Basic Training Instructors and Inspections

Air Force boot camp march instructor.

Gathering for Instructor Time

Every night (usually right after mail call) is instructor time. During this time, the drill instructor gathers everybody into the day room to go over information you need to learn and usually give you an overview of the next day's events.

During the first couple of weeks of basic training, communication during instructor time is one-way — in other words, the instructor talks, and the recruits listen. Gradually, this meeting changes to a session where questions and comments are permitted from the students.

Warning: At the very beginning of basic training, you'll learn to hate instructor time, because it seems to be set up so that the drill instructor is doing nothing except keeping you from much needed sleep. However, as weeks go on and you're allowed to make comments and ask questions, you'll start to look forward to instructor time, and it will become a period where you can pick up information that is beneficial to your basic training experience.

Tip: Listen closely during instructor time, because the instructor will often drop hints about important information you should know concerning the next day's events. For example, if the instructor says, "I want everyone to get a very good night's sleep tonight," that's not just your instructor being polite. (Basic training instructors are never polite when talking to recruits.) What the instructor's comments really mean is that tomorrow will be a very rough day.

Surviving Inspections

Basic training inspections are a way of life. Some inspections will be formal and graded, usually conducted by a commissioned officer or someone else high in the chain of command. These inspections are generally pass/fail, andfailing them is a good way to get sent back in basic training time.

Inspections by your drill instructor will be less formal, but will happen almost daily, and consequences of messing up are usually immediate (a chewing out or intense physical training, such as doing push-ups until youcan't feel your arms anymore!).

There will come a time when you and your teammates begin to think that you are smarter than your instructor, and you've discovered an easier way to do things. Don't count on it.

From Basic Training for Dummies, copyright © 2011 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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