Ladies and gentlemen, those of you who follow my work know that one of the major disappointments that I had whilst attending Air Force basic training was the lack of cadence runs, the weakness of our physical training program, and the lack of emphasis on firing weapons. Though there were times I was mentally stressed out during the training, there was never a time I felt physically stressed.
In my honest opinion, our PT program was a joke. It’s no wonder that the other branches call us the Chair Force. Go on Youtube and watch the Marines arriving at boot, then watch how the Air Force greets us. It’s pretty embarrassing by comparison.
However, according to a new article in the Air Force Times, it appears that at least some of that may change. In the piece there is talk of adding more PT sessions to boot camp, along with the possibility of a full weapons program. Yes! My only regret is that I can’t do boot again to experience the new and improved program. At 41 years old, sporting multiple injuries, I doubt I could get back in there. LOL.
When I went through basic in 1997 the training was about 6 weeks long. Recently, it appears to have gone up to 7.5 weeks, and now they are jacking it up to 8.5 weeks. PT sessions will be bumped up from 31 to 44, and I sure hope that they add some formation cadence group runs to that increase. The Air Force wants Airmen to identify with the branch the way that Marines identify with the Corps. Once a Marine, always a Marine. That motto is embedded deep into the fabric of every United States Marine.
Hell, I know more about the Marine Corps values than I do about the Air Force from my time as a Marine Corps poolie. They put way more emphasis on memorizing the general orders, their way of life and thinking, the mission, and we sang a ton of songs while running and marching. And all this was before I even deployed for basic training, you can read more about how I ended up in the Air Force here!
During Air Force boot camp, I can name only one instance when Senior Airman Bridgman did a super short marching cadence. For the most part is was just “Hut, 2, 3, 4, hut, 2, 3, 4.” Replace that monotonous nonsense with some songs about loving the Air force, do the same with the runs, and then tell me if it doesn’t stick!
If you want to instill the same kind of pride that comes from being a jarhead, the Air Force better start to embrace those formation runs and start singing those pride building cadence songs! Trust me, that’s the way to do it! Do that, and they will forever be associated with our runs, and that’s a major part of how you do it. Trust me!