I’m just going to go ahead and say it: Zero week was and will be the WORST week of BMT in the history of BMT. There- I said it.
A lot of people say they don’t remember much of Zero week- I made sure to write down what I could while it was happening so that I could go ahead and blog about it later. Don’t ask me how I got away with this because I am not entirely sure (LOL). Here’s the gist of it:
MEPS/Getting to Lackland
So I will start with waking up the morning of November 19th, 2018. I woke up feeling a giant mix of emotions: nervous, excited, scared, happy- you name it, I was feeling it. I had my bags packed and was to drive up to the MEPS hotel. I had my mother drive me up and she ended up getting a room and staying. My brother, his girlfriend, my mother and I went out to dinner for what would be the last time for a short while. I kept it low-key that night and remember feeling like I couldn’t eat much because I didn’t want to be over at my weigh in the next morning. My roommate at the hotel was a girl heading to Navy boot camp so we shared the nervousness. I asked her what her job was and she told me she was going to be a Corpsman and that she would be going to Tech School at Fort Sam Houston. I told her that’s where I was hopefully going, as I was Open General hoping for Aerospace Medical Service (Which I in fact did get the job I wanted and am now at Fort Sam, with my Navy friend! Funny how that worked out). The next morning I was up early as heck. It was like any of my other times going to MEPS, we ate breakfast downstairs and then hopped on the bus. When we got to the MEPS building we went through the same routine. They did a final physical exam just to make sure nothing had changed and I signed my official contract and some more paperwork. My mother came to watch me officially swear in and say goodbye. We cried together and it was definitely a tough moment for me. She left shortly after and I waited with the other shippers for our bus to the airport. I had to fly solo despite having a few guys shipping to Lackland with me, so that sucked. I met some more Air Force peeps when I got to my layover which was nice. When I arrived to San Antonio, I didn’t really feel nervous. I felt ready to get this sh*t over with. I ended up getting off of the plane and heading straight to the food court- which was pretty much closed. There were HUNDREDS of trainees just waiting around. I ended up finding five or six of my friends from the Group Me I was in before I shipped out. For those of you who don’t know what Group Me is, it’s basically a chat group app. I was in a BMT Shippers group on Facebook and it was the thing to do- to make a Group Me and get to know other people shipping out the same date as you. So my Group Me ended up with around 50 people and we had chatted for a few months before shipping out. Almost 10 of them ended up being in my flight which was awesome. I ended up seeing a handful of them throughout my BMT journey and even more from the group here at Tech School. Anyways, I snagged two of my Group Me pals and we checked in with the Sgt that was taking everyone’s names and we had a seat on the benches. When the next bus came it was our time to board. The three of us were so nervous but so excited. The bus driver nicknamed “Coach”, I will never forget him. He gave the most inspirational, motivational speech I had ever heard in my 25 years of living and it was EXACTLY what all of us needed in that moment. We pulled up to the PRC (Pfingston Reception Center) which is basically a giant auditorium. Surprisingly there was not much yelling, just a lot of “HURRY UP LETS GO”. We all piled into the auditorium and it was pretty much dead silent, and awkward. Every couple hours or so, they would have a list of names up on the projector and that was your flight. We got to the PRC around 10pm (I think) and we didn’t get our flight until probably around 2 or 3am. After we had our flight together, they brought us to a room where they issued us our backpacks (Backpack Initiative- has some toiletries, and other necessary items) and our Apecs jackets. After that, we were told to sit in a line in the hall. It felt like we sat there for an hour. Then, the moment we all were waiting for: Our MTI walked in to pick us up. He was every trainee’s nightmare honestly. This was where all the yelling came in. He yelled and screamed at us until 5am, which was when we finally go to goto sleep. Before we went to sleep, we went to our dormitory- we got lucky and lived in Disneyland. We went to our wall lockers, figured out our beds, took our showers (which wasn’t as awkward as I imagined but was SOOOO cold) and finally went to sleep. A lot of us were hoping they’d have mercy on us and let us sleep, but boy were we wrong. They woke us up at what would become our new wake up time: 5:45am. Yup, 45 minutes of sleep.
The First Week: Zero Week
The first day of BMT was the LONGEST day of my life, no exaggeration. We started our day with chow. The MTIs were scary as hell. Here I was thinking Texas would be warm, It was cold as hell. Pro Tip: Grab two waters or get your ass chewed. We had our first uniform issue within the first two days which was nice because we looked ridiculous with these huge Apecs jackets and civilian clothes. It screamed “I am new”. There was LOTS of marching. We also got a BX run and our pay cards were issued. Dinner we got protein bars which was a nice treat. The rest of the week was appointments and briefings. We had our first inspection, got to call home and read our script with our address. After that we locked up our civilian luggage and turned in our cellphones. The second day was when we had urinalysis, blood draws, immunizations and what not. I believe the third day we went back for the peanut butter shots- I’m allergic to penicillin so they gave me azithromycin to take twice every Saturday. We also met our other MTI who was also a male day two. By day three, the chow hall was a less scary place which made it easier to eat- probably also because it was Thanksgiving. We had a second BX run zero week which I heard was not typically the case but hey we were happy to be away from the dorms any chance we got at that point. The biggest lesson I learned that week was DO NOT write letters. They will find them and they will tear you apart. I specifically wrote in my notes “Saturday got yelled at for having a letter written in my notebook”- I am laughing hysterically at this now LOL. Oh you also are assigned your flight “jobs” (basically chores). I got picked to be the 4th Element Leader, FANTASTIC.
Well that’s all I really have for Zero Week. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below or email me! I look forward to writing more the next coming weeks about the rest of my BMT experience.