Frequently Asked Questions
Why does Basic Cadet Training last six weeks?
The transformation of civilian appointees into military academy cadets in under six weeks is no small undertaking. Every day of Basic Cadet Training is essential to this rapid assimilation into military culture, standards and values. Additionally, the U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense require that mandatory lessons, training, placement exams, medical appointments, orientations, uniform and equipment issue and other actions for all Basic Cadets take place within a very specific timeframe after arrival at the Academy. These requirements currently take a total of 38 days to accomplish.
Why does Basic Cadet Training start the last week of June?
Basic Cadet Training does not start earlier than the last week of June, as many incoming cadets do not graduate from high school until mid-June. Basic Cadet Training ends the first week of August, before the academic year and intercollegiate athletics training begin.
Why do upper class cadets train new cadets?
As part of our mission to develop leaders of character, the Academy uses Basic Cadet Training as a leadership laboratory for upper class cadets who receive specialized training from military training instructors to prepare for their role as instructors, known as Cadet Cadre. The Cadet Cadre execute the Basic Cadet Training mission under the supervision of officer and enlisted experts. Completing summer leadership programs such as Basic Cadet Training is a graduation requirement for upper class cadets.
What happens if a cadet can’t complete Basic Cadet Training?
All cadets are required to meet Basic Cadet Training standards and complete the training. Every opportunity and attempt are made to assist, mentor and train cadets so they can complete the training. If leadership feels a cadet is unable to physically or mentally complete the requirements after every attempt has been made to assist them, the cadet will meet a board of officers who will recommend disenrollment, deferment to the next Basic Cadet Training class, or continuation of Basic Cadet Training.
What is the military commitment for graduating from the Academy?
Information on the commitment to the Air Force and Space Force is available on the Admissions webpage.
What is the difference between BCT Part 1 and Part 2?
BCT Part 1 is conducted in the Academy’s campus area, otherwise known as “on the hill”. During BCT Part 1, basic cadets have medical exams, placement tests, room inspections, and security paperwork. They will learn basic military skills to include marching and saluting, and receive a book called Contrails that has quotes and military knowledge. Also, basic cadets will take a baseline athletic fitness test (AFT) and physical fitness test (PFT). BCT Part 2 is located in Jacks Valley where the basic cadets assemble and reside in tents. BCT Part 2 includes outdoor challenges such as the assault course, obstacle course, and leadership course. Learn more about Basic Cadet Training.
Can guests attend the Swearing-In Ceremony?
The Swearing-In Ceremony for the basic cadets is typically held the day after In-Processing Day at Stillman Field Parade Field. Family and guests are welcome to attend the event where basic cadets form up on the parade field starting with the first flight (A) on the left (or, east) to the last flight (usually, H) on the right (west). To ensure you’re sitting in the best location to see your cadet, verify their flight information prior to attending.
Can guests bring signs to the Swearing-In Ceremony?
Signs of encouragement are welcome at the Swearing-In Ceremony. Please be conscientious of the size and placement of any signs while in the stands so not to obstruct others view.
How do I communicate with my cadet during Basic Cadet Training?
Mail is the only way to communicate with basic cadets during Basic Cadet Training (BCT). We encourage you to mail letters and cards often. We suggest numbering the correspondence you send (e.g., Letter #2) and annotate your cadet’s BCT squadron after their name to help mail reach them faster. Basic cadets will have time to write letters during BCT and are encouraged to do so by their trainers.
When will Basic Cadets have access to their cell phone?
Personal cell phone and mobile devices are prohibited during Basic Cadet Training (BCT). Basic cadets typically have their cell phones returned shortly after returning from Jacks Valley, prior to Acceptance Day.
If there is a family emergency during BCT, how do I contact our Basic Cadet?
If you have a family emergency while your cadet is participating in Basic Cadet Training (BCT) and lack access to their personal cell phone, contact the USAFA Parent Liaison at 1-877-268-3383 or your cadet’s Air Officer Commanding (AOC) or Academy Military Trainer (AMT) at 719-333-3828. If the Parent Liaison is out of the office, call the Command Post at 719-333-2910.
What is Doolie Day Out (DDO) and can I meet my Basic Cadet on that day?
Doolie Day Out is a day of rest for basic cadets where they can go to a sponsor family’s home to eat, sleep, and relax. The Doolie Day Out assigned sponsor family may or may not be their permanent sponsor family. If you (parent) are local, you must become your cadet’s sponsor to be authorized to pick them up on Doolie Day Out. Parents and family from out-of-state should not return to meet their cadet. Cadets will; however, have access to their cell phones if you wish to speak.
How many squadrons are in BCT?
There are normally eight BCT squadrons. Each basic cadet is assigned to a squadron, A through H and will wear a colored hat to match their squadrons when wearing their utility uniforms. Within each squadron cadets are divided into four flights (a, b, c, d).
Here are the names and colors of the temporary BCT squadrons.
A: Aggressors (light blue)
B: Barbarians (orange)
C: Cobras (purple)
D: Demons (green)
E: Executioners (Navy blue)
F: Flying Tigers (red)
G: Guts (maroon)
H: Hellcats (yellow)
Do Basic Cadets get personal time during Basic Cadet Training?
Yes, Basic Cadets will be able to use personal time for personal hygiene, to study, read and/or write letters, clean their dormitory room, seek necessary medical attention if needed, and/or prepare for the next day.
What are the aptitude standards during Basic Cadet Training?
Basic Cadets must demonstrate satisfactory aptitude throughout BCT. Squadron Air Officer Commanders (AOCs) are responsible for subjectively assessing future potential. They do this in conjunction with the cadet chain of command. Aptitude is not graded during the first three days of BCT and AOCs make the final determination as to whether or not a Basic Cadet has earned a failing weekly grade. Below is what is taken into account for these recommendations.
Inspection Types during BCT. AM Inspections (AMI). All Basic Cadets must pass a minimum of two AM inspections. Failing three or more areas or receiving an auto-failure constitutes a room failure.
Saturday AM Inspection (SAMI). Basic Cadets who fail this inspection are counseled on failed area(s) the day the inspection is completed and acknowledge the failure. Basic Cadets are reevaluated on the failed areas and referred to the Sq/CC for further counseling and aptitude review for subsequent failures.
Written Evaluations. All Basic Cadets must score 80% or above on the standardized tests of foundational Air Force knowledge (e.g., chain-of-command, standards & discipline, customs & courtesies). Drill. Basic Cadets are evaluated on individual drill movements in groups of four or less. Substandard performance requires remedial drill training and reevaluation.
Military Bearing and Adaptability. Basic Cadets must have military bearing and must conduct themselves in 14 a manner that respects the chain-of-command as well as military order and discipline.
What is expected of Basic Cadets as far as physical training?
The Academy requires cadets to be physically fit. Basic Cadets arrive in various states of physical fitness and have to adapt to altitude and climate changes. Athletic intramural competitions are conducted to develop physical fitness, sportsmanship, teamwork, cohesion, skill, stamina and the competitive spirit.
Similar to the intramural season during the academic year, Basic Cadets will represent their squadrons in various sports and will compete against other BCT Operations Squadrons. All squadron sports are co-ed. Varsity Sports teams will consist of recruited athletes and walk-ons. This offers a safer and more competitive environment for those Basics Cadets desiring to compete at the intercollegiate level. BCT intramurals culminates with Field Day. All Basic Cadets must participate in at least one Field Day sports event.
What is an AM Inspection (AMI)?
All Basic Cadets must pass a minimum of two morning (AM) inspections during BCT. Failing three or more areas or receiving an auto-failure constitutes a room failure. The Basics prepare their rooms for inspection.
When the Cadets come in to inspect the room, they are saluted before entering and when they leave. Each room is looked over for roughly 2 minutes and while the room is being inspected the Basic Cadets must stand at attention in the middle of the room, otherwise the cadets are allowed to be at ease in their rooms. Whether that means working on homework, talking amongst themselves or quietly visiting with other Basic Cadets in their rooms.
What is looked at? The Cadets leading the inspection have rules and will measure their bed fold, their folded shirts and shorts and check for dust in certain areas of the room. As well as the floor for cleanliness. Learn how cadets make their bed.
What is Saturday AM Inspection (SAMI)?
Basic Cadets who fail a SAMI are counseled on failed area(s) the day the inspection is completed and acknowledge the failure. Basic Cadets are reevaluated on the failed areas and referred to the Sq/CC for further counseling and aptitude review for subsequent failures.
What is the score required for written evaluations during Basic Cadet Training?
All Basic Cadets must score a minimum of 80% on the standardized tests of foundational Air Force knowledge (e.g., chain-of-command, standards & discipline, customs & courtesies) and Space Force minimum information such as mission, vision, and rank structure.
Do Basic Cadets learn marching movements/drills?
Basic Cadets are evaluated on individual drill movements in groups of four or less. Substandard performance requires remedial drill training and reevaluation.
Please explain what Military Bearing and Adaptability during Basic Cadet Training means?
Basic Cadets must have military bearing and must conduct themselves in a manner that respects the chain-of-command as well as military order and discipline.
Jacks Valley Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Jacks Valley training courses required for Basic Cadet Training graduation?
Mandatory BCT graduation requirements include successfully completing the Obstacle, Assault, Confidence and Leadership reaction courses. Self-Aid Buddy Care and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense are conducted in-line with U.S. Air Force requirements.
What does the Assault Course involve?
The Assault Course teaches rifle fighting and pugil-stick techniques and competition in controlled scenarios through demonstration-performance method via the use of obstacles/stations.
What is involved in the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM)?
CATM trains Basic Cadets on the nomenclature, assembly/ disassembly and safe operation of the Colt M-4 rifle and provides Basic Cadets with an opportunity to fire the M-4.
What is the Confidence Course Flight?
The Confidence Course Flight develops and assesses Basic Cadets’ self-confidence, physical dexterity, teamwork and cohesion by guiding them through obstacles, varying in height and complexity, as individuals and in teams.
What is the Leadership Reaction Course (LRC)?
The LRC provides Basic Cadets and upper classman Cadets with experiences in functional leadership, effective followership, group and individual problem solving, and group dynamics by working through numerous exercise scenarios.
What does the Obstacle Course involve?
The Obstacle Course requires Basic Cadets to negotiate physically challenging obstacles to assess their physical fitness, agility, confidence and awareness of personal capabilities.
What does the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (CBRN) training involve?
CBRN trains, orients and assesses Basic Cadets on fundamental CBRN and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) skills and assists with getting basics prepared for gas training.
What does Self-Aid Buddy Care (SABC) Training involve?
SABC trains Basic Cadets on the principles of SABC and assesses their ability to satisfactorily demonstrate injury recognition, response, treatment and transportation through a variety of situations.