Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Academy Life : Noon Meal Formation

Noon Meal Formation

(Copied from the AOG Webguy's blog) (Dustin isn't in any of these pictures, just used for reference)
You'll often see on the schedule that they are going to, forming-up, or departing after the noon meal formation.  What's the background on this?

Well,  if you talk to graduates from previous Academy classes, after they tell you how hard the Academy was back in their day, they'll tell you how they used to march to Mitchell Hall three meals a day.  Better yet, they had it so hard back then, sometimes they would march there when it wasn't a meal time, just to "toughen them up".  But I digress...

Well, the middle meal of the day (lunch), happens somewhere around noon.  Hence, the term Noon Meal.  Throw in that the cadets have to "form up" in squadrons to prepare to march, you get "Noon Meal Formation".

The Basics form up in their squadrons in front of the dormitory they are living in - Vandenberg Hall.  This is the dormitory on the north side of the Terrazzo. (See Vandy Hall in the back?)
Once the music plays they start to march west, towards the Honor Court. (See back behind these basics from the Class of 2013 last year?  That part of the Terrazzo is the Honor Court.  The Honor Code is written on it)
When they get near the Honor Court, just before the Chapel, they turn south and walk in front of the Chapel Wall.  (That way, the tourists can gawk at them.)  About halfway down the Chapel Wall, the squadrons perform and "Eyes Right".  The Squadron Commander salutes with his/her saber when it blues, or just salutes in ABUs.
The Basics look to the right at a 45 degree angle.


This is wear the commander will stand to review the squadrons as they pass.  Once they approach Sijan Hall (the dorm on the south), the squadrons turn east and head for Mitchell Hall.

Academy Life: Day 2

26 June 2010 (Saturday)

0430 Reveille
0445 - 0600 PT
0600 - 0700 Hygiene
0700 - 0800 Breakfast
0800 - 0915 Briefing From Superintendent
0915 - 0945 Nutrition Briefing
0945 - 1000 Transit to Training
1000 - 1200 Morning Activities
1200 - 1210 Transit to Formation
1210 -1230 Formation
1230 - 1300 Lunch
1300 - 1330 Transit to Training
1330 - 1800 Afternoon Activities
1800 - 1815 Transit to Dinner
1815 - 1845 Dinner
1845 -1900 Transit
1900 - 2200 Evening Training
2200 - 2230 Hygiene/Write Letters
2230 TAPS
This morning, the basics are in a dark briefing room.  The Superintendent, General Gould, is briefing the entire Class of 2014 (Like A Machine!) at one sitting. I have heard that the briefing should be motivational.  He can be quite inpiring since when he brings in some of his personal experience from his cadet years and his time on active duty. (every time the  Superintendent would say "2014", the Basics would yell out "Like A Machine!"  This would be their motto for the summer.  Anytime someone says, "2014", the Basics will yell this motto out.) When he finshed, they received a briefing from the nutritionist.  You'd be stunned by the number of calories they pump into these basics each day in order to give them the energy to go from 0430 hours to 2300 hours, day after day, with quite a bit of physical exertion.

Today will be an unusually uneventful today.  Remember when you watched an Officer and a Gentleman in the 80's and they were making their beds and polishing their shoes and brass getting ready for the big inspection???? Well, the basics aren't even to that point yet!!!  They are still learning how to roll their socks so when you place it in the drawer it looks like the socks have a little smiley face on them.  Basically, they are learning where each and every uniform piece goes in their room so when they get to the Academic Year, everything will be "just so". Later, the basics watch as cadre brief the "smiley face socks" and use a ruler to measure underwear that is folded into a perfect square. They went for almost an all day training session on what I've mentioned before: making beds; folding clothes; stowing gear properly; learning to march.  Not the most exciting things, just the basics.  Still trying to transition them from civilian to military.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Academy Life: Day 1 Swearing In Ceremony

25 June 2010 (Friday)
 0430 Reveille
0500 - 0600 Breakfast
0600 - 0700 Welcome Briefing by Leadership
0700 - 0800 Learn Drill Maneuvers
0830 - 0830 Form-Up for Swearing-In
0830 - 0900 Swearing-In
0900 - 0930 Transit to Training
0930 - 1230 Morning Activities
1230 - 1300 Transit to Mitchell Hall
1300 - 1330 Lunch
1330 - 1400 Transit to Training
1400 - 1800 Afternoon Activities
1800 - 1900 Dinner
1900 - 2000 Optional Chapel or Personal Time
2000 - 2030 Transit
2030 - 2230 Flight Drill/Flight Time/Instruction/Urinalysis
2230 TAPS

This is the day the Basic takes his oath that he /she will uphold the Constitution of the US. 
What will happen at the ceremony?
Short answer:  Parents congregate on Chapel Wall overlooking Terrazzo.  Basics march on to the grass facing the Chapel Wall.  There will be some remarks.  Then the basics will raise their hands and take the oath.  There will be much rejoicing.  Then they will march off.  The parents will look at each other and say "Now what?"  Then, they'll get in their cars and drive home or to the airport.  for the basics, they begin "the daily grind."
So starts the day:
They woke up early.  0430 I beleive.  Then they had some breakfast.  They then received a briefing from their leadership.  Then, they needed to practice.  If you think about it, that makes sense.  Three days ago they were civilians laying on beaches.  They inprocessed yesterday.  Today they had to march in military formation, and render proper salultes.  That training went from 0700 - 0800.

Next, they formed up (stood in big squares according to squadrons), and waited until their queue to begin.
{OK, side note: You may have noticed the Basics wearing their ID on a lanyard.  You may have also noticed that there are different colored lanyards.  Each color represents the squadron that the basic will be in for the summer. Dustin is in the Interceptors Squadron.  The squadron is then comprised of smaller groups called flights.  For my scouting friends I think it is is equivalent to squadron/troop and then flight/patrol.}
Finally, the band started playing and the basics began marching on to the grassy patch in the middle of the Terrazzo.  They formed up facing the Chapel Wall and the reviewing party.  The reviewing party had everyone from the Superintendent, to the Commandant, plus many others.  Of course, although the Superintendent holds the higher rank, the ceremony itself was conducted by the Commandant since BCT falls under the Commandant's role as being the head honcho of military training.

Next, they raised the large American Flag that they raise during swearing-in.  The Commandant gave his speech and administered the Oath.  The basics responded.  Then, they ended the ceremony and marched away to their various morning activities. After the squadrons went their separate ways, they began "squadron-specific" activities. Interceptors received training on PT and went to Cadet Issue. (Cadet Issue gives them everything from uniforms to bed sheets).
The basics finished the morning activities and headed over to Mitchell Hall for some elegant cuisine and some training on how meals are conducted.
They started afternoon activities at 1400. Interceptors did the AFT (Aerobic Fitness Test) and had the briefings on the agencies that assist cadets.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Academy Life: Inprocessing Day

24 June 2010 (Thursday)0700 - 1830 Inprocessing
1830 - 1930 Cadre Briefing
1930 - 2130 Flight Time
2130 - 2200 Hygiene
2200 TAPS

Inprocessing Day: The first day of the rest of their careers!  I received a call from Dustin first thing that morning in which he told me that he loved me and that he was going to go ahead and turn his phone off for the duration of the summer.  I told him I loved him and of course I couldn't hold back the tears.  He assured me he would be ok and that I didn't have to worry, he was going to stick it out no matter what!  I told him I was proud, which he already knows, but I just could help but say it for the umpteenth time that day.
Inprocessing is a very big ordeal.  This is when the Basic is taken from his old world and introduced to a new one.
 First, you drop off your bag.  OOOhhhh!
Then you wait in line.
Then you get the Weclome Brief.
When you're ready, you go upstairs smiling!
Then you come downstairs not smiling.
Next you head out the back of the building.
Next, a cadre member explains the War Memorial.
Then, they receive the briefing about the '59 Challenge Bride and go across.  This briefing is given by a member of the Class of 1959 - the first graduating class.
Then, they enter the bus......This is a short video to illustrate some of what they had in store for them. Class of 2014 Inprocessing  
{No, Dustin isn't in any of these pictures. Of which I found out after looking at about 4000 pics to find him. These are from the AOG Webguy's Blog to illustrate what happens.}
After the Bus:
Up in the cadet area...
First, you get off the bus at the base of the Core Values Ramp.

Then you stand on the bright, pretty footprints painted on the ground.

And if you have any questions whatsoever, there is always a friendly cadre member ever willing to offer assitance.

And once you are completely ready, you take a leisurely stroll.

Up, up, the Core Values Ramp.

Now to the Serious Business:

First, you...wait in another line.  (Go Air Force!)

Then, (wait for it), you get a bright red hat.  Yea!  We're part of the Red Hat Society!!!!
No, you're a Red Class.


Some get their rooms quickly.

Others get some Gatorade or "high quality H2O".

Then, we get some shearing completed.

Of course, no one is excluded.

Here are photos of the Basics going through data verification

Then some photos of Basics heading to pick up medical records
The Basics went through an oath to state that they choose to be at the Air Force Academy.

Here are some Basics getting their athletic shoes and boot issues.


Next, uniforms are issued. Ah, now they are starting to look official...

Basics are then grouped into their summer squadrons.  Here are some Basics practicing their 7 Basic Responses.  For anyone out there who may not be familiar with this term, this means there are 7 standard responses that the Basics must recite when responding to their Cadre.

They are:
Yes, Sir/Ma’am
No, Sir/Ma’am
No excuse, Sir/Ma’am
Sir/Ma’am, may I ask a question?
Sir/Ma’am, may I make a statement?
Sir/Ma’am, I do not know.
Sir/Ma’am, I do not understand.

Academy Life

As I had said before, I will try to chronicle the life of a Basic Cadet at the USAFA.  I will try to catch up on all of what Dustin has done up until now so there will be several posts.  Please bear with me. I will also be using excerpts from a blog at the Academy to help with the info, since I, by no means, know anything about what is going on there.
Life isn't going to be easy for him.  Yes, he has a leg up on things because of the training he has already had in the NJROTC and also thru Boy Scouts.  This will be a lot harder than either of those tho, mentally and physically, and also emotionally (don't tell him I said that). So I will go back in time to the first day that he left.

Wedenesday June 23rd 10 am:  We drove Dustin to the airport so that he could fly out to the Academy.  Yes this was a very hard day for me.  I know, I know, he has been away fom me most summers with a week or more here and there for BSA smmer camps and NOAC, but at least I knew he would be back very soon.  I also knew that he could contact me if he really wanted to do so. (Such as the phone call from the top of Mt Phillips on his Philmont trek!)  I digress.  We sent him on his way and I talked to him off and on as he departed DFW and then arrived in Colorado Springs, CO. He called to tell me that not only he was roaming around but several other new appointees were milling around looking for the shuttle to take him to the Academy.  That being said, he did find his way and then promptly forgot to let me know he at least made it there in order to wait for the sponsor family that he would stay with Wed nite.  He did call me before bedtime to say he was fine and that he would call me the following morning to say good bye for 3 weeks. It was a long night for me.

So I decided to become a blogger

My life has taken so many turns in the past few months that at times my head is swimming.  Lost my job, oldest moved out, we moved to a new place, and then my youngest flew off to start his basic cadet training at the US Air Force Academy.  So this journal or almost daily dialog will be about my various thoughts and events happening to me.  I will post a lot about the life of a Basic Cadet  and what he has to do each day throughout his Academy career.
My thoughts may be rather random at times, but isn't that what blogging is all about?