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Air Force BMT, technical and flying training mission essential, to continue with mitigation

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U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training, technical training and flying training has been deemed mission essential and will continue operations with mitigation, Air Education and Training Command announced March 17. (U.S. Air Force graphic / Dan Hawkins)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – The Department of Defense response to the coronavirus outbreak continues to be dynamic and policy may quickly change, but as of March 17, U.S. Air Force's basic military training, technical training and flying training operations have been deemed mission essential and will continue with mitigation for COVID-19, Air Education and Training Command announced.

Additionally, all technical training and undergraduate flying training students will continue to out-process after graduation and travel to their first duty station upon completion of training.

“Force health protection is our top priority and we will continually be monitoring the current COVID-19 situation and our recruiting, training and education operations daily to ensure we are doing all we can to protect our Airmen and maintain mission readiness,” said Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of AETC. “Calm is contagious. We are making every decision in joint coordination with our sister services, and implementing mitigation tactics where necessary, with the commitment to preserving the ability of our servicemen and women to provide for national defense and current worldwide military missions.”

Until further notice, all BMT flights currently in training will continue until their training objectives are met, with no flight consolidation at this time.

In a change to routine basic military training operations, flights originally scheduled to graduate on Fridays will now graduate on Thursday, with the next graduation happening March 19.

All BMT graduation events remain private and closed to the public, with a live-steaming of Thursday graduation ceremonies on the 37th Training Wing Facebook page. The wing is also actively exploring other methods to allow families to view other BMT events online.

If significant changes to BMT operations occur, we will continue to disseminate this information.

For Airmen arriving at technical training, the owning installation commander will determine when it is safe for them to travel off base, based on the current health protection conditions and DoD guidance.

For flying training, all related training is scheduled to continue, including PCS and TDY for aircrew students and career enlisted aviators.

Specifically, pipeline training (i.e., water survival, centrifuge, SERE, etc.) will continue unless previously noted.  Additional measures are being considered to account for force health protection, such as altering class makeup in certain cases.

On graduation for both technical training and flying training students, losing units will coordinate with the gaining units to work specific mitigation and travel issues as needed. Overseas travel will be coordinated in accordance with DoD guidelines.

Finally, at Air University, both Officer Training School and the Reserve Officer Training Corps is considered mission essential.  Longer duration courses such as the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air War College and Air Command and Staff College will continue virtually as scheduled. 

All students attending courses at AU in a TDY status have or will be returned to their home stations.  These courses include enlisted and officer PME, as well as the First Sergeant Academy.  Where possible, students will continue their courses virtually and receive credit.

For Airmen scheduled to cross-train and attend training, travel guidance is still being worked and will be disseminated once available.

“This is rapidly evolving, fluid situation,” Webb said. “We need your patience as we work through every scenario so we can provide you with the best information possible.”

Airmen with questions should contact their immediate chain of command.