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A Woman's Guide to Surviving Air Force Basic Training

I am a former veteran of the Air Force who is now a mother of two.


Basic Training Tips for Women

This is for the women out there that are going into the Air Force. Basic training can be difficult but there are some things you can do to make it easier.

How to Prepare and Train for Basic Training

  • Months in advance, start running and doing push-ups and sit-ups. You want to be able to do at least 20 push-ups and 30 sit-ups and be able to run a mile without too much effort. If you don't, basic training will be a lot more difficult as you run for 30 minutes at a time, sometimes sprinting for at least a minute. You will constantly be doing push-ups as a punishment for anyone in your flight doing anything wrong. There is physical training every day unless there is a thunderstorm.
  • Get yourself mentally prepared by doing as much research as possible. There are many videos out there to help you. They will show what it is like.
  • You will also want to learn to be organized. Your locker will have everything in its specific place, folded in a certain way, buttoned a certain way, which will all be taught when you get there.
  • Cut all sodas and juices out of your diet. Have you ever heard someone yell, "hydrate"? You will at basic. They have a water monitor in some flights that every once in a while will yell that and you all have to drink from your canteen. At meals, you have to down a small glass of water, drink another while you eat, and then down another after you're done. There's a ton of water and it's better if you already know how to drink nothing but water.
  • Learn to eat fast. You have very little time. Some people in my flight resorted to eating small packets of peanut butter as that was all they had time for. You have to stuff your mouth very quickly and a lot of the time you will go hungry because you didn't eat enough. Your stomach will shrink by the time you are done with basic.

What to Do Right Before You Leave for Basic Training

  • A lot of women ignored this next bit of advice but later regretted it. Before I went to basic, I asked my mom and aunt who were both in the military what they would have done differently. Without skipping a beat, they both said that they wished they had cut their hair. So I cut my hair short. I am glad I did. Girls spent sometimes hours at night getting their hair put up correctly and perfectly. You have very little time to shower and get dressed, so it's nice to not have to worry about your hair. I got some valuable sleep while they fixed their hair.
  • Get a list of what to bring. There are no aerosol cans allowed. Some lists tell you to bring the spray deodorant. You will end up just throwing it out. There are no weapons allowed and most medication is not allowed. No Tylenol, Motrin, or things like that. Birth control is allowed but you will most likely forget to take it. If you get sick, they will send you to the clinic and you will get medication from them.
  • Prepare your family for a shocking phone call. Have them hold a piece of paper and pencil by the phone and expect a rude call from you. We were told to tell our parents, "Shut up and listen." Let them know that you don't mean it before you go to basic so that you feel OK to tell them that at basic. I was terrified to have to tell my stepmom that.

This Is How I Cut My Hair

For those that were wondering, this was taken right before basic.

For those that were wondering, this was taken right before basic.

How Basic Training Works

  • You arrive in your civilian clothes. If you have a shirt on that says anything on it, they will make you turn it inside out, so bring plain shirts. It will be a few days before you will get uniforms. These first few days are the roughest because you will constantly be yelled at for not doing things you are supposed to but didn't know you needed to.
  • Keep quiet and don't make yourself known. If you stand out, you will get a nickname and be picked on for the remainder of basic training.
  • It's best if you get a watch with an alarm when you are sent to the store. Every morning you wake up and have very little time to get dressed. I set an alarm for 10 minutes earlier. It gave me enough time to use the restroom, get dressed, and even start making my bed. You will head downstairs and do roll call. After that, you will go back upstairs and make your bed. You are supposed to be doing this with your partner. However, most come to realize that it is best if you learn to do it yourself as you tend to get into trouble for them not paying enough attention.
  • Double and triple check everything.
  • The rest of the day consists of the meals, physical training, and training on learning how to make beds or fold something. It can also be learning military bearing and things that you will have to know throughout your military career.
  • About the second or third week, you will be taken in to do a urine sample in which they will test to see if you are pregnant. We had two girls sent home because they were. Don't get pregnant if you are going into basic. Otherwise, you endured three weeks of hell just to be sent back home.
  • There will be shots and yes, there are multiple ones at a time. You stand in a line and get a shot in each arm at a time. You also get the lovely penicillin shot (unless you're allergic) in your bottom and it hurts, trust me, it hurts. It had some men crying.
  • Do not talk to your brother flight. There were many females that were sent back a week or two just for flirting with some of the brother flight.
  • You will be a trainee until you go through the Airman's ceremony. You will have to report like this, "Ma'am/Sir, trainee (your last name) reports as ordered." You have to say that before you say a word other than "Yes Ma'am" or "No sir." You will get the hang of it.
  • There is a warrior week. It can be fun as this is when you will get to fire your weapon. It is also where you will eat the MREs (meal ready to eat) which do have candy in them. You are not allowed to have the coffee that comes in some of them. This is an outdoor thing. You will shower in sand-filled showers after you go through the courses. You will get very dirty as you will be doing low crawls in dirt and other things. It can be exhausting because you run in your uniform a lot and do a lot of physical activities.
  • This is also when you will go into the gas chamber and take off your mask. It isn't all that bad. It will sting and be hard to breathe. People's noses will run and some even slobber.
  • After you survive warrior week, you will then go through another week or two of basic before your Airman's ceremony. You will first have the Airman's run. Now they say it is only 2.5 miles but afterwards, they informed us that it was 3.5 miles. Be prepared for it as you all run at the pace of the flight in front of you.
  • The Airman's ceremony is special. You will get your first coin. From that point on, you wear your blues and are treated differently. Don't get too comfortable because there is still a big chance of getting yelled at. Graduation isn't that far off from that point.

I wish you the best. Basic training will be hard but take each day one step at a time. If I can survive it, you can. Just remember one thing, you will be living with about 40 females. Keep your mouth shut or there will be a lot more stress than you need. Girls can be vicious and you don't want to get on the wrong side of one. I had someone untie and re-lace my shoes incorrectly so that I got into trouble. Try not to cause problems.

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.


Elizabeth on May 29, 2019:

Hi, I am pretty nervous about the shots. I've always been afraid of shots, so... how long are you sore for, and will you have to do PT with sore arms and all of that?

Taina on March 18, 2018:

I want to join the Air Force but i feel uncomfortable showering with others. how do i go about that..

Katy Kamenicky on December 17, 2017:

I want to join but im pretty scared about the physical aspect,as i am not very athletic and it says here you have to run 3.5 miles while everything else ive seen you only have to run 1.5 ???

CB on August 05, 2017:

To anyone remotely thinking of joining. Do it. It's the best decision I ever made. BMT sucks, but its only 8 weeks out of your whole career. Don't let anyone tell you, you can't. Always remember the quickest way out is to graduate.

Any questions? I've been in for about a year, so BMT is still pretty fresh in my mind.

Skyler on June 04, 2017:

I'm considering joining the Air Force as a direct commissioned officer. I'm 32, so I'll be a lil older. Do you think this will pose a problem? Will I be picked on or singled put because of age?

Kevin on April 22, 2017:

This made me laugh, Airforce Basic can not possibly be hell. No wonder the Chair Force is a bunch of babies minus the spec ops

Talia on February 28, 2017:

Do you wear ABUs or BDUs?

Karla on December 10, 2016:

I join the Air Guard at the age of 17,my grandparents had to sign for me, but this was the best thing I have ever done and yes I recommend all females go through basic in any branch of service. I am 36 now and still in and let me tell you lady's something,take every kind of class that's comes up, it helps you on rank,cause when I got the opportunity to go through flight training and warrant officer school I jumped at it. so yes you can make a great career out of the armed services,I never thought I would have, but I did,and I wouldn't have done anything less. I have done 3 tours for operation enduring freedom and will do a forth of we get our orders. If I can do it,I know any female out there can. Its life changing and it was for the best.

Lucy on June 05, 2016:

Hi so im currently 23 and im trying to get my Masters in Information Networking and Telecommunication and join the officer program. my girl friend has Crohn's and i plan on getting engage to her before i go to basics . when i get married would the Air Force help treat pre existing disease such as crohn's for my wife even though im in the Air Force and not her?

Adeline on February 28, 2016:

I know the last comment was almost a year ago, but oh well. What did you mean by you have to call your parents "Shut up and listen"?

karisma on March 29, 2015:

Im very concerned. I goto meps next week and i was wondering, which is best? Tampons or pads?

Kelly on February 16, 2015:

With you hair that short did you still have to pull it up in a bun?

Chloe on February 16, 2015:

Training yourself to be able to run long distances is going to benefit you so so so much. I cannot stress that enough!! Also.. lifting weights & trying to bulk up will help you as well. You dont want to stand out but standing out in your physical abilities will get u some nicely earned respect! Good luck ladies!!

Violet on August 14, 2014:

Would you recommend going to college before or after serving? Also, the most recent info I have seen says you can't have any dependents (spouse/partner or kids) you have to be single and the standards are getting tougher?

Rachel on August 13, 2014:

Terrible question to ask I know but I REALLY want to join but it's been hard because of so many family obligations. If I go in, I'll be Medical (EMT/Paramedic), I wanted to go Active Duty but can't since I can't be away too long...So I'm planning on Reserves. There is a Base very close to me though...what are the chances of ending up at a base close to home?

Johnk95 on July 04, 2014:

I've long suggested that people seeking to gett a good understanding of this speciific topic spread their research acrooss many blogs dggeggdbbdka

Rhea on March 26, 2014:

I absolutely like your blog, for it is very informative and descriptive. I am joining the Air Force also not just because of its benefits, but to fulfill my dream to serve. I wanted to join the Army, but the hubby did not allow me, but he agreed on the Air Force. I am going to talk to a recruiter next month (April), and hopefully I can get it. I am very excited.

Thank you for writing this awesome blog.


Figs on February 13, 2014:

When do you choose what job you want in the air force? When I join the Air Force I want to be a Loadmaster or a search and rescue but do you pick your job before, during or after your BMT? Also, are you allowed to take classes while in the air force for when you decide you no longer want to be in it? I'm sorry, I have yet to talk to a recruiter but I know they say almost anything to get you to join and I don't want to go in filled with nothing but lies and no job opportunities if I decide to leave the force or when I retire. ( I personally want to stay in the air force as long as I can but who knows I might change my mind and want to just go back home and work)

Amanda on January 16, 2014:

Thank you so much for all of the advice and tips on this article! Anyone leaving April 1st, 2014?

Tikeya on December 01, 2013:

I am currently a softball player in my second year of college. I have recently decided to enlist into the Air Force. A friend of mind just got back from basic and she said its not that bad. My dad was in the Army and he feels like I have a good chance of making it. As I stated before, I am an athlete, so I am fairly fit. I am very strong willed and I feel like I can accomplish anything that I put my mind to, but I am still a bit nervous. Your article was very helpful and so were the comments. I am looking to do a job in diagnostic imaging and I was wondering if you had any advice on that? Or any other advice for that matter, that would be helpful.

jessica on October 25, 2013:

does that mean no make-up, cologne or perfume, or any beauty products? what about facial washes and creams and clarifying lotions? scrubs and all that.... cause i am acne prone.... do we choose what shampoo and conditioner to use or do they pick out almost everything for you?....

Alana on October 18, 2013:

Question. I'm a vegetarian!! What kind of food do they serve you at basic?!?!?

Lindsey on September 21, 2013:

So, I am not really that concerned about showering with other females but I will admit, I have DD breasts, and they aren't exactly perky! :-( Will I be harassed about this? I know its been said that showers are extremely short and no one pays attention but I have boobs big enough to shock anyone walking by! lol

norah davex on July 17, 2013:

I have so many questions about BMT. For starters I used to run the week before this week and I used

to run for an hour but lately because of the hot weather outside I have been putting off running

and I was wondering if that is a hindrance for me for when I go to basic training which doesnot start

until novemeber. however I am going to UAT this weekend and was wondering if I need to be

physically prepared at UAT. Also I have a question about lifestyle at BMT at the moment

I lead a very lazy life where I basically eat everything so I am a little overweight would

that mean they would put me on a diet in basic training and I Would not enjoy eating anything

and do more exercise which would be hard for me since I am lazy to begin with. I enjoy watching tv

and being lazy at home would that mean bmt would be hard for me.Also I have a question about

the air force obstacle course I saw in a video that we would be climbing monkey bars which I do

not know how to do at all because my hands are weak and I could hardly do them as a kid would I have

to do them at basic training? Also I saw a part where we climb under an obstacle and it looks like we

have to hold onto the post and climb under each post without any ground under us so that each post is higher

and I cant do that at all and would basically fall on the ground. How can I surive bmt?

thank you

Michelle on February 14, 2013:

It is a dream of mine to join the Air Force! I have taken the ASVAB once for the Air Force and once for the Army and did not pass the requirements for either one. I know you have to get a 50 on the ASVAB to join the Air Force. I have a couple ASVAB study books to help me along the way. Math is not my strongest subject. My question is, what is the best way to get that 50 or above on the ASVAB?

Martie on October 14, 2012:

I'm a Marine Corps wife and really considering joining the airforce. I take medicine daily for hypothyroidism but have always been pretty active. Does anyone know if I can even join with it? And will they allow me to take my medicine at BMT? Another thing, I have 25 college credits. Does that mean that I will enlist as an E-2? What contracts do they offer as far as time wise? Is it 2,4,6, and 8? or what?

Karina on October 08, 2012:

I'm very glad I came across this, it really has helped me out ALOT. I am about to be 19 and I'm con siding going into the AirForce. I went to the Air Force Recruiting place and I had to take the practice asvab, I made a 48 in reading and 47 in math but got a 30/50. How does that work? What happens after I pass the practice asvab?

Gina on July 18, 2012:

I am 26 and will be graduating with a BS in Biology this coming semester. I am interested in joining the AF, but I would like to know more about the job selection process. I know that with my degree, I can enter as an officer. I am interested in either becoming a pilot or working as a scientist. I have been taking the practice ASVAB tests online and scoring well. I have read that scoring high helps ensure the job of your choice. However, my biggest fear is that I will join and then be sent to another area that I have no interest in. I know it is not about me, but I feel that I could contribute more in a field that I actually want to do. Also, when my father joined the Navy he said that he was lied to by his recruiter and ended up doing something he hated. Do you know of anybody that was able to select their job? Also, if it is in your contract, does that really mean that it will be your job? Or can they still place you anywhere?

Aquarius0809 on July 14, 2012:

I plan to join the AF next year after I graduate with my associates in psychology ...I talked to a recruiter but he told me I have to lose weight then I can sign up...I live in Greensboro NC and I was wondering if anyone lives close who is planning to leave around that time also

Corinna on July 11, 2012:

I plan on joining the force after I graduate from high school. &' I wanna know what was your job in the force.?

Nickie on June 03, 2012:

How long was basic training?

Isn't there a week at the end that u have to stay awake for 2 days straight and finish a course?

Katie on June 03, 2012:

Do you have to know what you want to do before you join or is there a test that tells you what your more suitable for?

TONYA on May 24, 2012:

Love, love, love this blog post! Anyway, I can't seem to get in contact with a recruiter! After meeting with one in '09 and going to school, Im ready to go and now I can't speak to anyone regarding enlistment! LOL. Good Luck to those of you that are on your way to an AWESOME ADVENTURE! I hope to join you soon!

F.Francis on May 23, 2012:

@Nikks_music... i had that same problem... look at it this way. the airforce is big on college, if you can get in, the GI bill covers all of your college expenses, where as you would have to do that on your own... it may take you more time to finish college but hey! debt free lol... and usually even after signing to the airforce they tell you that you have a 6-9 month wait period. so getting in shape by fall doesnt guarantee you will leave by fall. the key thing is getting your stamina up(run) and work on push ups and stomach crunches thats basically what you really need to focus on. so think about it. see if the airforce is really what you want... if it is go for it! good luck.


Nikks_music on May 18, 2012:

I've been thinking about the Air Fore for quite some time, but I'm also torn between just going to college instead. Basically, if I can get into shape by the fall, I plan on signing, but the trouble is getting there. What kind of exercise routine do you reccamend?

HeatherFeather on April 19, 2012:

I ship out June 19th. I've been thinking and thinking about joining for two years and now I'm taking the plunge. I've been working out like a mad woman, I'm already in decent shape, I can sock bun my hair pretty well especially if I have gel product in it, and even if I'll be homesick I know that it's time for me to get out of the house and live my own life. The only fear I really have is that on my last day at MEPS before I get on the bus to go to the airport they'll tell me somethings wrong and that I can't ship out that day. I've met girls while at MEPS who went through that. I'm definitely not going to get pregnant, I don't have any strange piercings or tattoos, never done any drugs, don't smoke, and I've already been medically cleared...I think. I would surmise that getting a ship date means I've been medically cleared. I have pretty crummy luck so is there any reason to be worried? This page has been so helpful to me and I thank you so much for it! I've been doing a lot of research leading up to my departure and this has been another giant leap towards being informed and as ready as I could possibly be!

Michelle on April 18, 2012:

Hi do you have any advice on how to start doing pull ups? i cant even do 1 please help. :)

Jenni on April 12, 2012:

Teiasha, as an active duty Air Force member, it should not take anything more then 3 years to achieve the rank of an E-4, and thats on a 4 year enlistment. If you opt for the 6-year enlistment though, within 2 years you can make an E-4. I apologize for sounding like a know it all, but I didn't want anyone's hopes to get shot down due to mis-information :)

Dizrae on April 10, 2012:

I just recently got accepted in the air force as a dental tech and leaving in July. I was just wondering how you like your job and is it a good job in the air force?

gumshoe on April 09, 2012:

how okay would it be to join the airforce if im a little afraid of the water? my brother was in the airforce and he said that you work with water during warrior week. but how much is it? how long do you work with water? what do you do in the water exzactly?

LotusFlowerBOmb on March 28, 2012:

I have been wanting to join the Air Force for a while, the only couple of things concerning me are the officers yelling at me ( I have a temper and when i don't get my way I tend to cry) and also where do you live when you're not out of the country? And also what do you do? Do you still get paid or do you have to get a job?

HotPinkCombtBoots from Washington on March 27, 2012:

Hi Pageant Girl - did you get my email? I've been in the Air Force for 21 years and would love to interview you for my upcoming book on women in the Air Force.

You can email me @ hot.pink.combat.boots@gmail.com - I would love to include you and your experiences. If you're not interested - would you please let me know that as well so I'm not bugging you?



teiasha on March 24, 2012:

This scrolling down to reply is a killer but I know the Air Force just recently started not accepting ppl with sleeve tats...Idk if urs is considered one Carley but try to have someone (I.e. a commander on a base or medical professional) determine if its acceptable....ur recruiter will tell u anything to get u in n I when u get to Lackland it will be a different story when ur MTI has to take pics of the tat for approval...I wouldn't get any tats until after u join. I know a few guys currently with sleeve tats that have to always wear long sleeve shirts to work n that's not comfortable in a hot area during the Summers. Now as for BC, I know plenty of females went to medical to get their butt shots n its ur responsibility to keep up with ur dates...ur MTI is not gonna prevent u from getting ur BC b/c they don't want to have to deal with ur mode changes (esp if its a maLe MTI...my flight was the 1st females our MTI pushed)...as for the BC's u insert in urself I believe one of our girls had to have it ordered from home n she went to the Doc to get it inserted...our maybe she just preferred to order hers...all I know is I remember our MTI coming to the door with a nuva ring n the EC monitor saying "1 nuva ring, verifying 1 nuva ring NO" lol I was crying lol INSIDE...I see most of the females r skeptical abt joining bc of ur attitudes....stop trying to find excuses n do it before the AF stops letting ppl in...I have one of the worse attitudes n I joined...for you young females they will straighten u out...I didn't need anybody to tell me how to act since I went in at 26...I know when to turn on/off my attitude esp when trying to move forward...I'm reserves but currently active reserve until I get my 5 level...hopefully, after training I can get a ART position to be fully time on my reserve base...from March 22, 2011 til today I, have advanced to an E-4...reserves promotes faster....I know a MSGt who made his position w/I 6 yrs from an E-4....again I'm talking reserve, not active...it will take them abt 10 yrs to make E-6....that should answer the female with the dog question...however, u might want to have a reliable pet sitter BECAUSE U never know if u will get recycled in bmt or tech school...just pic a job with a tech school of no more then 8wks...I'm knowledge ops n its 8....personnel n ARMS is 6...mostly admin have short schools n services

CarleyP888 on March 21, 2012:

Hello! Thank you so much for writing this. It has really been such a big help. I have a question about tattoos. Hoping you could help. I have a very small.. half an inch tall maybe three inches wide tattoo on my left hand wrist. It is not degrading or offensive in anyway. It is a script from a book I read when I was young. I understand that tattoos are allowed but I am afraid that I will be turned away because it is on my wrist. Do you have any insight on this? Thanks!

christina on March 20, 2012:

just thought of another q... how neat does our hair have to be like the bun does it have to be like a dancers sock bun or what?

christina on March 20, 2012:

Thanks for putting this up! I plan to go in the AF once i graduate. Im a senior in high school. This answered several questions i had but my main question is when i go in will i still be able to get my depo shot (birthcontrol). Also what about showering with the other females while their on there period? Mines not that heavy any more thanks to my shot but im worried about being around the other girls and how embarresed they will be.

lindasilva on March 07, 2012:

Roni, thank you so much for that. It's really helpful. I wanted to join back in 2009 and ended up not doing it while an ex-boyfriend and a friend did. I'm scared to death about missing my loved ones but now I want to do it before the year ends. I have to meet the weight requirement, I already started exercising. So, hopefully, I won't be scared by then... I look on YouTube for videos, but none really show what really goes up there.

Roni on March 02, 2012:

I was in the Navy many years ago and I'm sure a lot has changed.  One thing I noticed was the weight maximum limit has gone up drastically from when I enlisted.  When I first started the process of joining the Navy I was given a recruiter that helped me through the initial process which required a test to see your academic level and a physical to ensure you are not suffering from anything that is not allowed.  With things like scoliosis they will actually perform an X-ray to see if you are within what they allow.  I didn't have tattoo's when I first joined but at the time I believe the only thing was they didn't want any new tattoo's for fear of infection with like Hepatitis.  Getting tattoo's while in the military is deemed ok because its sad to say but it helps them identify body parts.  Any conditions you may have will be discussed and decided on BEFORE you are shipped off to boot camp.  You will also have a swear in ceremony and that is when you will receive your first card that will lust your enlistment date.  I choose not to enlist immediately and waited 2 months before going to my boot camp @ Chicago.  Prior to enlistment you will be treated like royalty but everything changes once you arrive.  Since I was Navy I can only tell you about my experience.  From the first step onto base you will have someone in your face telling you what to do and what not to do.  If you can't handle that you better learn or not join the military because once they declare you active duty you will physically be punished with exercise. If you somehow don't make weight when you arrive you will be placed on a strict diet and you will have to exercise more.  The first 72 hours of your arrival will be spent being processed and you will not be allowed to sleep.  You will be taken through all the different stations which include things like uniform, hair cut, and enlistment paperwork.  At this point you will be given your Recruit Commander and assigned to your "ship" or "barracks."  During these 72 hours they will show you around the base and also the basics of marching, folding your clothes, making your bed, and some basic etiquette.  During these 72 hours you are not considered "active duty" so the only physical activity is marching every where.  Before you are approved for active duty you will be tested on your eyes and ears and will go through the tag team vaccinations.  If you are allergic to penicillin you will be given some pills instead of the shot in your bootie.  Showers are in a open area that just has shower heads and time is very limited to shower and brush your teeth.  In the Navy there is not "bare feet on deck" so in the shower you wear flip flops which must be cleaned in a bucket of bleach afterwards or you'll fail inspection.  During boot camp (in the Navy at least) the recruit assigned to be your lead carries a small bag that carries everyone's medicines and feminine products for your period.  You can't carry them yourself.  If you become sick or have severe debilitating cramps you will be sent to the med clinic for assistance.  You are not allowed to lay in your rack unless in rare cases the Dr. gives you a note.  You don't want to have any time away from your group because you will be knocked down to a different group and your training will start over and your boot camp will be extended.  Also there is no talking allowed while in the canteen, during march, or every other time unless your RDC says it is ok.  Never look them in the eye and always salute.  After you are declared active that is when the majority of the training happens; both physical and academic.  You will not pass boot camp if you cannot pass the major physical tests at the end and pass your academic studies that include learning necessary things like military rank and procedures.  Once you graduate boot in the Navy you are shipped out for at least 6 months even if your enlisted job requires further school.  Generally after you have proven you are going to stay in the military then they will invest the time and money to further your education.  If for some reason you don't make it through boot camp you will be placed in SEPS (seperations) for an undetermined amount of time.  Generally it is quite a long time and during that time you will be assessed to see if they want to keep you in the military or discharge you. It is not your choice anymore unless you go AWOL and are willing to serve time in the Brig.  It is very hard to be away from your family; especially, in the beginning when your contact is limited to a 15 minute phone call once.  As for pay it will go in via direct deposit and you won't have to worry about it too much while in basic so once you move on from basic you have a little bit of savings.  Promotions are not on a set schedule and varies based on job and how well you do.  I personally started as an E2 because I had college experience.  So basically you will have to pass some tests and physical before you are even accepted by the military so you don't need to quit your job or give notice until you are accepted and then you can choose your date which are frequently available.  It is also best if you start physical activity prior to boot camp but either way they will whip you into shape while there.  Also once you decide on what branch of the service there is plenty of information on the web to give you a leg up on learning things ahead of time like how to identify rank and the officer creed, etc..  Hope this helped a little.  I only really did the first part of the process because an earlier response talked a lot about once boot camp actually starts and I also think the beginning is probably the toughest part because you are deprived of your loved ones and sleep plus their initial process is to break you down so they can rebuild you into the soldier they want.  Good luck and be safe. Sorry it's so long.

Tori on February 29, 2012:

I am looking to join the Air National Guard and had a lot of questions before reading your post! Thank you! (:

Tammy on February 28, 2012:

Do they write prescriptions for burth control at BMT?

Allie on February 18, 2012:

U said they allowed birth control? I have an iud should I get it removed prior to BMT in may?

lynsey on February 16, 2012:

I don't know if any one is still answering questions but heres hoping, my only question is when do you get your first paycheck and how long does it take to become an e4, for housing reasons,.I just have had this dog for 8. Years and I don't want to give him up, so I need to know how long I will need a doggy sitter before I can have him with me again?

ASH916 on February 13, 2012:

I have lighweight psoriasis and want to join SF. if MEPS thinks its not too serious will they let me join?

eliciou on February 13, 2012:

Hi Bri,

i been always wanting to join the air force. I am 24 years old. I have sciolosis and my fear is that I will not be able to qualify. Is your sciolosis really bad?

I know my back and shoulder hurt after I do exercise soemtimes esp. in one specific shoulder. Would tis restrain me from qualifying?

Dynasty on February 10, 2012:

Im thinking about joining and I used to wear braces and now have to wear retainers every night. Can I still do that if I join?

bri on February 07, 2012:

I was in basic training in August. I got sent home because of scoliosis two weeks in. The home sick didn't get better for me but them yelling all the time didn't bother me. I got yelled at all the time for smiling. I wish i made it through but hey I tried it was probably best for me to wait anyway maybe ill try to go back after college.

Air Force Mom to be on January 26, 2012:

This is truly wonderful. Thank you so much for doing this. My daughter is leaving April 3, 2012. I am so proud of her and yet super nervous. Reading these posts and questions has eased my mind a bit. I am going to pass this on to my daughter.

lindasilva on January 26, 2012:

I have been thinking about joining too. I was going to join the army, but I feel more attracted to the air force. I was going to do the AFROTC but I'm not so sure about it now.

I've been reading this post for a while and I wish some of the girls that have already done it would post back as well, like teiasha did. Thanks, by the way.

I guess we won't really know until we do it. Is the AF reserves a better option or a good option at all? I tend to get homesick too, does it get better once you're there or is it VERY hard at first?

Michelle made some pretty good questions. I'd like to see the answers as most are my concerns too.

Michelle on January 24, 2012:

Thanks for this post it helped a lot!

I been thinking about joining the Air Force since my senior year which was 2 yrs ago! I think i have finally made my decision and im gonna go through with it! Im just afraid that i wont make it ! Im not very fit but i can run do push up and sit ups minimum 15 run a mile in like 12 min or so

i have never been away from home for more than 2 weeks nd that made me feel home sick :/

also i can't stand it when people yell at me i always tend to talk back

i dont get my period but once a year and have HORRIBLE CRAMPS i mean HORRIBLE to where i sometimes cant move or get up!! will they give me medicine or a shot for it?? im also allergic to penecillin will i get an alternative shot???

im also not very book smart i have been in college since i graduated and i have dropped all my classes because i cant keep up with my homework :/ will i get help???

i think all i need is some motivation ! I want to do this to prove my family wrong that i will be someone in life! Please any other advise ???

im going next week to taLK to a recruiter !

Belle on January 24, 2012:

What happens if you are allergic to penecillin? You just mentioned that you didn't get the shot in your butt but do you get an alternative shot?

LaPorsche Meyers on January 20, 2012:

How long do u think a woman should wait to go into the air force is she is about to have a baby?

teiasha on January 18, 2012:

I graduated BMT May 19th, 2011...320th Gator Pride n it wasn't easy esp. being 26...half my flight were younger...I probably was the 4/5th oldest in my flight n constantly would get in arguments with the younger females esp. the element leaders who abused their power...u young females (that's what ur name will be in boot camp or trainee) r the worse when it comes to being on ur own n cleaning up...females r so nasty ughhhh....after reading several posts, I have a few comments: u can't have anything in ur face during bmt so no bangs, ur hair must be basically glued to ur damn head with this gel they have in the BX n don't be cutting ur hair bc u don't want to deal with the hassle of a bun (donut style from high school)...some females cut theirs too short n got in trouble bc it was out if regs n others couldn't maintain it short when it grew out...I wore cornrolls but if ur not blk I suggest u not think abt wearing them bc u will get embarrassed by other MTIs...some MTIs don't allow it, mine allowed me to get my braids taken out n a new style but that was only during 7th so I could look good in my blues...some MTIs will allow u to get ur hair done at the salon in the BX but they might jack ur hair up n r very expensive...I paid 45/50 for a wash, treatment n flat iron...I can't say she French braided my hair bc it came out after 3 days of PT...to the lady that was talking abt her husband being at the marine base in NC....Idk if they work with diff branches unless ur reserve...they have Seymour Johnson where I'm at n Pope which is basically owned by Ft Bragg...there's a few active duty there still but its basically a reserve n army base now....Shaw AFB is the next closest I know in SC...u can get set up with a joint base in the air force if there's room for the both of u but it night bot happen esp if one gets sent out the country...my flight mate is still stuck at her tech school now waiting on an opening for the past 2 mths now...don't go to tech school n marry the 1st dude u claim ur in love with, I seen it happen even with DEP ppl but the young girls always fall for it anyways...its depending on ur MTI if u can shave n we didn't til beast week (6th week)...we won beast excellence might I say...they don't give out awards for PT warhawks n all that other stuff anymore...if ur MTI is nice u may get a printed out version...we got one female recycled for talking to boys n failing her wall locker inspections so no boyssss young hot tail ladies...make sure u have good wingmen on both sides...I failed once n passed all my other ones...I was not trying to be seen in that flight office again...of course I tried to blend in but its hard to do with only 7 blk females so u know I still stood out...by the 7th week ur gonna hate ur flight members...its known that females come together quicker then the brother flight due to their egos but they always bond better afterwards...when ur in the chow hall: head n eyes str8 fwd, side step, sit, eat, n get out...I've gotten in trouble once for laughing so def don't do it...know ur memory work when going in there bc u can get called to the snake pit....I've only been called once but that's bc I gave my MTI attitude when he tried to correct me on my right flank....always look confident but not too confident bc they will call u over to drill that azz...get used to eating peanut butter 3x a day, I'm hooked to P&J's now n peanut butter by itself...some ppl do change a lot, I'm glad my flight didn't look like zombies like the others did but its easier to change younger ppls mindsets n ways of thinking...I changed but not drastically...I did it to the point that I blended with everyone, I'm older so its kinda harder to manipulate me...I'm going Officer after I finish my Masters, its a diff process changing from enlisted to officer n can be somewhat more harder...I know u need recommendations from ppl in ur unit n add. stuff n they only pay off 10k in loans that u already have prior to joining which will be paid off during the remainder of ur enlistment...u CANNOT join the military with sleeve tats...its not considered a professional look in ur blues which I agree...a lot of branches r cutting down on letting ppl in based off their tats, I have one on my lower back n shoulder blade...I know one girl who had a ring tat that said Shhh in my flight but it was tiny...wait til tech school for tats if u don't have any, ppl that r in now had sleeve tats before they passed that law....now to the female parents I've been told that u can not join active duty military without either giving up full custody to the father or a family member that's y most just go reserve...the military is concerned abt the well-being of ur child if u r called to war or TDY, etc...now showers on ur period r nasty esp with a lot of other ppl around in the latrine showers...we just wore tampons but most ppl took the shot in my flight or never got it that heavy or a period during our 9 wks....I didn't start cramping up til I finished tech school n it was BAD...I never paid attention to anyone showering since I faced the showerhead...I just hated when the girls would wash their hair next to me n all that nasty gel would fall out...that irked my damn nerves but what can u do with 10min n less showers "car wash style"...make sure to hit ur hot spots when cleaning like ur armpits, private, butt n esp ur feet bc u will get a foot fungus...they have these hand wash clothes in the BX that worked good...a lot females didn't use rags, just their hands n soap which is just nasty....please wash up bc plenty of girls didn't bc they wanted to be ready in time for inspections...that's y ppl got vaginal infections, fungus or other infections...I took the longest shower meaning with both A n B bay, I don't play that not washing up right...when u go to beast it will be worse n just pray its not hot...we went in May but for some reason it was cold...my lips n hands could never stay not ashy...the sand was every damn where but that's what to expect when n if u deploy to the sands...I kind of can't wait to go but I'm crazy like that....anyways I'm done, thought I see what I missed out on the board in almost a yr....just know it all gets better in the operational world n be prepared to live Sunday to Sunday....chapel was the best thing ever esp that grilled cheese on Sundays n I've never been a fan.

Lucy on January 17, 2012:

If you are five pounds overweight before you ship out can you still go

erika on January 16, 2012:

i have a 2 year old and im married we want to join in as a team but we have hear a lot of so many people that i know i just just go in that to a recruter but my worry is do you travel a lot do you constently need to work when your done with basic do do you have a schedule that works right for you.. i want to be able to raise my chield and be with my husbend... thank you for your time sorry is my writing sucks lol.hope you understand my point.

Carly on January 11, 2012:

This site is amazing! Thank you so much for writing about your experience, its been extremely helpful! I'm in the process of getting ready to join and I am 100% thankful that I found this site. One small question, if you're a single woman, will you be in barracks? Also, I have a dog that will be taken care of while I'm in basic but I worry about whether she'll be able to come with me to a base afterwards. Any insight that you could provide would be much appreciated. Thank you!!!

haysha20 on January 10, 2012:

Hi, I wanted to know if you can answer my question im thinking of joining the af but I have two children and no one to take care of them do you think the af can help me out wit that because I am very interested in joining I love all the info im learning and its getting me very motivated to join. Thanks =)

Jen on January 07, 2012:

I've wanted to join for a long time, but recently realized I have an intollerance to dairy and gluten. Having these foods in my diet make me bloated, crampy, and have gas. Do you think I could survive BMT this way? Also, should I tell my recruiter or no since it has never been offically been diagnosed by a doctor?

Dave on January 06, 2012:

My Army Drill Sergeant in 1975 would have said to some of these comments "are we going to beat the soviets with warriors like this?

Myinn on January 06, 2012:

Great great advice reading this thanks!

I am a 23 yr old female with my BA in liberal arts and about 90k of student loan debt. I am seeing a recruiter next week and I am interested in being an officer and also persuing a career in the AF in broadcast journalism. Do you know anything about this job?


Lee on January 03, 2012:

I am 5'1, how much would i at least need to weigh?

BritBrat on December 18, 2011:

Hi im 16 and im going to join right when i get out of highschool. I was wondering if we can shave our legs and underarms?

And can we bring unscented lotion?

kaylee on December 17, 2011:

hi i have read almost all the comments an i read your post. i am thinking about joining the AF next summer i am courrently pregnant right now and will be due at the end of march.. will they still lt me join or will i need to wait longer.. in all honesty military is not my first choice i am very sensitive and very emotional... i cry if someone yells at me. lol but my husband cant get in so i decided that i will join.. im very very scared but i know it will save my family.. we dont have much money and want to get out of our town.. the only thing that is keeping me from not backing out my daughter and my husband. we want a better life... i didn't do great in highschool and really dont consider myself smart im scared once i get to basic that i will let my family down by not being able to do it... both physically and mentally. obviously by being pregnant i cant work out but i am slim fit and i can easily get in shape.. but i have really thick curly hair and wear glasses... i know i haven't asked any questions but if i could get you to comment back and maybe just calm my nerves or something i would really appreciate it..thank you and your post was truly helpful

Jess on December 12, 2011:

Hi! I am 23 years old and am considering joining. I have a few questions/concerns. First, even though I am 23, I have very controlling and critical parents that when I tried discussing military with them before, completely blew me off with a NO! Wouldn't even talk about it. Any advice?

Second, I have 2 associates degrees. 1 in Health Information Technology and the other in Baking and Pastry. I do not want to go into either. I am not interested in medical or food/diet. But I have about $90,000 in student loans and am wondering if the military will be able to help me with that and help me find a new career.

Third, I have always wanted to fly a plane, but am not sure I will be able to get to do that or will they allow my 2 degrees to be combined into something like a bachelor's to be an officer?

My main concern is that I am in a very bad place. I am working a dead end job and even after all the deferments on my loans, still can't afford the monthly payments. I have tried looking for a new job but am finding it impossible. So I am wondering if this is for me. This has actually been extremely helpful.

Also, what are the chances of getting stationed in another country? I have always wanted to live in another country and would love that opportunity.

Lastly (hopefully), I am actually a very intelligent person that has a learning ability typically greater than others. Would the air force actually use me to my full potential or will I get pushed aside like I normally do?

Thanks for any answers, I really appreciate it!

Taylor on December 11, 2011:

I have a question if any one has experience in Security Forces or Aerial Gunnar that is what I am interested in. Did you like it? What are the advantages/disadvantages? Are there women in this field?

Racheal on December 10, 2011:

I have a question about BMT. Mainly the running. I'm fairly in shape, and can the push ups and all. But on the Air Force website, it says be able to run 35-40 min straight. I don't think I'll ever be able to do that. Do you really run that much at a time? and how much time a day does one actually spend working out? Thanks for all your advice!:)

Kayla on December 08, 2011:

My husband is leaving in January and I'll be leaving after that. I'm curious if our recruiter blew smoke up our butts or if we will end up getting stationed together on the same base.

jane on December 07, 2011:

@ktlin 6 words...laser hair removal before you go!

ktlin on December 06, 2011:

awkward question. It's bothering me and i would just like to know. Do you know if there Is ever any time for waxing, ie an upper lip? Will they allow a small wax container that melts in a microwave?

Elizabeth on December 04, 2011:

How often do you get mail? I've heard every three days and once a week, which is it? Thanks so much for this, it has helped a lot!

H on December 03, 2011:

wow!!!! i have read these posts and its so awesome that you are answering ALL these questions for all these people. i just have one question, mainly cause i dont want to ask my recruter cause it may keep me from going into the AF. MY QUESTION: If you have a history of an eating disorder but are now in the recovering stages, while they not let you be in the AF? i am willing to slowly go off my meds with my doc. what is your opinion? what should i do?? i REALLY want to go into the AF

marissa on December 02, 2011:

i am leaving for basic in January. i am very excited and believe i am prepared, though i do not wish to cut my hair i have been thinking about it...i found your article very helpful. thanks!

Lina20 on December 01, 2011:

Well, I'm thinking to join the military.Does height requires?I'm like 5'0 or 5'1.I'm short.I can be really shy.I know you have to speak up loud+clear in the military, so it might be a problem for me(maybe).Do boys/girls have to sleep in the same room?or is it both in a separate rooms??Oh and I can do push ups, and i can run, but i cant do sit ups.advice please?oh and one more question, can you bring books, or something to do?Sorry, for a ton of questions.I'm just concerned thats all.

newly enlisted on November 30, 2011:

This thread is great! I started my recruiting process about 2 months ago and this has really helped me decide. It is good to see other girls who have the same concerns as I did about joining. Im in the DEP program as of 11/22; just waiting on a job. Im so excited and I can hardly wait!

Jacqueline Felton on November 28, 2011:

Ive been considering going into the airforce for awhile now this article really helps. Ive been completely terrified that ill go in and completely fail in the physical part of it and it scares the crap out of me.I can run 2 miles straight and do about 15 sit-ups but push-ups no way. Any advice??

Britt on November 26, 2011:

I want to join after high school, but I have a small about one inch bald spot on my head from a hemangioma surgery from when I was a baby, will this prevent me from being able to join???

missytay on November 25, 2011:

I have been interestin in going to tha AF for a while now.. Cause i would get the ability to follow in my grandpa's footsteps..

- But i was wonding if i would still be able to go to college and get my degree of my choice.???

- Also how long does your contract keep you with the airforce??

/Thanks much for the article :)

Kayla on November 24, 2011:

Everything your saying is helping so much. I was suppose to join the air force not too long ago but as I was signing up and my dad ended up passing away out of no where. I ended up getting a tattoo behind my ear for him that I believe would not be covered by my uniform. My brother, who just graduated from the air force, said I would have to get a waiver but I'm still pretty terrified to get turned away. Do you have an idea if their more lenient?

Abby on November 23, 2011:

Thank you so much for writing about this! I've been searching the internet for days trying to find something like this. This will be a big help when i enlist for training.

Courtney on November 21, 2011:

So, I've read all of these comments but, I still have a few questions for you.. My Husband is due to EAS from the USMC in Aug of 2012 and I am thinking about joining. My questions are - 1) What is the policy for married women after all of the training i.e. would we get government quarters after getting assigned to a base?

And 2) Do you know anyone that had children when they went through basic? What happens if (Goodness forbid) the get really sick, or in a car accident? (Same for spouses)

Xenonlit on November 16, 2011:

Here's a tip: NEVER do a jody call that begins with this...

Two old ladies lyin' in bed

One rolled over to the other and said...

This is a fantastic and much needed hub! I tweeted it.

Amber Lee on November 13, 2011:

I had to ask you this. I'm 20 years old and I'm not a very good runner. I can do about 25 sit ups at the moment, but not very many push ups at all.

I want to go into the air force so bad that it kills me.. I catch my self thinking about it, when nothing calls for it. I have constant dreams about being in some sort of military branch. I didn't know what was going on with me... But anyways... The main thing that is scaring me... It take I won't meet their standards. That i will Fail.

I am a very sensitive person. I stand about 5'2 and I am very fit looking, but actually, I'm not all that much in shape. But I'm sure that I could lose the Sensitive crap because of how bad I want this.

I just need to confidence and alittle bit of advice. I know that I should really start running a little bit every day to get my self prepared and I need to do atleast 40 push up and 30 sit ups just before bed or when ever I have time too.

Another thing.. I got into a car accident a while back and I have some minor back and neck issues... Will this be a problem and will they no let me in?

alezis245 on November 10, 2011:

do you have to jump out of the airplane? I'm terrified of heights

crystal on November 10, 2011:

Me and my boyfriend are thinking about getting married and joining the airforce using the buddy system but im unsure about it. I like all the benefits but im a little scared about being deployed to Iraq or something. How many women actually get deployed? How much would I actulally be able to see him compared to not joining? Also would buddying up with him make it more likely for me to get deployed? And is there any jobs that are less likely to be depoyed? Thankyou for all the help!

Erika Lee on November 08, 2011:

Im 13 and i have been looking for information on the Air Force because i know i have some time still to think about it but i want to be prepared incase i do join . I have about 2-3 question , be preapared to type lol . I know when your in any of the Armed Forces you only have so much time with loved ones so would i be aloud to write letters and/or phone home when i need to hear my partents and siblings , or do they have rules agenst it ? And if i cut my hair , how short should i go , i have very naturally frizzy hair , any tips on frizzy hair ? And lastly , if i join the Air Force like in general is it bad like is it too hard or too much to handle and if so , would you be aloud to quit ? Not sayen i will but can you actually quit the Air Force ? Thanks , please try and answer this .

Kim on November 08, 2011:

i'll be joining next fall. every bit of this helped very much! i had no idea what to expect until i read this.

but i seen where you said above that they tell you the five main jobs. what are they?

Sam on November 08, 2011:

I've spent a couple days reading this and it has been very helpful. I am however curious, as to how long the shortest air force stint is. Could you give me a rough estimate of the least amount of years I could do?

Heather Nickless (author) from England on November 08, 2011:

Steph, that shouldn't be a problem and before you go in, you have the choice to choose a job. They give you a top 5 and then they will put you in one of those. I would suggest not going open general (any job) because more than likely you will become Security Forces (cops)

Steph on November 08, 2011:

Thanks so much for this thread! Great info. I am 18 and will be graduating HS in May and hope to join the AF right after. Two questions:

1) I have a theft charge that was dismissed and expunged from when I was 16. Me and 3 other friends stole bras. Stupid, I know. Will this effect me getting into the AF? Do I need to talk with my recruiter about it since it was expunged?

2) Is your job in your contract? Do most people know their job before they leave for basic?

Thanks so much!

Heather Nickless (author) from England on November 07, 2011:

Crystal- I never saw any and there were lots of meetings about what to do. They teach you what to do to protect yourself as well as if you report anything, it is handled VERY seriously.

Brenna- The military happens to be one of the few jobs that women get paid the exact same as men. Unfortunately, it is proven that in Civilian jobs, women are actually paid less for the same job. Women can still be at the top though.

Brenna10145 from trafalgar, indiana on November 06, 2011:

i'm only 13 now, but going into the U.S.A.F. is my dream. my cousin kyle was my inspiration. one of the reasons is because, i want to fight for our country, the other is because people have told me before that women cannot rank as high as men.

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