United States Air Force Academy

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Basic Cadet Training

A cadet cadre walks through smoke

The first of many challenges at the U.S. Air Force Academy is Basic Cadet Training (BCT). This is a six-week indoctrination program to guide the transformation of new cadets, also known as Basic Cadets, from being civilians to military academy cadets prepared to enter a four-year officer commissioning program. With a commitment to pushing physical, emotional and mental limits, Basic Cadets will develop into highly disciplined, physically fit fourth-class cadets (freshman), ready to be accepted into the Cadet Wing. Basic Cadet Training is split into two distinct phases:

First BCT

First BCT takes place in the cadet area under the instruction of upper-class cadets, focusing on the transition from civilian to military life. Military customs and courtesies, the cadet Honor Code, Air Force heritage and room inspections may be new areas of study for most, but all cadets are tested on their knowledge and must demonstrate proficiency in drill, rifle-manual competitions and parades. During Field Day, squadrons compete against each other in events to test teamwork, such as distance races, log relays and tug-of-war. These activities, when combined with daily physical conditioning, prepare cadets to tackle the physical and mental demands of the second phase of BCT, the academic year and ultimately, life in the Air Force.



  • Swearing In Ceremony
  • Uniform and Equipment Issue
  • Orientation Briefs

Administrative Requirements

  • Helping Agency Brief (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Chaplain, Mental Health, Equal Opportunity)
  • Academic Placement Tests
  • Medical/Dental Clearance

Profession of Arms Indoctrination

  • Physical Fitness Tests
  • Military Drill Movements
  • Military Customs and Courtesies
  • Inspections
  • Uniformed Code of Military Justice
  • Air Force Heritage Education
  • Air Force Capabilities Demonstration
Second BCT

Second BCT expands upon the military and physical preparation of First BCT, taking cadets to Jacks Valley, a 3,300-acre rural training area on Academy grounds. Cadets march to and from Jacks Valley, where activities push their physical limits to build self-confidence and teamwork skills. Second BCT also introduces cadets to small-unit tactics and firearms. It concludes with the Acceptance Parade, marking the transition into the academic year and acceptance of new fourth-class cadets into the Cadet Wing. In a ceremony associated with the parade, the newly minted fourth-class cadets culminate the intensive BCT core values, honor, ethics and human relations training by taking the Academy’s Honor Code Oath and pledging to live by its principles. It’s the end of a rigorous six weeks, but only the beginning of the new and different challenges that each succeeding year at the Academy will bring.


Field Training

  • Expeditionary Skills (First Aid, Combat Arms, Field Living Conditions)
  • Military Training Courses
  • Capstone Field Training Exercise

Transition to Academics

  • Evaluations and Surveys
  • Academic Year Preparation
  • Military Memorial and Heritage Tours
  • BCT Airman’s Coin Ceremony
  • Transition to Academic Year Squadron
  • Acceptance Parade


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.