My Airman

I am proud to say my son is now officially my airman. Today he and his fellow recruits transitioned from trainees to full fledged airman. It was a culmination of a tough 8.5 weeks. As well, as the culmination of the work he has put in since last summer.

Watching today’s ceremony was incredible emotional and uplifting. Words are not adequate to describe the feeling. Certainly, words cannot describe or fully encompass the emotions that come when you first tap out your airman. As we walked towards Jake this morning, the anticipation was beyond belief. When Mel rapped him out and they were reunited was a priceless moment.

We got to spend our day with our Airman on Base. While there’s plenty of stuff to do, it is also incredibly crowded with every other BMT family. Needless to say, we are looking forward to spending some quality time with Jake off base tomorrow. Of course, we’ll be attending the Airman’s Parade and taking pictures before leaving JBSA. Here are a few of my favorite pictures from today.

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We Made It

We made it to San Antonio after a long, but fun day of travel. Our AirBnB is the cutest old house in all of San Antonio and in close proximity to everything. We did a trial run out to JBSA Lackland, so I think we have a handle on where to go early tomorrow morning. And now after a long day of traveling we’re off to bed since we have a very early wake up call tomorrow.

WOT 8

I can hardly believe it, but WOT 8 is finally here!!! It feels like we dropped Jake off at the recruiter’s office a lifetime ago. At the same time, it feels like it was yesterday. Now our count down is in days!! I will see my boy in three days!!! Yahoo!!!!!!  Yay WOT 8!

For our airman trainees, this week is all about wrapping up loose ends and out processing. After all, he’ll be on a bus to tech school early next Monday morning. From a training perspective, they’ll learn about educational benefits, be briefed on town pass and continue to practice for graduation.

As Jake wraps up his BMT journey, we’re busy making preparations for grad weekend. Sadly, it appears that gluten is the devil for my stomach. I say sadly because there’s a cafe in San Antonio that serves a 3 lb cinnamon roll. Can you imagine how aromatic that roll must be? Yummy!!! There’s also a restaurant that serves a 42 inch pizza. Finally a pizza that will serve my entire family!

Lastly, we’re so appreciative of all the support we’ve received since Jake’s departure for BMT. Your support has meant everything. In this vein, I’d ask you to hold Goalielocks’ teammate in your prayers as he begins his battle against Osteosarcoma. Cole is a wonderful kid and his family is fantastic. As he and his family fight this battle it is imperative that they know they are not alone.

WOT 7

WOT 7 – can you believe it? That means there is only one WOT left! It also means that this week is BEAST week. BEAST stands for Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training. Basically, it’s a mock deployment where the airman trainees get to apply what they’ve learned in basic training. It’s basically a simulated war that runs from Tuesday to Friday.

For this week, they’ve left JBSA Lackland and are in the field. Where they’ll sleep in tents in one of four camps at the annex. The tents, in true Air Force style, feature heat and air conditioning. Additionally, while breakfast and lunch will consist of MREs, DFAC will serve them a hot dinner.

Of course, since this is taking place during a simulated war, their meal could be interrupted by incoming fire. The camps could be assaulted by conventional weapons from air or land as well as chemical and biological weapons. Additionally, the trainees are trained to identify IEDs and are exposed to them as part of the simulation.

For the entire time they are in the field, they have ruck sack, mopp gear, body armor and helmet, their canteen, 3 MREs and their M-16 rifle. They need to be ready to respond to any threat to their completion. Moreover, this is more than a simulation for the airman trainees. It is a competition! Doing well at BEAST means additional accolades and hopefully a town pass for Sunday.

WOT 7 is a fun week for the airman. I cannot imagine living in a tent for any amount of time, but I can see how they would enjoy it. I look forward to Jake sharing his BEAST experience with us when we see him in 8 days! Truly, I can’t hide my astonishment or my excitement that graduation is almost here. It feels like time has been crawling since he left!

As an addendum to last night’s post where I proclaimed my hatred of push-ups, I did 60 plus push-ups today. Apparently, Kayla Itsines thinks push ups are great. (I don’t understand her rhyme or reason for this because pushups are awful, but she does love them.) Thus I completed all 60 of the regular push-ups and 60 lay down push-ups that were a part of the circuit. By the way, lay down push ups suck even worse than the regular ones.

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Week 4 of the PT Challenge

It’s hard to believe we’ve made it to week 4 of the PT challenge! Since Jake left for basic it feels like time has both stood still and moved at light speed. What is not moving at light speed is me running. While I had a much better run this morning, I’m still far from the 14:26 needed. This morning my 1.5 mile run took 16:13 minutes. A big improvement over last week, but I still have a lot to do.

Since Jake is graduating next week, vice decided to continue the challenge until I get the required time. First of all, it gives me a specific training goal, which is important. Secondly, I am really enjoying my return to running. I’m not running six days a week like I was years because it would be too much for my body. Additionally, I want to ensure my exercise habits are more balanced than they were before my diagnosis. This means 3 days of BBG (strength training,) 3 days of running and 6 days of yoga.

As for the pushups and sit-ups, I still hate them. However, the strength I’ve gained by completing Kayla Itsine’s Beginner BBG program has helped me succeed here. I’m up to 33 sit-ups and 18 pushups. I could probably do more pushups, but they seriously suck. I did, however, do some vinyasa yoga today and plenty of chaturangas in class. That should make up for a lack of over achievement on the push up front.

Yesterday marked day 1 of the BBG program. After 8 weeks of BBG beginner, I thought I was ready to graduate. However, the first workout of the full BBG program kicked my arse. My legs were super sore this morning. Needless to say, the workout was super effective. Tomorrow will be BBG day two targeting the arms and abs.

While I’m busy trying to meet the PT standards Jake exceeded, my airman trainee is in the field for BEAST week. While he’s immersed in a mock deployment situation with his squadron, we’re counting down the hours until we see him again. My mom and I have been collaborating to ensure we have everything he made need for graduation weekend. I cannot wait! More on BEAST week tomorrow.

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WOT 6

WOT 6 is here, which means we only have two more weeks until he is finished!!! I can’t believe it’s been six weeks since we said goodbye. This week is a big one! In WOT 6 they take all of their tests to determine if they’ll graduate. Thankfully, he passed both the EOC written exam and clothing inspection. I haven’t heard from him since he took his final PT test Tuesday night.

In a couple of days, we should receive the WOT 6 call. I cannot wait. This is the call where the trainees confirm that they are graduating. Additionally, we’ll be discussing his graduation weekend wishlist. Moreover, we’ll be asking if there are airmen that need to be adopted for the weekend. Unfortunately not all families can make it to graduation, when we adopt an airman it ensures there’s no man left behind.

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In addition to this week’s testing, the trainees are preparing for BEAST week. In week 7, they’ll be in the field putting all their learnings to the test. To get them ready, they’re completing FEST (Field Expeditionary Skills Training) training this week. This training includes basic rifle fighting techniques, crawling through a sand course, moving in columns and using proper hand signals.

Additionally, they’ll be doing CBRE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and high yield Explosives) training this week. This training includes a trip into the gas chamber. The trainees start their experience with full MOPP gear and gas mask on, but must remove it once the gas is turned on. Finally, they must give their reporting statements before leaving the chamber. Sounds like a whole lot of fun that I don’t want to have, but this prepares them for what they may encounter in their careers.

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Since there is a WOT 6 phone call, you can be sure that my phone will be attached to my hip. I’m so excited to hear how he did on his PT test and if he’s ready for BEAST week. Additionally, I want to be sure we plan his graduation weekend in accordance with what he wants.

So far the only plans we have, outside of the graduation events, is making him homemade cookies. Please keep him in your prayers as he finishes WOT 6 and heads into the field for Beast Week.  Lastly, I have to give a big shoutout to the Air Force MOMS BMT groups for being an excellent guide this process.

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WOT 5

WOT 5 is here and I can’t believe if. On one hand, I can’t believe it’s going so fast. On the other hand, I can’t believe it’s going so slow. This week is the last full week of PT before Jake’s final PT test in week 6. Needless to say, this week is critical. As they complete this week, they will also be preparing for the written tests that are administered in WOT 6.

In WOT 5, the airmen are learning a lot including the Air Force’s mission. They’re learning about the laws that govern armed conflict. Additionally, this week they’re learning how to prepare, cope and recover from combat. Moreover, they’re continue to learn about their role as airman and how they are support the mission. It is well known that BMT is very tough physically, but there is a lot of knowledge the airmen trainees must take in and process before graduating.

Week of training five also brings the official “dress blues” photo. I can’t wait to see how he looks in his uniform. Clearly, I’ve already picked out a couple of spots where I can proudly display this photo. We’ll also have an opportunity to buy a disk of the photos taken from WOT 0 to WOT 6 at graduation. Hopefully, we can preview the photos before we have to purchase it.

Today was tough. I found myself missing him quite a bit. Unfortunately, I woke up with a horrible tension headache that left me feeling daffy for most of the day. Thank god I went back to my yoga practice in October. My Wednesday class is all about loosening how tight muscles and improving mobility. My teacher Christine is amazing and I’ve gotten some great tricks from her. Consequently, I used my therapy balls to release my neck muscles. It worked amazingly!

Clearly, today was an emotional day. One of those days that just smacks you in the fsa day for no reason. At any rate, I’m anxious to see and hear from Jake again. He doesn’t have a lot of time to call or write. Although, he should be able to call us during WOT 6.

And now have three more WOTs until graduation week. Twenty two days before we’ll see him in the airmen’s run; twenty three days until he graduates. Unsurprisingly, we’re counting down the days! Lastly, I’d ask to keep Jake in your prayers as he goes into the most critical phase of Basic Training. Please pray that he continues to be physically, mentally and emotionally strong as well prepared for his exams. Thank you for all your love and support. It is so appreciated!

Previous Training Weeks:
Week 0
Week 1
Week 2
Week 4

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BMT Family PT Challenge: Week Two

Today was test day for week two of my BMT Family PT challenge. Boy oh boy do I have some work to do on my running. I actually didn’t think I could do worse than last week, but here I was slower. To be fair, I ran more this week than last week. However, some may say my new “running pace” was stationary. Perhaps I need to adjust my strategy to include more walk/run intervals to improve my time.

In all due seriousness, the run may have technically been slower, but it went well. I’m using Couch25K to get back in running shape. Today’s run called for five minute warmup followed by running for eight minutes, walking for five, running for eight and a five minute cool down. Since I wanted to get a good time on 1.5 miles, I ran through part of the walking portion. That may not have been the best plan. Clearly, I don’t run like a gazelle.

As for the pushups and sit-ups, they both still suck. Nonetheless, I did make so good headway on the sit-ups. Today’s effort resulted in 26 sit-ups an improvement over last week’s 21. The pushups were a complete struggle, but I still made the cut with 14. Hopefully, I will hit the sit-up standard in next week’s BMT family PT challenge test. Importantly, there are only 24 days until we’ll see our Airman! I can’t wait!

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WOT 4

WOT 4 is here and I couldn’t be more encouraged. We are officially half way thru- a major turning point. As I noted in an earlier post, I was able to speak with my AB on Saturday. He’s a bit homesick, but loving it. His FLT members have become his family. Unsurprisingly, he continues to love the chow. I guess I would too if someone made me pancakes or waffles every morning. Also, it appears there continues to be chicanery with the protein bars.

This week he’ll be learning about the Airman’s code and how important it is to their culture. He’ll also be learning the different Air Force symbols. Additionally, they’ll be briefed on base liberty this week. In fact, they can also earn base liberty now, which means they may be able to call from the pay phones. If you’re so inclined, you can include a calling card in your letter. As with the previous week, they continue to do PT, dorm inspections, weapons work and their jobs.

Now that he’s in WOT 4 and progressing well, we’re starting to plan our travel. Ordinarily, we wouldn’t wait this long, but the Air Force recommends waiting until this week to purchase tickets. Tomorrow I’ll start looking for hotel and rental car, which will be oh so much fun.

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Meanwhile in Florida, we’re enjoying the cooler temperatures. Piggie and I went for another training run. It was absolutely brutal. Clearly, it’s gonna take some time to get back into fighting shape. Oh well, I’ll keep working away it. Tonight everyone’s home, so we’re just chilling watching Hulu. Have a great night!

Previous Training Weeks:
Week 0
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

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BMT Family PT Challenge

Since Jake’s in BMT and I’m missing him, I thought it would be fun to do a BMT Family PT Challenge. The only issue thus far is that I’m the only one in the family doing it, but don’t fear the others will soon join the fun. My yoga teacher Monica is joining me as well, so if you’re interested let me k ow. It will be a fun way to get fit for the new year.

Here are the standards (male is first, but not labeled.)

As you can see, the bar is set (by my standards) quite high, but I was hopeful that I retained a decent level of fitness. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Fortunately, I have four weeks before his graduation to master this stuff. I’ll be posting an update to my PT test challenge every Tuesday.

So here’s how my test broke down today

1.5 mile run: 16:56 – bad enough to get me booted from BMT.

Pushups: 28 – my one bright spot! Yay!

Sit-ups: 21 – disappointing result.

To be fair, I had nobody to hold my feet while attempting the sit-up feet. I should, perhaps, add an asterisk to the push-up total as there was nobody to judge the quality of said pushups. Can we talk about the run though? At least my sit-up performance was good enough to keep me in boot, but man did I suck wind literally and figuratively on the run.

Naturally, I had devise a plan of attack or improve these results. Action one, find somebody to hold my feet during sit-ups. Action two, train using Couch to 5k to regain stamina and speed. Of course I’ll be missing my running partner. For motivation, I’ll ruminate on the 5K we ran through the zoo, which is one of my favorite races. Action 3, suck less on both sit-ups and the run. Action 4, continue to work on my pushups and ensure they meet the Air Force PT standards. Lastly, document the hell out of the journey, so I can share it with my Airman after graduation.

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