You Can Fly: How to Prepare for Success in the Airforce and Other Military Training
Joining the Air Force or any other branch of the military is no small commitment. Only 7.3 percent of living Americans have served. But there's a reason most of the people in our country honor military veterans, whether they served overseas in combat or simply did their duty stateside.
However, if you want to be acknowledged and respected for serving in the military, you have to make it in. Despite always wanting more service members, the various branches of the military can only bring in qualified members. You must be physically and mentally qualified for military training before you'll be allowed to join the ranks.
Keep reading for a quick guide on preparing for the first steps toward your military career.
1. Study for the ASVAB
One of the first steps toward qualification for military training is the completion of the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). This academic exam is rated on a 99-point scale. Applicants must achieve a minimum Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score on the exam to be qualified for their intended branch of service.
The minimums AFQT scores are as follows:
- Air Force - 36
- Navy - 35
- Army - 31
- Marines - 32
- Coast Guard - 40
As with most things in the military, there are exceptions to the rules. Under certain circumstances, applicants with lower scores may be able to acquire waivers. The ASVAB covers the following topics:
- General science
- Arithmetic reasoning
- Word knowledge
- Paragraph comprehension
- Mathematics knowledge
- Electronics information
- Auto & Shop information
- Mechanical comprehension
- Assembling objects
As most military applicants are those directly out of high school, the exam focuses largely on natural cognitive skills as well as high school-level curriculum.
There is also a SIFT exam for those looking to get into military aviation. We recommend looking into SIFT prep for those going this route to make sure you know what you're getting into academically.
2. Get in Shape
Basic military training or boot camp will always demand a standard of physical fitness. It doesn't matter if you're trying to be a special operator or an IT specialist, you have to get through boot camp first. Your physical preparation will dictate how easily you accomplish this.
During boot camp, you can expect vigorous exercise in the forms of running and calisthenics. If you're not physically conditioned for military training, you're going to have a rough time. We recommend training for three to six months in advance before boot camp.
3. Start Moving With a Purpose
One of the most difficult things to assimilate to in military training camp is moving quickly. Most people take getting dressed, brushing their teeth, or making their bed for granted. In boot camp, you'll have mere minutes to get ready for the day.
Start moving with a purpose now. Every task you perform, do it quickly and accurately. Time yourself getting ready in the morning and strive to get faster each day.
It may sound silly, but the more efficiently you can move and complete tasks, the easier your life will be during military training.
4. Assimilate to Early Wake-Up Calls
No matter what military training program you're in, don't expect to sleep in. In boot camp and most secondary schools, you'll like to have a 5 am - 6 am wake up call. If you're someone who likes to sleep in or has a hard time waking up early, you need to start practicing now.
Military training focuses on teaching teamwork and team accountability. If you sleep in and show up late, it's likely your whole team or class will be punished.
5. Start Practicing Attention to Detail
While it depends on who you ask, most people agree that Navy SEAL training (BUD/s) is the hardest military training the United States has to offer. Anyone who's been in BUD/s will tell you the key to success is attention to detail.
Attention to detail applies to every aspect of your day, such as:
- Shining your boots
- Making your bed to the instructor's standards
- Perfecting your uniform
- Listening to instructions
- Carrying out tasks
In military training, you'll quickly learn that a lack of attention to detail causes a lot of problems. However, in the military, attention to detail keeps people alive.
6. Let Go of Your Ego
One of the heaviest things we carry around as human beings are our egos. They are the things that make us feel entitled, prideful, vengeful, angry, annoyed, offended, etc. While there is certainly a place for these feelings (sometimes), military training isn't it.
Your instructors will get in your face, tear you down, beat you down, and humiliate you. It's part of the process. Embrace it for what it is and stay humble.
Realize that boot camp isn't the place for you to stand up to the man or voice your opinions. Additionally, you'll sometimes be assigned tasks that are designed to fail. These are to test your resiliency and examine how you handle failure.
7. Learn Some Self-Calming Techniques
However, you must also address the human side of yourself. You can't just act like a robot the entire time you're in military training. You will experience stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, and even despair.
For this reason, it's vital to learn some self-calming techniques. These will help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations and perform, despite intense emotions.
8. Make Sure You're Ready to Commit
Finally, remember that signing your name on the dotted line of a military contract is the real deal. You need to make sure you're ready to commit the next several years of your life to this job.
While it can be frightening to commit so much, remember why you want to join in the first place. Even if you only end up serving a couple of years, the experience you gain in the process will be priceless.
Are You Preparing for Military Training?
Do you have big plans for your future? Whether you're thinking about going into military training to serve your country or are looking at other forms of personal growth, we can help.
Our blog is dedicated to helping people like you become better human beings. Check out some of our other articles for more information on improving your physical, mental, and emotional discipline.