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Surviving Air Force Basic Training

Things to Tell Your Family

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Before you depart for your great adventure in Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT), there are some things you should tell your family. Let's face it. Mommy's little boy or girl is leaving home to join the big, bad Air Force, and they're going to worry.

Family Emergencies. You can't receive phone calls during basic training. You can't receive them even if there is a family emergency. Emergencies must first be certified through the American Red Cross. Before you leave home, tell your family that if an emergency arises (a real emergency, such as a death or serious illness in the immediate family) they should contact you through the Red Cross. Your family should know your full name, your social security number, and your flight address. If they haven't received your address yet, don't worry about it. As long as the Red Cross knows you're in AFBMT, they'll find you.

Mail Call. Within a week or so of arriving, you'll be sending a "pre-printed" postcard home that has your flight address on it. You'll only be sending one of these to one person, so make sure that person knows how to get a hold of all your other friend and family members with the information. Tell them that you will not have much time to write home during basic. In fact, I would be surprised if you can find the time to send more than one or two very short letters home. However, make sure your friends and family know that it's very important that they write you as often as they can. Basic training can be a lonely, stressful time, and a cheerful letter from home can be just the thing to pick up a lonely airman's spirit, and make them want to go on.

Make sure they know not to send you any gifts or "care packages" during basic training. That'll just involve you getting yelled at by your T.I., and it will then be thrown away (if parishable), or put away in the storage area until you graduate from basic, if its not parishable (either way, you'll get chewed out, and maybe even have to do several push-ups). Also, keep in mind that the T.I. hands out mail to everyone at the same time, during evening "mail call," and they have a very bad habit of reading anything in "public view," so it's not a good idea to write "funny" or "cute" messages on the outside of envelopes, nor is it a good idea to send post cards, unless you want everyone in your flight to hear it.

Phone Calls. Make sure your family and friends understand the AFBMT phone call policies, and not to worry about how scared you sound during that very first phone call you'll be allowed to make.

Graduation. Finally, tell them that they will receive an invitation to your AFBMT graduation, along with all the details they will need to know, during your sixth or seventh week of basic. I strongly recommend they make plans to attend, if possible, as it is an experience they (and you) will never forget.

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