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Surviving Air Force Basic Training

Inspections

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Surviving Air Force Basic Training

You'll spend a lot of time in AFBMT getting ready for inspections.

Official USAF Photo

During the first week of Air Force Basic Training, your T.I. will explain how to get ready for a dormitory inspection. Your dormitory must be kept spotlessly clean at all times, and you're area (bunk, locker, and drawers) will be inspected. In Air Force basic, everything has it's place (right down to an 8th of an inch). Your underwear must be in its place. Your uniforms must be hung in their designated place. Your shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc., must be clean and in their exact place.

A day or two after your T.I. explains the standards, you and your flight members will try very, very hard, and you will fail the first inspection miserably. Not to worry, though, you'll get another chance to please your T.I. later that same week when he or she does a follow-up inspection. You'll also get plenty of chances to get the dormitory inspection right throughout your entire stay. Some of these periodic inspections will be a "graded inspection," meaning that they count toward your final basic training grade, and honor graduate qualifications, and others will be just for practice, and for the T.I. to remind you of who's in charge.

Around week #3 or #4, you'll undergo the dreaded "Red Line Inspection." By this time, you'll have been inspected by your own T.I. several times, and you'll be feeling cocky. However, the "Red Line" inspection is graded, and it's performed by your T.I.'s "bosses." They cut no slack at all. Pretty much everyone will get some demerits during this inspection, no matter how well you think you're prepared. Some recruits are even recycled as a result of this inspection.

Tip. Don't even think of putting clean clothes in your laundry bag so that you don't have to display them for the inspection. The T.I.'s are well aware of this trick. In fact, sometimes these sneaky T.I.s will purposely allow recruits to get away with this during the first few weeks of basic, just so they think it works, then pounce during the Red Line Inspection, catching half the flight.

When I was in basic, we could never get our floors shiny enough to satisfy our T.I. We would buff it, and buff it, and buff it, but using the liquid wax we were required to use, it just wasn't possible. We weren't allowed to use paste wax, because it was a fire hazard or something. After we had been chewed out about the floor a dozen times or so, one of us bought a can of paste wax from the Troop Mall. We hid it behind a ceiling tile. The next time we waxed the floor we used the paste wax, and our T.I. was suddenly happy! We were all kind of scared because we had never seen him smile before.

We continued to use the paste wax throughout the remainder of basic training, kind of smug that we had gotten over on our T.I. On the day before graduation, our T.I. walked in, called us all to attention, then walked directly to our ceiling tile, poked it with his baton, and the wax fell down.

He calmly said, " I just wanted you guys to know that you weren't getting away with nothing that I didn't want you to get away with."

My friend, ANSK876, a member of our message forum, explains how her flight got ready for inspections:

The first one is a free inspection, which is not counted. Ours, fortunately, went pretty well. It's funny how the ups and downs are so fast. We will make our TI proud one moment, then screw up and tick him off the next. It's all about attention to detail. One minute speck of dust in the latrine can put a TI in state of fury. Everything's got to be grounded, flush, perfect. Try as best as you can, because it can be done. Strings pop out everywhere, especially after dry-cleaning, so make sure you inspect them meticulously. There are stan-team and honor flight inspections - make sure your stuff is straight.

Early on your flight will learn how to conduct "dust drills." It's pretty much dusting your dorm top to bottom with your hands and on your hands and knees. Good stuff. One of your flight members will yell out the commands, and the rest of the flight will echo the command as they do it. Echoing is something you learn to do really well and really often in BMT. On a side note, we actually don't sound off to the TIs unless we are specifically told to do so (on rare occasions) or reciting our motto or singing the Air Force song or something of that sort. But anyway, during dust drills you will hear commands like, "Top of your wall locker! Windowsill! Side of your wall locker! End posts! Bed rails! Vertical rails! Horizontal rails! Between your bed and your neighbor's bed! Beneath your bed and your neighbor's bed!" And so on until "Center aisle, center tile! Prepare for first sweep!" Then the sweeper comes down to collect all the dust and dirt and junk. I seriously don't know where all the huge dust bunnies come from throughout the day and night in San Antonio. They probably rig the dorms that way so they're harder to clean. Then it's off for a second exciting dust drill.

Your wall locker is kept a very specific way. We had things we did to make our delightful stay in BMT a little bit easier. Your left side of the wall locker holds your BDUs, field jacket and PC clothes among other things. We learned to keep 2 sets of BDUs untouched in our wall lockers. They would be dry cleaned, then we'd clip all the strings, remove the drycleaning stickers and properly place the uniform on a serviceable hanger. That way we wouldn't have to mess with them anymore and they'd always be ready for inspection. (But always do a double-check just before inspections to make sure the uniform has not shifted on the hanger or more strings haven't popped out). And your clothing drawer has towels, underwear, brown t-shirts and socks. Everything must show signs of use (except the pantyhose), so use them as little as possible, preferably once if you can, then wash it and properly fold and place it in your drawer so that you can leave it like that for inspections.

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