BMT adapts during COVID-19: adds masks, shortens pipeline

  • Published
  • By 37th Training Wing Public Affairs
  • Gateway Wing



To prioritize safety and continue providing ready Airmen to fuel tomorrow’s Air Force, BMT is moving to a 7.5-week training pipeline. There’s no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges that require adaptability. The 7.5-week training program is one of many measures implemented at BMT to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

Over 1,400 trainees will become Airmen at BMT graduation April 9. In total, 30 flights are graduating: 14 are graduating at their 8.5-week mark alongside 16 flights graduating in 7.5 weeks. Graduating both classes in the same week creates additional space on the BMT campus and lessens the number of total trainees present at a time, allowing our team to further implement health and safety measures. 

A variety of approaches are being used to shorten the training length, such as decreasing time spent on certain drill and ceremony items (i.e. parade). To prioritize safety, we are transitioning from large-classroom settings to smaller-classroom settings, when applicable, which also saves on transit time. Another change is streamlining the uniform issue process, which not only saves trainees’ time but minimizes strain on our mission partners during this time.

BMT leadership team is also working to procure face masks that we can provide to our staff and trainees. In the meantime, we are using CDC guidelines for staff and trainees to fashion their own cloth face covering. 

As previously announced, the Gateway Wing will now receive a reduced amount of new trainees, approximately 460 to Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland each week. This week, 60 trainees shipped to Keesler Air Force Base to complete a BMT proof of concept. All new trainees will continue to be placed into a 14-day Restriction of Movement (ROM) as an added safety measure. ROM is included as part of the 7.5 week BMT pipeline. 

Throughout Air Force history, the duration of our pipeline has adapted to the needs of our nation. This environment is no different. BMT is adjusting curriculum to ensure we remain flexible as CDC health guidance develops. Regardless of the challenges we face or number of training days that make up our pipeline, our mission remains the same: to create ready and lethal Airmen who fuel the Air and Space Force.  

For the most up to date information and to watch BMT graduation live, please visit the USAF Basic Military Training and 37th Training Wing Facebook Pages.