Welcome to the next chapter in my mini-chronicle of my Air Force BMT Experience…Continuing with the story. Enjoy!
(The above picture is WAY worse than what my flight’s MTIs did but dorm-flipping happened, and I talk a bit about it in the next paragraph.)
About 3-4 days into zero week we were assigned tasks for cleaning details which put me in the utility crew (basically help laundry crew and hand out cleaning supplies for details). At one point during this first week, I lint rolled a squeegee for a solid 5 minutes because there was lint from the rags we used to dry it. This resulted in the squeegee, among other items in the dorm, tossed all about when the dorm got flipped at least once a day. First dorm flip was crazy but then it was better when our beds were left alone and it was just shirts or shoes, but all for what? Some of these reasons included, but were not limited to; shoelace out of place, an elusive hair in a cleaning brush, pillow not aligned properly, hospital corner just barely at the 45 degree mark, a t-shirt not rolled correctly, the list goes on. However it’s not the little mistakes that one person made, it was mine and everyone’s separate little mistakes which got our dorm flipped. Then we got roughly an hour to put it all back together again.
However, this week was the week that people were getting appointed as student leaders. So after a series of events involving someone, a little sudden onset illness, my EMT “magic”, and an ambulance, I was appointed as the flight’s Entry Control Monitor. (Because being an EMT is the same thing, I guess, but whatever floated their boat.)
Here’s the run down of this position in better formulated sentences than I could create thanks to about.com’s military section, “Quite simply, a member of your flight will be guarding the entrance of your dormitory 24 hours per day (2 hour shifts). This means that during basic, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to wake up in the middle of the night and spend the next two hours guarding your flight mates. (Be careful here……only certain people are allowed to enter your dormitory unescorted. These include your own T.I.s and members of your flight. It’s a favorite trick of other T.I.s to try and convince the Entry Controller to let them in unescorted, thereby giving you the opportunity of adding yet another 341 to their ever-growing collection)”.
To clear this up, 341’s are discipline/excellence slips. Most of the time you had to give one to the MTI for when you or your flight messed up, so I had to give a couple of mine up for not properly training people in Entry Control. This was pretty serious. The security of the dorm depends on the Entry Controller, and people get recycled or unsatisfactory ratings for the week of training because of unauthorized entries and other things relating to this. I was threatened frequently with both, unfortunately.
Anyway, there were MTIs that would be belligerently banging on the door, yelling and all sorts of fun stuff, not showing their authority to enter (Form of ID), and the like. Buuut, as the EC Monitor, I was tasked with scheduling the shifts AND training my flight…of 40 other women. I could say so much about this, but I won’t go too much into it. Anyone could’ve read the chapter in the BMTSG, looked in the binder, or read the script on our Entry Authority List board word for word with the index finger keeping track of where you’re reading. However, when the MTIs come along kicking, screaming, throwing 341s, threatening U’s for the week and being recycled, it’s easy to forget everything you know. Like I mentioned in my last post, it didn’t phase me but some of the others had some trouble. Whether it’s freezing up, crying, walking away to get someone who knew what they were doing to help (so me or maybe two other people), or other coping strategies (involving breaking military bearing) in stressful situations, these mistakes ended up with me getting into trouble… a lot. It was the beginning of a rough transition, and as a female flight it was easy for us to overthink things because we wanted it perfect. More often than not that got us yelled at and us starting to be less than pleasant to each other, at least I think. I’m not talking bad about my flight because I loved most of the ladies I was with, it was just what happened.
In other words and moving forward, “Ahhh F**k..” was pretty much all I said whether it was under my breath (or very slightly above my breath).
I don’t know where I’d be without some of the girls in my flight. They could make me laugh and smile even when I didn’t want to, but knowing that I couldn’t keep myself afloat without them reminding me to smile really took a toll. As a lot of people know, I’m almost always the one reminding people to smile and be happy… and, man, I was not happy there. Toward the end of this week, I ended up becoming so angry, anxious, frustrated, and a mix of other emotions from all sorts of events from before I left resurfacing and events happening in the moment. I hadn’t ever felt like this, this low. Everything from people turning left on a right face, getting yelled at for the same stupid things, coming back to the dorm and seeing it’d been flipped, and etc, I really wanted to push through all of this, but there was only so much I could handle. (I know, I’ve gotten the whole “That’s the military for ya”, “You get that anywhere”, “Not everyone has the same experience you do” so I get it.). The moment it hit me that something was wrong was when I was told I should go see one of the psychologists at Behavioral Health. Even the words “Behavioral Health” sounded bad, like I was some sort of psycho… I certainly felt like it. (Not saying that anyone with behavioral issues or mental issues is any sort of psycho or bad in any way.)
After a mental evaluation questionnaire, a surprisingly brief conversation with the psychologist, and a 30 ish minute wait; I was brought back to the psychologist and was told I was unfit to go back to training & I should be separated. There are plenty of variables to this that I can’t entirely go into specifics about, but I felt weak and ashamed. Like I just bailed out of something I could’ve easily gotten through without a second thought. However, I’m a firm believer in “Everything happens for a reason” so I told myself that God had a plan for me and there had to be a reason for this so I went with it. I signed my ELS (Entry-Level Separation) and was moved into new dorms that day… The separation dorms. Ahhh f**k.
Thanks for Reading!
Next post comes tomorrow 🙂
(http://usmilitary.about.com/od/airforcejoin/a/afbmtguard.htm… the link to the “EC Monitor info).