. Another change is streamlining the uniform issue process, which not only saves trainees’ time but minimizes strain on mission partners during this time.

BMT leadership team is also working to procure face masks to provide to staff and trainees. In the meantime, BMT is using CDC guidelines for staff and trainees to fashion their own cloth face covering. 

As previously announced, the Gateway Wing will now receive a reduced amount of new trainees, approximately 460 to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland each week.

This week, 60 trainees shipped to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to complete a BMT proof of concept. All new trainees will continue to be placed into a 14-day Restriction of Movement, or ROM, as an added safety measure. ROM is included as part of the 7.5 week BMT pipeline. 

Throughout Air Force history, the duration of the pipeline has adapted to the needs of the nation. This environment is no different. BMT is adjusting curriculum to ensure flexibility as CDC health guidance develops. Regardless of the challenges faced or number of training days that make up the pipeline, the mission remains the same: to create ready and lethal Airmen who fuel the Air and Space Force.  

For the most up to date information and to watch BMT graduation live, please visit the USAF Basic Military Training (https://www.facebook.com/USAFBMT/) and 37th Training Wing (https://www.facebook.com/37thTrainingWing/) Facebook pages.