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Air Force BMT introduces innovative Capstone Week

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Air Force basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph-Lackland will soon restructure its current eight-and-a-half-week course to make room for a new five-day program called Capstone Week, beginning Jan. 27 with trainees entering BMT.

"Our basic military training today does a tremendous job developing young men and women into Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. “But as we looked at the current structure, we saw an opportunity to further enhance those Airmanship skills with a final week focused entirely on character development. These are core skills every Airman needs to be successful in our Air Force."

The first Capstone Week, which will culminate the BMT experience, begins March 23.

Capstone week’s purpose is to give the Air Force one more critical tool to further develop professional, resilient Airmen who are inspired by heritage, committed to its core values, and motivated to deliver airpower. While BMT will still provide new Airmen the same high level of military and physical training, Capstone Week serves to specifically concentrate on character building.

"We developed Capstone Week to better prepare Airmen for their first assignments by reinforcing our core values of integrity, service and excellence through an interactive environment emphasizing character development, the profession of arms, and our Air Force heritage,” said Gen. Robin Rand, the Air Education and Training Command commander. “The course focuses on the importance of every Airman treating each other with respect and dignity, better preparing them to become skilled warriors ready to do our nation's business."

Capstone Week will provide instruction and promote discussion among Airmen in a more interactive forum than the highly-structured BMT curriculum, according to Kevin Adelsen, the AETC Capstone Week program manager. Some key areas that Capstone Week will cover, include wingmanship, resiliency, leadership and followership, sexual assault prevention and response, the warrior ethos, and how Airmen can balance their personal and professional lives.

Adelsen said BMT schedule adjustments allowed for condensing the current training to make room for the Capstone transition period.

"We'll retain all current BMT requirements in the first seven-and-a-half weeks and use the Capstone Week to reinforce and expand on previous training," Adelsen said.

Following the traditional Airman's parade at the end of BMT’s first seven-and-a-half weeks, trainees will transition that weekend to a Capstone squadron. Airmen will move into a revamped training facility on Lackland and experience Capstone Week in an environment far different from that of the first part of BMT, according to Adelsen.

Capstone will be a BMT graduation requirement, Adelsen added. Immediately following Capstone, Airmen will travel to their designated technical training locations across the United States.

"BMT's Capstone Week will ensure Air Force basic training remains a center of excellence and our Airmen remain the best fighting force in the world," said Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, the AETC command chief. "It's a fantastic and innovative way to ensure we prepare Airmen to become men and women of character - great wingmen, leaders, citizens and warriors. This is not going to be the 'last' week of BMT, but rather the first week of the rest of their Air Force careers.

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