BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, Louisiana --
Once trainees step off the bus at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas for basic military training they are expected to internalize a lot of new information in a short period while their mental and physical fitness limits are being tested.
So new recruits in the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana get plenty of preparation in the unit’s Development and Training Flight, part of the Air Force delayed entry program.
“The 307th Bomb Wing’s DTF is designed to ensure non-prior service recruits meet minimum fitness standards and are equipped with the basic knowledge required to graduate basic military training”, said Master Sgt. Austin Ashey, 307th Bomb Wing DTF chief.
The curriculum is designed around a trainee’s basic military training start date, which determines how long they will be assigned to the 307th DTF, he said. The master training plan includes lessons such as Air Force customs and courtesies, doctrine, and history.
Brianna Ortega, an element leader assigned to the 307th DTF, described a typical drill weekend as training for basic training.
“I have an understanding of what to expect and what I need to do to get where I want to be,” said Ortega.
This is because trainees start their day with group exercises like running, push-ups, and sit-ups. The remainder of the day consists of a mix of classroom and hands-on instruction that mirrors basic military training. Trainees are provided housing and meals during the drill weekend and earn pay and points toward retirement.
Ortega said she sees the benefit of learning things like the Air Force rank structure, chain of command, and the Air Force Creed in the DTF’s less stressful environment. The program also echoes the importance of attention to detail by incorporating specific questions and orders to follow, she said.
Most people don’t like going into the unknown, so the existence of a delayed entry program definitely makes a difference for those who are thinking about joining, but don’t for fear of the unexpected, said Ortega.
The 307th BW has elevated the training program so that every aspect of life is dialed in, from finance to family, before leaving home for basic military training. Once assigned to the 307th DTF, all a new recruit needs to do is show up for drill weekend, said Ashey.
“The Development and Training Flight program gives trainees the knowledge as well as the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual balance to be successful, not just in their military careers, but for the rest of their life,” said Ashey.