Adjusting to changing norms

  • Published
  • By Natalie Stanley
  • 926th Wing

 The Air Education and Training Command has taken measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among Air Force basic military trainees attending basic military training.


The number of trainees who report for duty have gone from around 800 to 460 and the length of basic training has also been shortened. 


These changes have affected all who were scheduled to attend BMT, including the members of the 926th Wing Development and Training Flight.


“We’ve had to contact the members and let them know their dates might be changed,” Tech. Sgt. Sabrina Yeghiazarian, Development and Training Flight program coordinator. “They’re not cancelled they’re just rescheduled.”


For Christopher Mitchel, 926th Wing DTF member, starting BMT a week late didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for becoming an Air Force Reserve Airman.


“At the end of the day it’s an exciting journey and I’m ready to start,” he said as he prepared to ship out to BMT April 6, 2020.


Once at BMT, trainees will be required to follow all social distancing and health requirements put in place including donning face masks. At the beginning of April, the Pentagon announced that service members are instructed to wear cloth face coverings when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public areas or work centers.


“I’m glad they [BMT] are taking the extra precautions, I understand why it’s being done,” he said “I have also been following the steps to stay healthy here at home.”


While the military adapts to the new COVID-19 landscape, Yeghiazarian said her students are still working hard to be prepared for BMT and that the motivation among flight members is still high.


“The morale seems to be pretty good, but they were disappointed they couldn’t come to the April UTA,” she said.


Since the student flight hasn’t been able to meet in person, Yeghiazarian has been sending her future Air Force Reservists military training they can work on at home.


“It’s been hard, the flight is there to teach them how to become members of the Air Force, but how do you do that when you aren’t there with them,” she said. “But I’ve been giving them PT stuff they can do at home and keeping in contact with them, pretty much every other day.”


Her flight members have even been interactive with her by sending videos of marching and facing movements for analysis.


“You just have to come to a new norm right now to figure out what do to do and how to do it,” she said.  


While the new norms continue to shift, Yeghiazarian will continue to prepare her DTF trainees for their BMT journey.