Air Force Basic Training Tips for Family and Friends

A young woman hugs a young man returning from Air Force basic training with a backpack on his back in front of a home.
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Before you depart for Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT), it's important to discuss the process to reach you with your family and friends. It's understandable that 8½ weeks is a long time to be apart from someone, and emergencies happen, but there are protocols in place. The goal is to ensure AFBMT recruits and their families and friends are prepared to follow the established protocols.

Family Emergencies

You can't use a cell phone or receive phone calls during basic training. You can't receive them even if there is a family emergency. Emergencies must first be certified through the American Red Cross. Before you leave home, tell your family that if an emergency arises (a real emergency, such as a death or serious illness in the immediate family) they should contact you through the Red Cross. Your family should know your full name, your Social Security number, and your flight address. If they haven't received your address yet, don't worry about it. As long as the Red Cross knows you're in AFBMT, they'll find you.

Mail Call

Within a week or so of arriving, you'll be sending a "pre-printed" postcard home that has your flight address on it. You'll only be sending one of these to one person, so make sure that person knows how to get a hold of all your other friends and family members with the information. Tell them that you will not have much time to write home during basic training.

It would be surprising if you can find the time to send more than one or two short letters to your loved ones at home. However, make sure your friends and family know that it's imperative that they write to you as often as they can. Basic training can be a lonely, stressful time, and a cheerful letter from home can be just the thing to pick up a lonely recruit's spirit.

Make sure they know not to send you any gifts or "care packages" during basic training. That'll involve you getting yelled at by your training instructor (TI) and it will then be thrown away (if perishable), or put away in the storage area until you graduate from basic if it's not perishable. Also, keep in mind that the T.I. hands out mail to everyone at the same time, during evening mail call, and will often read messages in public view aloud.

Phone Calls 

Make sure your family and friends understand the AFBMT phone call policies. It's possible that you'll sound scared during the first phone call you'll be allowed to make. Tell them not to be worried.


Finally, tell them that they will receive an invitation to your AFBMT graduation, along with all the details they will need to know, during your sixth or seventh week of basic. They should make plans to attend, if possible, as it is an experience they (and you) will never forget.