Air Force Recruit Beast Week

What is BEAST Week in Air Force Basic Military Training? It is a full five days of challenging and exhausting training. BEAST stands for “Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills and Training.” BEAST Week is designed to train your recruit in simulated combat deployment and help them understand what a real deployment may feel like or what they may have to go through. BEAST Week is located on the Medina Annex at the far end of Lackland Air Force Base, so it is still on the base, but your recruit has to take a bus ride there.

My name is Bridgette, a recent graduate of Air Force BMT, and I would like to share my memories of BEAST Week.

(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios)

What goes on at BEAST week? As soon as your recruit steps off the bus for BEAST week, they are constantly moving. For the entire week, instead of just working with their flight, they will be working with three other flights as well. For the next five days, your recruit will sleep in a very oversized tent on cots & sleeping bags with about 25 other recruits. And yes, they do have heat/air conditioners. 

The recruits will have to walk about 100 yards to the nearest restroom and look out for snakes and scorpions (my biggest fear!). One of the most significant events at BEAST Week is the obstacle course, also known as the CLAW. The CLAW has about 20 different obstacles that you may encounter while deployed, like rope climbing, crawling in sandpits, rope swinging into the water in all your gear, getting all your teammates across a river, and saving someone who has been captured. The obstacle course is designed to help you get your physical training in, of course, but most importantly, work as a team to help one another in difficult situations. 

Trainees exercise with combat moves as Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland trainees go through the CLAW course, part of the BEAST program in their basic military training on February 6, 2019.

Another activity is CATM, which stands for “Combat Arms Training and Maintenance” In other terms, this is shooting a weapon. Please do not be worried. We are trained on everything there is to know about the M-16 rifle, from taking it apart and putting it back together to loading it, clearing it, and shooting it. Your recruit will get a chance to prove they have learned how to use this weapon when you get to shoot at a target and try to get Marksman. The Marksman ribbon goes on your recruit’s Blues Uniform and shows that they got a 30/30 on their shooting skills. This is very difficult, to be very proud of your recruit tells you they got Marksman! 

(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios)

We were supposed to go on a long ruck the very last day of BEAST Week, but unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I do not believe they are doing this anymore, but they very well could be! A ruck is just a normal hike, minus the fact that your recruit will have a lot of weight on a book bag on their backs that they will be required to carry with them.

Chow time during BEAST Week is a new experience for most recruits. Breakfast and lunch consist of an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat)! This a package of mostly non-perishable foods. Each MRE will come with a main dish and then a bunch of side dishes/desserts. Your recruit has the choice to heat their main dish with a heating element that comes with it, but most of us eat the food cold. The best part about the MREs is sometimes you get one that has candy in it! For dinner, your recruit will receive a hot meal and the best part about BEAST week and served at the Air Force tech school’s amazing dining facility. 

BEAST Week is tough and validates the recruit has earned the title Air Force Airman. 

Categories: Air Force

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