LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS –
Lackland Air Force Base's 737th Training Group recently hosted the 21st Triennial Basic Military Training Review. The committee's primary focus was to review training and curricular requirements for BMT and recommend further changes.
The last review, held in September 2004, produced the most drastic changes to the BMT curriculum in the history of the Air Force.
"Today's BMT graduate is no longer yesterday's Airman," said Col. Robert MacDonald, 737th TRG commander. "Without question, the 21st BMT review committee is certain that the continuity of today's training curriculum will assure America's Airmen will execute its primary mission to fly, fight and win, any time, any place."
This year's committee was chaired by Director of Airmen Development and Sustainment Brig. Gen. Floyd Carpenter. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney J. McKinley delivered the outbriefs concluding the review Aug. 10. The review also featured command chiefs from each of the major commands.
"These BMT reviews are critical to the Air Force's accession-level training and the early successes of our Airmen," Chief McKinley said. "Because of the importance of these reviews, we made sure the right mix of senior enlisted leaders and experts participated."
A large part of the three-day review was spent analyzing the changes implemented since the 2004 review. Among those changes was BMT's two-week expansion set for November 2008, which will include a new Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training, or BEAST, portion of encampment.
"The 2004 committee already implemented an emphasis on our warrior ethos and the BEAST training, and the 2004 review was outstanding," Chief McKinley said. "We aren't really adding much this year because we need to give those recommendations a chance to succeed before making any drastic changes. Many of our recommendations this year were designed to tweak the system."
One of the recommendations the committee made was for the Air Force to implement "E-mail for Life," starting with BMT trainees. The committee also wants to begin analyzing the benefits of implementing more technology during BMT.
"Basic training is absolutely outstanding," Chief McKinley said. "I went through it 33 years ago, but much of the technology we have today had not been introduced then. Today, we are an Air Force that is in touch 24 hours a day via e-mail and cell phones, and Airmen are required to do much more on computers. We need to be thinking about technologies we can introduce to our Airmen to help them be more productive right at the beginning of their Air Force career."
The review committee also considered health and fitness issues, which are a growing concern for all of the United States, not just the Air Force.
"If we help improve the physical fitness of people being recruited for basic training, we may improve their efficiency during basic training," Chief McKinley said. "By encouraging better diet and eating habits, we can increase the quality of life for all of our Airmen, not just those in basic training."
Chief McKinley seemed content with the committee's accomplishments.
"Lackland and the basic military training conducted here are the Gateway to the Air Force," Chief McKinley said. "There isn't a better way to finish the review than seeing Airmen graduate from basic training. Our Air Force, our nation and the families of these Airmen should be very proud because the Airmen that walked across those parade grounds are truly America's finest, and they will go out there and do great things."