You may think that failing basic training is the biggest threat, but you would be wrong. Only 8.2 percent of recruits fail to make it through Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT). Most of these are not due to reasons of failing any aspect of basic. The vast majority are due to medical reasons (pre-existing medical conditions that the recruit and Air Force didn't know about), fraudulent information on enlistment documents, or failing the arrival urinalysis.
The biggest threat used by T.I.s is recycling. Recycling means sending you back to an earlier part of basic training, so you have to repeat that period all over again.
T.I.s will make you think that they can recycle you for any reason -- they don't like the way you look, they don't like the way your Mama or Daddy, or they don't like your breath. In actuality, T.I.'s don't have the authority, on their own to recycle you. That's up to the commanding officer, and the commanding officer is limited by basic training regulations as to when he can and cannot recycle a recruit. Recycling costs the Air Force money, because you are in training longer, and the Air Force works on a budget.
This does not mean that you shouldn't take the recycling threat seriously. When making the decision as to whether or not to recycle a recruit, the commander relies heavily on the recommendations of your T.I. About 15 to 20 percent of recruits in AFBMT get recycled at one point or another.
Recycling isn't just used for disciplinary reasons. It's also used for recruits who fail a pass/fail requirement of basic. For example, if you fail to qualify with the M-16 rifle on the firing range, you will get recycled. If you fail the final PT test, you will be recycled.
You could also be recycled for medical reasons. If you miss more than two or three days of training because of a medical condition, you will likely be recycled to make up for that training. For example, if you are hospitalized during week #3 of training, when the medical folks let you out, and certify you as fit for duty, you would likely be recycled to a different flight who is just entering week #3 of training.
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