Michelle is a mother, wife, teacher and dog lover who is currently in the process of adopting one of her former students.
My husband Chris and I are veterans of the United States Air Force. We both went through six weeks of basic military training during the mid 1980s at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Having gone through the experience myself, I thought I would be prepared when my 19-year-old son Rhett left for BMT after joining the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Boy was I wrong. Though I knew exactly what he was in for, the 8.5 weeks he was gone were the longest and most stressful of my life. If it weren't for the different support services that are available to military families, I think I would have gone crazy.
I am so grateful for the information that I received that I decided to write this article to pay it forward. If you have a loved one leaving for San Antonio, there are avenues available to you to help you get through the long weeks without your special airman.
Day One - Zero Week
Your loved ones ship date has arrived. You take him/her to the airport, kiss him/her goodbye, shed buckets of tears, then go home to begin your long wait for their first phone call. Our son had his cell phone with him and called us several times before he boarded the military bus for his trip to Lackland, but it was a day before we heard from him again. His initial Air Force call came late the next evening and the stress he was feeling was apparent as he hurriedly attempted to give his sleepy father his new address. After three unsuccessful attempts to relay the address, he finally hung up on his dad and called his girlfriend. It was two weeks before we heard from him again. (I cried the entire two weeks. When I heard his voice I tried to be brave and not cry, but I didn't make it. I cried during every subsequent call too.)
When your airman gets to their dorm at Lackland, he/she has to surrender his/her cell phone. He/she may get it on Sunday afternoons to call home if his/her MTI (military training instructor) gives them the privilege. If your airman doesn't have a cell phone, their MTI will allow him to call you using a pay phone and phone card. The calls during the first few weeks are usually short, 20 minutes or less, but normally the call time gets extended as the weeks progress.
Don't be surprised if you don't receive a phone call every week. The MTIs know how important the calls are to the men and women in training, so they use them to their advantage. If your airman's flight isn't progressing as quickly as they should, or if the flight gets into trouble, their MTI may take away their phone privileges. My son's sister flight had their phone privileges suspended several times during their stay at Lackland. On the flip side, don't be surprised if you hear from your airman unexpectedly. The MTI's like to use the calls as a reward when the flight does well.
It's important to remember that you can't call your airman while he or she is gone. If your airman had their own cell phone, it gets locked up during the week so it is useless to try to call them on it. And don't even think about calling the base! You could get your airman in trouble. If there is an emergency such as a death in the family, contact your local Red Cross. They will be able to relay the message through the proper military chain of command and your airman will call you.
Writing Your Airman
Don't ever underestimate the effect your letters have on your airman. Most of them are away from home for the very first time and cherish the mail they receive. During mail call, the MTI usually gathers the entire flight into the day room and distributes any mail the flight receives (my MTI loved to throw our mail at us so she could watch us excitedly scramble to scoop it up).
All trainees are provided with a mailing address when they reach the base and families and loved ones normally receive a postcard containing that information within the first week of training.
Your airman's address will be in the following format:
AB Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial
# # TRS / FLT # # # (Dorm "Letter"-#)
1320 Truemper Street Unit 36 # # # #
Lackland AFB, TX 78236-# # # # (zip extension)
Your Airmans Activities-Week By Week
Your airman is going through rigorous training in his attempt to become a member of the United States Air Force. His weekly training breaks down like this:
- 0 Week: Your airman receives his first military haircut and uniforms, is a assigned a flight and training instructor, and tries to settle into his new temporary home. He also begins a vigorous exercise program.
- Week 1: During his first full week at basic training your airman learns what's expected of him in the upcoming weeks. He learns how to make his bed properly, how to fold his clothes properly, the proper way to clean the bay, how to march properly, and how to behave at all times. It's a stressful week. To top it off, he will receive a battery of shots that may possibly make him sick. My son said the majority of his flight was sick this week.
- Week 2: During week 2, your airman receives his M-16. He is expected to keep his weapon with him and keep it clean at all times. He is required to learn how to break the weapon down and reassemble it in a certain time period. His PT, (physical training) intensifies and he will be running several miles a day.
- Week 3: During week 3 your airman learns basic first aid during buddy care training.
- Week 4: Week 4 is an exciting week. Your airman gets to experience the confidence course and enter the bases "gas chamber". The confidence course is filled with obstacles that your airmen is expected to overcome. It's an action packed, fun day. My son's flight was unable to complete the course due to bad weather and he was very disappointed because there was no way to make it up. During this week your airman also receives training in chemical warfare and enters the gas chamber. It's an experience he will never forget.
- Week 5: During week 5 your airman learns self defense and gets to beat the tar out of one of his fellow trainees with a pugil stick. He also learns CPR and participates in "live fire" exercises with an M-16.
- Week 6: Week 6 is "Beast Week". During beast week your airman will be living in the field. He will live in his "battle rattle" and practice all of the skills he learned during the previous weeks. He will also receive his dog tags.
- Week 7: During week 7 your airman takes his end of training exam and begins preparing to graduate and leave the base.
- Week 8: Week 8 is graduation week. Families and loved ones are invited onto the base to witness several exciting ceremonies. The Airman's Run and Coin Ceremony are held on Thursday. During the run your airman runs with his entire flight singing cadences-it's exciting and I was so proud to see my son. They go back to their dorms to change then proceed to the field for the coin ceremony. A word to the wise-if you want to be able to see the ceremony, get a seat in the stands early-they go very quickly. At the end of the coin ceremony you are able to "tap out" your airman and spend the rest of the day with him on base. I was given the privilege of tapping out my son. I was able to go onto the parade field after the ceremony and tap my son on the shoulder. He had to be tapped before he was allowed to leave the field. His first words to me where, "What took you so long I've been standing here forever!" We spent the rest of the day eating pizza at the "GodFathers" on base, visiting the base bx and watching a movie at the movie theater. Your airman officially graduates on Friday and after the ceremony he gets his first town pass. We spent the afternoon at our hotel. Rhett just wanted to relax and sit by the pool. He also wanted a steak so we went to Logans for dinner. Airmen normally receive town passes on Saturday as well and many of them visit the Riverwalk and Sea World. (Graduating airmen and their families get free admission to Sea World). We spent Saturday afternoon at the Riverwalk and the evening at the San Antonio Spurs basketball game. Another word to the wise-if you go during basketball season someone from the Spurs comes to the base and sell you "special" military tickets. Don't spend too much money, the seats suck! My husband spent way too much on the tickets thinking we would have good seats and they were awful-nose bleed section. We were really disappointed (but happy to be with our son).
Facebook has groups that are specifically designed to help new Air Force families get through the long weeks of basic training. The two that I found were most helpful were Air Force Wing Moms and Air Force Basic Military Training.
Air Force Wing Moms is a totally awesome group of individuals who are more than happy to answer any questions you have regarding BMTS. Their wall provides a ton of information regarding everything and anything you may want to know about basic training and traveling to San Antonio during graduation week. Air Force Wing Moms also sets up flight specific pages where you can communicate with the families of the members of your son's or daughter's flight.
The Air Force Basic Military Training wall is another great way to get information about your airman and your airman's flight. They post pictures of your airman during BMTS-usually by their 4th or 5th week of training. I was so thankful for the pictures they posted of my son when he was gone. It eased my mind to see that he was happy and well taken care of.
Air Force Basic Training is a stressful time for the loved ones of the individuals who have made the honorable choice to serve their country. If you have a loved one who has just left or is leaving for Lackland Air Force Base it may seem like the 8.5 weeks of BMT drags on and on and last forever. If I've just described you keep your chin up, graduation week will be here before you know it and the pride you will feel when you see your airman in his/her dress blues for the first time will erase all of the anxiety you felt during the previous 8.5 weeks.
I hope you find this hub helpful. Don't hesitate to leave a comment or ask a question. If you are planning to go to San Antonio, I highly recommend you stay at the Microtel Inn and Suites. It is located between Lackland AFB and Sea World in a really nice part of town. The rooms and service are great-and you can't beat the price.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: How and where did you get the pictures of your son throughout basic training?
Answer: Off of the Facebook page.
Question: Is there a way to get pictures of our airmen in boot camp?
Answer: I got many good pictures of my son off of the Facebook page.
Question: What happens after week 8 of basic training?
Answer: The airmen go to the base where they will receive their initial technical training.
Question: My son has yet to join the Air Force, but is planning to soon. I am his mom and am having a terrible time handling it. I want to be supportive but it's so difficult. I cry constantly. I've never been away from any of my kids for a long length of time. I feel we won't keep in contact and I fear he will be in harm's way. The thought of that tears me apart. Could you please help me get through this?.
Answer: Your son is doing a great thing. I was in the Air Force myself, and when my son left, I cried as well. It was hard for the first week, and when we finally received a call from him, I cried for hours afterwards. It's a hard time, but you can get through it. Make sure your son knows how you feel and let him know that you would like him to keep in touch as often as possible. When I was in during the 1980s, there weren't any cell phones. Now the airmen have access to their phones, and it is easier to keep in touch.
Question: My biggest concern about basic training is the large amount of "shots" given. I have read that soldiers that will not be leaving the country do not receive yellow fever, Etc., and that the only vaccine they would get regardless of their shot history was the MMR and tetanus. Is this not accurate?
Answer: I am not sure about the number or kind of shots the airmen receive. I do remember getting quite a few when I was in during the 1980s.
Question: Does my kid get to stay with me while they have their town pass during basic training, or do they have to sleep on the base regardless?
Answer: They have to report back to base.
Irene Kennedy on August 14, 2020:
thanks so much for the great info! We wont grt to go to thr graduation but he may get z few dats iff so i sm gking to plam to go to Texas so we can see jjr son vefore he leaces for ztech school.
Noelle Goll on July 31, 2019:
Thank you so much for this information.
It really helped me stop crying.
Dana Zimmerman on May 20, 2019:
Just got back from Lackland AFB, my niece graduated and I just wanted to add a few pieces of key information that we weren't given. For all of you who are planning to attend your child's graduation weekend please keep these things in mind.
My niece graduated with 670 other airmen so that means there could be and will be close to 670 other families there attending the ceremony. Being early is key. Seating is limited. As is parking. And although there are several gates to enter the base from, there will be lines, long lines. So once again, be early. Make sure you pick up a map/itinerary from one of the guards outside the PRC and please only stand up when told to do so during the ceremonies.There are guards posted everywhere and they will shut you down if you try to stand to video or take pictures during the ceremony.
There are several briefings on Thursday and Friday it behooves you to attend one of these. There are a lot of rules for both you and your airmen and no one wants to get into trouble on their last weekend. So attend a briefing and take notes, they go over a lot of stuff and they try to do it quickly.
Over all we had a wonderful time over the four days and you can too just be aware of you and your airmen's limitations both on and off the base and it will make the weekend go much more smoothly.
Christina on March 06, 2019:
My son left yesterday he will be reaching his first 24 hour mark shortly, so very proud of him...does anyone else have a loved one there now?
Brendalee Mobley on January 10, 2019:
My daughter is at Lackland on her first week. When should I expect to hear from her?
Debra Preciado on January 07, 2019:
My daughter is at Lackland on her third week. She said they have a FB page I could see pics of them . She gave me some info about her squad but I’m not sure where to find it . Anyone know where I can find that at on FB?
Lori Valentine on January 02, 2019:
My son has two more weeks at Lackland base before he graduates, has anyone found any pictures or where we find them. Thank you
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on December 26, 2018:
You are very welcome.
Faith on December 25, 2018:
Thank you for this post, the information was extremely helpful. My son is actually at Lackland right now for BMT. He’s been there a week. I miss him so much, but the information you provided has eased my mind a little. Thanks again!
Dana Zimmerman on November 21, 2018:
Thank you so much for this post! My niece, who is like the daughter I never had, is just now doing her MEPS and will swear in the week after. She doesn't leave for Lackland for another month and I'm already a mess. We have concerns with the whole military thing due to the fact that my niece is somewhat of a sensitive soul. She lacks the hard shell that I would expect one who will be going through basic training should possess. Maybe I've seen to many movies, but I have nightmares about some instructor berating her endlessly and the whole thing ending up to be a very bad experience. I know they won't coddle her and I wouldn't expect that but it breaks my heart to know that she will probably cry herself to sleep on at least one of those nights during her basic training.
I'm probably being silly and she'll be fine, but it helps to know what to expect. So thank you again for the post is helps relieve some of the anxiety.
Lisa Drummond on November 06, 2018:
My son is leaving today for Lackland. I am very nervous and proud.
Is anyone elses loved one going to Basic training today?
Donna Speciale on August 30, 2018:
Thank you for this post! Helps ease our minds. Our Daughter left last Monday for boot camp. We miss her dearly:-( Thanks again for this post!
Heather on August 14, 2018:
Hello, and thank you so much for this great post! My son is heading down for Basic this coming Monday, and all the info you give here helps- knowledge is reassuring for me!
He'll be doing Special Ops, so this is just the beginning of our separation. But along with the sadness comes a lot of pride!
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on July 18, 2018:
My son is currently serving in Afghanistan. We expect him to be home by next month at this time.
A. Masters on July 06, 2018:
My son is away at USAFA in Colorado Springs so I guess my experience in a little different. Maybe a little easier in some ways and a little harder in some ways. The him for sure being gone for 4 years, and basically forever once he stepped foot on that plane 2 weeks ago really stung. I don't know if I have ever cried more. Parents weekend is the last weekend in August and we will get to fly out and see him then. I have no idea what poor parents do because for a 3 day weekend it's costing us 2 grand to see our son, do they just not get to see their kids? We didn't get to take him there like most families because we had to choose. Glad he now gets to fly home for free on the holidays! Oh the holidays! I look forward to them now more than ever! Them and his letters that come every other day now that I smell first then hold to my chest for it feels like forever! Feels nice to be able to say these things around people who don't think I am crazy. No matter how strong you think you are, you are never prepared to send your baby away like this...never. Peace and love to you all and thanks for this article and common ground to come to. xo
randy stevens on June 30, 2018:
i am a ritired marine with 1 daughter in the marines, 1 in the navy , and now 1 in the air force
JEANETTE HENDERSON on June 16, 2018:
Thank you for this! I will be sending my son off to basic training around the same time my husband leaves for an 8 month deployment in the middle east. I'm so proud of them both, but I know it'll hit me like a ton of bricks when the time arrives!! Thank you for the resources!!
Heather Cruz on June 06, 2018:
I needed to see something like this. My son shipped out yesterday and I am having the worst time coping. It so hard its indescribable.
I am so sick with worry even though I am super proud. I cant wait for July to arrive
xiomara serrano on June 04, 2018:
thank you so much for this post! my son is in process of joining and as a mom its a bitter/sweet// super proud of him but emoptional . i love him so much ! watching him blossom to the young men he is becoming makes me smile. he just turned 20 and wants to be a An Airman. And i appluad and support his efforts. May god bless him and all the new air man. thank you! for ever grateful.
Elise Ryan on May 17, 2018:
Thank you for this info, it really helped!! My question is... I got a quick phone call from my son with his address and really quickly said we can send him care packages and he listed the items I can send but I couldn’t catch what he said. Do you know what I can send?
Regena Dawson on April 12, 2018:
Thank you so much for this information. We are new to the military way of life and totally clueless. The FB groups you recommended and the information about week to week activities were awesome.
Maria Roberts on March 26, 2018:
My son is leaving tomorrow. I’m so happy for him but I’m a mess. I can’t wait to see the positive changes in him though.
Jeff Hale on March 20, 2018:
My son is on his way there as I’m typing this. god bless all that is serving and about too start.
Andrea on March 19, 2018:
Thank you so much for sharing and for your family's service. Our son ships out next week and there is so much that we don't know, or didn't until now. I am already looking forward to his graduation. Blessings to you and your family!
emily on March 09, 2018:
Hey, I was wondering how am I supposed to go about getting on the base? I’m unable to rent a car because I’m only 18 and I’m flying from Georgia. Help?
sharon t on March 09, 2018:
thank you for sharing, we are not a military family and my son enlisted today, but won't be leaving until the fall due to work commitments, the people I met today at the oath ceremony couldn't have been nicer (AF Reserves), he scored really well on his testing and had his choice of jobs. All introduced themselves and remarked how happy they were that he'd chosen jet propulsion. And all the guys from the 'shop' (his recruiter spent the day with him last week touring all the jobs on the base) came over to watch his oath. As nervous as I was, they all made me feel a whole lot better. They also are allowing him to train 1x per month until he goes to be better prepared for boot camp. His roommate has been in for 7 years so he's well prepared (he studied for the test for 9 months!) and should be fine, it's hard being a mom!!!
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on March 03, 2018:
I hope he chooses the USAF. It has been good for my family.
Leland Johnson from Midland MI on February 25, 2018:
This was a super hub. Thank you for writing it. I am encouraging my son to consider the Air Force. I was Army but think he would be a perfect fit for the AF. I don't think I'll appreciate how hard it is to have him away until he goes. Thanks again.
sheila on February 21, 2018:
What do you think of the Embassy Suites?
Beryl johnson on February 18, 2018:
My son went in the first week in febuary when do I get the first phone call worried
Chris Murray on February 12, 2018:
THuff on February 11, 2018:
The 2nd facebook link isn't working, and I don't find a page with that exact name. You mentioned it would post pics during but. Can you help?
jesusa on February 01, 2018:
Thank you for sharing ... My whole family is so excited for the upcoming graduation week. I have read your words of encouragement and made me feel at ease now...Thanks again and thank you for your service.
Jennifer on January 31, 2018:
Thank you for sharing these words of encouragement! We are just beginning this journey with our son, such an honor and thank you for your service as well
Kristal on January 27, 2018:
Thank you for sharing your experience. My son has decided to join and I'm gathering all the information I can on what to expect!
Neece on January 26, 2018:
Loved to read this, thank you for sharing!
WB on January 20, 2018:
My son left last week. I’m a young mom & this is the 1st time we are apart. I’m a mess but I know this is an amazing opportunity for him and he’s extremely excited. Thank you so much for your great advice and useful information. It calmed my crazy mom nerves.
David on January 14, 2018:
My son leaves the first week of February 2018. At what time will we know the weekend he will graduate? I will need book airplane tickets and accommodations. Thanks your information has been very helpful.
Laurie on January 12, 2018:
My son just left Tuesday for BMT. The week by week info is very helpful for a worried parent. Thanks so much!
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on January 08, 2018:
I am glad you found this article helpful. I hope you are proud of your son, he is doing a wonderful thing.
wanda on January 04, 2018:
My son left on January 2 2018. I'm kind of anxious, but your info was very helpful.
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on January 01, 2018:
I wish both of you the best. My son has been in the service for several years now. It has been a wonderful experience for him.
Stefanie on December 28, 2017:
Thank you for all this information, My son leaves January 30th.
Corrie on December 08, 2017:
I see a few parents whose son leaves on the 19th. We just found out Wednesday. So nervous
Cyndy on November 27, 2017:
Thank you for sharing my little sister shipped out 11-14-17 and I have yet to hear from her. So this helps out so much!
Marcie on November 27, 2017:
Thank you for sharing. My son ships out on Dec. 19. I am so nervous and feel as if I may have a panic attack when I really think about it. I've been trying to find as much information as possible to prepare myself. This article was very helpful. Thanks again!
SMSgt(Ret) Hank on November 10, 2017:
Thanks for this! It was 88 when I joined, a lot has changed. Our son,20, ships on Tuesday, Cyber Transport Systems. Grads Jan 4th, debating wearing service dress, or suit.
Cathy on November 02, 2017:
Thank you so much for sharing!
Tracey Adams on November 02, 2017:
Does the BMT facebook page still post pictures of the trainees? It doesn't look like an active page, with the last pictures posted being in July, 2017. My daughter shipped 10/31, so just trying to navigate my way around seeing what's out there. Your article was very helpful!
Daphne on October 30, 2017:
Kelly- my son found out today he ships December 19th as well. I am a basket case.
Kelly on October 21, 2017:
Thank you so much for your article. My son doesn't leave until December 19th but I'm such a mess. Lackland is a thousand miles away and I've never gone more than a week or so without seeing my son much less months. Knowing a little about what he'll be doing each week I hope will be helpful for me. Thank you for your service and for your families as well.
Dan on September 28, 2017:
What you don't say is how to deal with your son flunking out of BMT. Our son scored a 97 on his entrance exam, passed PAST with flying colors. Has been so excited about his future. Then at 6 1/2 weeks we get a phone call. He is being released from service - for sleep walking. He was crushed. Plus, it will take them longer to process him out than to graduate. Immediately removed from his flight, left alone and not allowed to talk with anyone. They keep him busy sweeping floors. Only decent thing they did was allow him to use the gym. No one to keep him company. He was in tears when he used his 1 phone call to let his mother know he wouldnt be graduating. I know the AF is still responsible for him but they need to consider changing policies for people that don't make it due to things they knew nothing about. Of course, we areally just parents! We get told nothing other than what he can say in a short call. How can it possibly take 2 weeks?
Angie Culberson on September 21, 2017:
Thank you so much for this. I am a nervous wreck because I haven't heard from him since he left.
Desirae on August 09, 2017:
Thank u so much for this article I couldn't find one for the longest time that really broke things down and u really just made my life a whole lot better and gave me a better understanding ❤️ THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!!!!
Windy on July 22, 2017:
How were you able to obtain the pics of your son in basic?
KT on July 19, 2017:
Great post! TY
Nancy on June 28, 2017:
Thank you so much for this information. My grandson is leaving for basic training this Sunday and his mother and I are pretty much in the dark about what to expect. Your information is very interesting and helpful.
Kim on June 19, 2017:
Thank you for your service! My son just went to Lackland June 6. We can't wait to go see him for graduation and have some time to spend with him. I do have a question about graduation. We sent in the VARL form for our son to turn in. We had some family members that did not think they would be able to attend but now can go. Is there a way we can get passes for them or can we send the form to the base ourselves or will it have to be through our son? Thanks for the help!
Norma on June 16, 2017:
My son called me with his address two days after he began Basic Training but two weeks later I just received a card with a different FLT #. Should I be concerned?
Laurie on June 09, 2017:
Thank you so much for all of the information! Thank you and your family for your service!
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on June 06, 2017:
I think that they go directly to their schooling after graduation weekend. I am not sure how visitation works while in tech school. I know it used to be a 4 week wait-but that was a while ago.
Christie on June 05, 2017:
Thank you for the information! I'm trying to work out my visit for graduation. My boyfriend is set up to work in intelligence. I might not have the ability to go to graduation, is there a time between basic and job training that I would get to see him or is the graduation my last real chance for awhile? I'm nervous about this.
Nicole on April 09, 2017:
Thank for week to week explanation. My son swore in about a month ago and his ship out date wasn't till next month. But he got a call and has been bumped up and leaves Tuesday. We were given 11 days to really prepare. It's been overwhelming. He's my only child and I've never been away from him more than a few days. I look forward to that phone call and every letter he sends. Most importantly, I can't wait to see him in his uniform. I'm learning so much so your info is a life savor. Thank You!!
Ashley on March 26, 2017:
My fiance is curently still on week two until wednesday, is it normal to have only gotten the call about the address? I havent received any letters either.
ML Carter on March 10, 2017:
Thank you so much for this great article. You have really helped us understand what our trainee son is going through. My husband is a veteran but his basic was 41 years ago, very different from what BMTS is like today.
Dana on March 06, 2017:
My son has been gone 2weeks we got the address post card but now got his 1st letter and his return address had a different return address I called the number on the packet lackland reception and they had no information
Jim Sands on March 03, 2017:
Thanks. So helpful!
Wanda Drzymala on January 13, 2017:
A friend of son just joined the Air Force. She was wondering what he was doing. We found your site very informative.
Stacy on January 10, 2017:
GREAT info...thanks for sharing! My son ships out next week. :-(
Rooby jean-marie on January 10, 2017:
Thank you sooo much I could say more but I'm too busy crying my baby girl left for basic training 4wks ago and every insight helps
PD on January 06, 2017:
Very helpful info thanks for all the advice. my son leaves feb 14 and I'm already feeling anxious
Susan B on December 16, 2016:
My son left Monday this week. It's really been hard for us. I enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for all of this information.
Loretha on November 12, 2016:
My son is in basic. What can you send while they are in basic?
Patricia Obregon on November 10, 2016:
Thank you.. I really enjoyed reading your story it gave me some relief of what my son is going through and for myself knowing that about them..
Lala Turcios on November 09, 2016:
My girlfriend recently left for basic 2 days ago and I've been looking just about everything up. This, by far has been the most helpful. Last night, I got the first phone call with her address. I was more than happy but that didn't stop the tears. I really do pray that she stays positive & that these 8.5 weeks go by fast.
DB on October 05, 2016:
Hi, my boyfriend leaves for basic training Tuesday and I'm really sad. All I wanna do is cry but I'm trying to be supportive of him as well, 1) how can I make the time he's in basic training fly by and 2) how can I make convey my love and support to him while he's gone?
Peggy Vanderheiden on September 29, 2016:
I really appreciate all of this information. My son, Joseph, leaves here in just a couple of days, and I am catching myself crying at any point in the day, thinking of him when he was just a little guy. He is my first child to join the military, and I have no idea what I am doing! I don't want to miss a thing! I will probably read this a hundred times over! And thank you for the facebook pages, I will be visiting often!
Jody Guthrie on September 13, 2016:
Preparing......MYSELF.....omg its so hard..... to believe this time has come. My baby is now beginning his life journey, and I am having a terrible time letting him go!! I know they are only ours for a little while, but gees..... lol.
So proud of my son. He is determined and willing and accepting.... I am proud, joyful and sad....only tears of happiness though. Just hard to know he will not be right here and I am going to run into him somewhere or Hey you wanna go out? Or hey, come over and help me with something...time has flown by.....!!
Angie Garia on August 31, 2016:
Thank you for the most helpful information. My son's graduation will be taking place in September. We have a concern regarding minors (under 18) being able to attend the ceremonies. Do you know of any age restrictions?
N Reid on August 29, 2016:
Thank you for this, my son leaves home today and I thought it was going to be easy! Thanks for sharing this has been informative I will definitely look at the two Facebook pages you recommended. Can they receive care packets while at BMT? God bless you!
Julie Reid on August 21, 2016:
Thank you so much for this it's so useful. I am in the uk my daughter has dual nationality and is hoping to join USAF. The pages you have recommended look great for info and I will join Facebook pages too. Thank you again.
Joris Reyes on August 15, 2016:
I really appreciate very much to stay together as a great and valuable team of Airmen parents who fully support our children. But I think it is strong for them and for us too. It is important to be able to communicate with each other and wait with courage and pride these long weeks.
Keep our faith together at this time is essential for a successful achievement in our future Airmen, who by his own decision wanted to be a best man and be a part of this great Team of this wonderful country.
Let's move forward and from our hearts supporting them and give them the necessary forces.
Thanks for listening, my son have 8 days and have been very long and stressful for us.
God bless you all!
Renee Meyer on August 07, 2016:
How did you get all those pictures of your son while he was in bmt?
Lori on August 04, 2016:
Great information. I am wondering if airmen can receive anything other than letters during basic. Thanks
Kara on July 24, 2016:
My daughter just entered basic training and I got her first phone call which broke my heart. All the websites say its 8.5 weeks but her graduation date is just a little over 7 weeks from when she went in. Has it changed?
Dariana on July 15, 2016:
I have a sister who is currently in BMT and i was wondering how long it takes her to recieve my cards
Robyn on June 23, 2016:
Thank you! My husband and I are also veterans and were at Basic in the 80's. Our daughter leaves this August.
Mikki on May 24, 2016:
Lisa on February 02, 2016:
Thank you so much for this site!! My daughter "only child" leaves next week. I can't stop crying!! I'm so happy for her because its been a dream for her and she is so excite going. But, I can't think about it without bursting into tears. I don't know how I'm going to say my goodbyes next week!! Your site has helped me because as a mom "you know" I want to know what she is doing every minute of everyday and that she is safe. I'm sure I will be coming back to the site just to refresh on what's going on in a particular week. Also, Mimi I'm so sorry to hear that your brother is sad. I hope as he goes through the next stage of his career things get better. My daughter regretting her decision is my biggest fear. Mommy could always bail her out but not this time. I just prayer it all goes well.
Thank you again for sharing your time and information.
Mimi on February 02, 2016:
Another thing i forgot to add is, what if it is one of those situations where they realize it's not for them. What are ways to help him cope with it? He didn't say anything like that but he said he just really misses us... Hopefully hes just homesick.
Mimi on February 02, 2016:
When we were with him he'd randomly start crying and we would ask him what was wrong and he'd say he misses us and doesn't want to be away from us. Just the look of sadness in his eyes was very hard for us to see because we were expecting him to show a little more happiness. Him bursting into tears didn't express happiness. I feel so helpless because I'm not sure if hes emotionally stressed or just really really homesick. That's why I wanted to ask if this is normal or if anybody has been in this same situation. I will suggest him to speak to a chaplain.
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on February 01, 2016:
Emily I am sorry I didn't get back to you earlier and I hope that you had your issues with travel resolved.
Mimi-graduation is usually a joyful event filled with fun and anticipation of the next step in an airman's career. How does your brother feel? I know being homesick is a normal reaction to being away, but he will be able to take leave and visit as soon as his tech school is over. If his feelings become overwhelming he needs to speak with someone. He needs to be proud of himself for getting through basic training, but honestly the military isn't for everyone. If he feels emotionally stressed there are avenues he can use to help with his feelings. Have him speak to a chaplain-that may help and he will be able to point your brother in the right direction.
Mimi on February 01, 2016:
Mimi on February 01, 2016:
My younger brother just graduated from BMT. Those 8.5 weeks were very tough because my family and I missed him dearly, especially during the holidays. Right now I am worried because I thought seeing him during graduation would make it all better but it didn't. If anything I am very worried about him because it seems like he's extremely homesick. Most of our trip consisted of knots in our throwts & tears. I am concerned about his emotional well being. I don't want him to be sad because it's breaking my heart. Does anybody else relate to my situation? Did your airman look sad during graduation week?
Mimi, a worried sister
Emily de Luna on December 14, 2015:
Hello! I read your article.
I'm worried. I'm just his girlfriend. But I haven't heard anything yet from him. And I'm assuming his father got the mailing address, but I'm not in contact with him.
I emailed the base; I'm really hoping they'll get back to me in a timely manner as my issue is time sensitive.
I want to go to his graduation. But I haven't given him any information ( like drivers license info) and he hasn't called. How will he be able to send me the visitors access pass?
mikicagle (author) from Oklahoma on November 13, 2015:
I am so grateful that you all find this article helpful. The experience of your loved one leaving for basic training can be traumatic, and writing this article really helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank all of you for the sacrifices your families are making for our country.
Kimberly on November 12, 2015:
Oh my goodness,
Thank you for the information. My Son is in the process of enlisting. He goes for his physical next week, it will be March before he leaves. Reading through all this information, there are many tears. I can't seem to stop them these days. It is all pretty overwhelming, there is a lot of pride involved, and a lot of it is just being a Mom, and this is my only Child.
I have watched many videos and I am thankful for people like you, willing to share and help prepare us Moms :)
Madelyne on October 08, 2015:
Thank you so much for this blog. My husband is leaving for basic training at the end of this month. It's been a little emotional for me because I am 23 weeks pregnant and will be about 35 weeks when he graduates. He will be in technical school when our daughter is born, and for the first few weeks of her life. I know many people have had it worse and that's the life of the military but I'm still very anxious and heartbroken. Your page helped me feel a little bit better about what he's doing and I know it will be good for our family in the long run.
Maria on August 16, 2015:
As a fellow veteran, I also thought that I'd be okay when our daughter left for BMT. This experience has been tougher than I could have ever imagined! I want to let you know how much I've appreciated your article. It's good to know that I'm not the only person that is experiencing these sad emotions. God bless you, the new troops and all of our military families. God bless our beautiful nation!
Vnash on July 16, 2015:
I can't begin to explain to you how much of a gift this information is to my husband and I!! Thank you! Really...thank you!