BCT 2014: Cadre prepares basic cadets for their Air Force journey

  • Published
  • By Amber Baillie
  • Academy Spirit staff writer
Over 1,000 basic cadets are enduring strenuous military exercises, inspections and familiarization tests comprising Basic Cadet Training -- and hundreds of upper-class cadets are training and encouraging them every step of the way.

As the Class of 2018 pushes through BCT, approximately 400 juniors and seniors here are training them during First Beast, the first phase of basic training in the Cadet Area. About 500 upperclassmen will instruct them during Second Beast, the second phase of basic training in Jacks Valley.

"Everything the basics experience this summer, cadet cadre will too because they'll be right beside them," said Cadet 1st Class Nathan Peeler, BCT commander. "The better the Class of 2018, the better (the) reflection on our class. The new class is our legacy and I know everyone in my cadre takes pride in that."

During First Beast, cadets learn military customs and courtesies, the Honor Code and Air Force heritage, said Cadet 1st Class Carter Post, BCT assistant group director.

"Basics will hear from great role models this year," he said. "The speakers include Brig. Gen. Steve Richie, (the only) ace fighter pilot from the Vietnam War, and Gen. Steven Lorenz, former Air Education and Training Command commander."

Basic Cadet Training is as much a learning experience for cadet cadre as it is for the basic cadets, Post said.

"For some cadets, it's their first time being directly responsible for the professional development of young cadets," he said. "We want to provide basics an environment in which they're shown examples of what professional Airmen look like and are given the tools to be successful."

Basic Cadet Training is necessary for every cadet's professional development, Post said.

"It's the shock that everyone needs," he said. "Every military service has a basic training program for that reason. We break down their barriers they have coming in and build them back up so they can be leaders of character and cadets within this institution."

Juniors and senior cadets are interviewed and carefully selected for cadre positions. The Cadet Wing executive staff began planning for BCT in February.

"I see basic training as the most rewarding program at the Academy," Post said. "It is one of the most evident examples of positive change you can see in individuals you're actively developing."

The main focus of BCT this year is professionalism and consistency, Peeler said.

"We're looking to develop the next generation of professional officers," he said "I care about training the new class well because I care about the Academy and I want them to make it better."

Peeler said a defining moment for him as a basic cadet occurred July 4, 2011. He said he was listening to his flight commander speak on patriotism and freedom when the National Anthem began to play across the Terrazzo.

"I will never forget that," he said. "I still remember the first and last names of my cadre. They had a lasting impact on my first summer here and the example they set is what cadet cadre this year are looking to emulate."

Basic cadets are scheduled to march to Jacks Valley July 21 for field training, where they're introduced to a deployed environment, learn about combat First Aid, weapon skills, and test their physical endurance through intense, challenging activities.

"Basics need to find their sense of purpose and figure out why they're really here," Peeler said. "They also need to determine why they choose to stay."

The Class of 2018 will earn their cadet fourth class rank following BCT after taking the Honor Oath at the Acceptance Parade, Aug. 5.