Speak Like an Airman:Understanding Airman Language

air force Military Training Instructor yaelling at trainee

Entry into the Air Force is a different world when compared to civilian life. This includes language. To make it easier for you to understand your Airman's language, we've compiled a list of words that your Airman may use the next time you see him or her. Whether you have a son or daughter in Basic Training or have a cousin who is a ten-year Air Force veteran, this list is for you.

    AB(Airman Basic)-The lowest enlisted rank in the Air Force.

    ABU(Airman Battle Uniform)-The camouflage uniform worn by Airman which consists of a hat, blouse, trousers and boots

    AFEF-Air Force Enlisted Families

    Base Liberty-Privelege granted to Airman that allows them to travel anywhere on base during off-duty hours

    BX-Base Exchange

    BMT-Basic Military Training

    Blues(Dress Blues)-Air Force uniform consisting of light blue shirt or blouse and dark blue slacks or skirt for females

    Service Dress- Uniform consisting of light blue shirt or blouse, dark blue slacks/skirt and dark blue coat

    CAC(Common Access Card)-Military Identification Card

    CBRNE-Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Enhanced Conventional Weapons

    Coin Ceremony-A ceremony held on the last Thursday of a BMT cycle of flights who are about to graduate. MTIs award the trainees with a commemorative coin signifying the end of Basic Training and the trainees officially become Airmen

    Chow Hall- Dining facility where Airman eats breakfast, lunch and dinner

    DFAC-Dining Facility

    Cover- this has multiple meanings- the hat worn by an Airman is a cover. Cover can also be a term used meaning to align with the Airman in front of you while in a marching formation.

    CQ(Charge of Quarters)-Airmen in charge of the dorms for the day.

    Dorm-place where Airman lives

    Element-A subdivision of Airman in a flight. A flight at BMT consists of four elements

    Element Leader-Leader of an element of a flight. All Airman within an element report to their element leader.

    Flight-A basic tactical unit in the Air Force. At BMT A flight consists of about 35-60 Airmen.

    Guide(Guidon Bearer)-An Airman who carries the guidon usually in front of the unit of Airmen, next to the Commander

    Guidon-A flag representative of a unit of Airman. A guidon contains information about the unit's designation.

    Hydrate-The act of drinking water in order to prevent dehydration.

    Latrine-the bathroom

    Morning Colors-The raising of the United States Flag and the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" signifying the official start of the Duty-day. All personnel are required to stop and render the appropriate greeting in respect to the flag such as saluting, or placing a hand over your heart.

    MTI(Military Training Instructor)-These are the Senior Airman NCOs(see next entry for NCO) who are in charge of training your Airman. They are noticeable by their "Smokey the Bear" styled hats.

    NCO(Noncommissioned Officer)-An Airman who is a Staff Sergeant or above (See Rank Structure and insignia below)

    Parade(Pass in Review)-Ceremony where a Top-Level commander reviews a unit of Airmen and consists of Airman in military formations. The Airmen march by the commander as he or she reviews them.

    Parent Challenge Coin-A coin awarded to an Airman from a proud parent a challenge to take what they have learned in Basic Training and continue to excel throughout their career. It is also a reminder to the Airman of the support they have from their parents. Coins available here.

    PT(Physical Training)- any physical exercise that an Airman may participate in

    Reveille-The song played each morning on military bases as a "wake up call" for service members

    Retreat-Ceremony held at the end of every day where the United States Flag is brought down, folded and safeguarded through the night

    Squadron-a unit consisting of two or more flights

    Town Pass-Privelege granted to Airmen that allows them to spend off-duty hours outside of the base

    Trainee-A person that is going through BMT

    Web belt- the green belt worn by Airmen that holds personal supplies such as canteens or ammo

    Wingman-An Airman's buddy. Airman are required to travel with a wingman throughout BMT when not with their flight.

    Zero-Dark-Thirty-A general time designation meaning really early in the morning. May refer to any hours between 0000 hours and 0500 hours (12am and 5am)

This is only a basic list of words that we compiled but enough to get started for those who are new to the Air Force. This list can go on-and-on. Please comment if you have anything to add to the list (Please keep it clean).

Support the development and construction of the new Airman Heritage Museum at JBSA-Lackland with a purchase from the Basic Training Store.

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