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Capstone/Airmen's Week Press Release

 

 

 

CAPSTONE

  • Air Force BMT introduces innovative Capstone Week

By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang , Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs / Published January 22, 2015

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Air Force Basic Military Training at JBSA-

Lackland will soon restructure its current eight-and-a-half-week course to make room for a new five-day program called Capstone Week, beginning with trainees entering BMT Jan. 27.

"Our Basic Military Training today does a tremendous job developing young men and women into Airmen," said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody. "But as we looked at the current structure, we saw an opportunity to further enhance those Airmanship skills with a final week focused entirely on character development. These are core skills every Airman needs to be successful in our Air Force."

The first Capstone Week, which will culminate the BMT experience, begins March 23.

Capstone week's purpose is to give the Air Force one more critical tool to further develop professional, resilient Airmen who are inspired by heritage, committed to its core values, and motivated to deliver airpower. While BMT will still provide new Airmen the same high level of military and physical training, Capstone Week serves to specifically concentrate on character building.

"We developed Capstone Week to better prepare Airmen for their first assignments by reinforcing our core values of integrity, service and excellence through an interactive environment emphasizing character development, the profession of arms, and our Air Force heritage," said Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Education and Training Command. "The course focuses on the importance of every Airman treating each other with respect and dignity, better preparing them to become skilled warriors ready to do our nation's business."

Capstone Week will provide instruction and promote discussion among Airmen in a more interactive forum than the highly-structured BMT curriculum, according to Kevin Adelsen, AETC Capstone Week program manager. Some key areas that Capstone Week will cover include wingmanship, resiliency, leadership and followership, sexual assault prevention and response, the warrior ethos, and how Airmen can balance their personal and professional lives.

Adelsen said BMT schedule adjustments allowed for condensing the current training to make room for the Capstone transition period.

"We'll retain all current BMT requirements in the first seven-and-a-half weeks and use the Capstone Week to reinforce and expand on previous training," said Adelsen.

Following the traditional Airman's parade at the end of BMT's first seven-and-a-half weeks, trainees will transition that weekend to a Capstone squadron. Airmen will move into a revamped training facility on Lackland and experience Capstone Week in an environment far different from that of the first part of BMT, according to Adelsen.

Capstone will be a BMT graduation requirement, Adelsen said. Immediately following Capstone, Airmen will travel to their designated technical training locations across the United States.

  " BMT's Capstone Week will ensure Air Force basic training remains a center of excellence and our Airmen remain the best fighting force in the world," said Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, AETC command chief. "It's a fantastic and innovative way to ensure we prepare Airmen to become men and women of character - great wingmen, leaders, citizens and warriors. This is not going to be the 'last' week of BMT, but rather the first week of the rest of their Air Force careers."

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Copied this from the Tailspinner, Lackland AFB weekly newspaper: Airmen's Week: Transition from trainee to Airman

By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Strang

Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Capstone Week officially changed its name to Airmen's Week May 11, to better reflect the training and trainee mindset expected of the week following basic military training. "The name Capstone Week was a working title," said Kevin Adelsen, the Air Education and Training Command Airmen's Week program manager. "The name change does not mean a change in strategy. It symbolizes a trainee's transition from basic military training to earning the title of Airman."

During the inaugural week of Capstone, Airmen and training staff were polled for ideas. The top five names were given to Gen. Robin Rand, the AETC commander, who chose the final name. Col. William Fischer, the 737th Training Group commander, said the new name mirrors the training and mentality of the Airmen who graduate from the course.

"The name Airmen's Week reflects the idea that the week belongs to the Airmen as they go through the program," Fischer said. "We encourage them to take ownership of their first professional military education experience." More than 7,000 Airmen have attended Airmen's Week since it began on March 23 and the feedback from the Airmen has been very positive. "Airman after Airman has stated that they feel better equipped for the challenges of the Air Force after taking the course," Fischer said. "However, the Airmen have also made suggestions to improve the training. We take that feedback very seriously because it helps us identify where we need to refine lessons to reach our target audience." Fischer explained that the addition of Airmen's Week is one of the first steps in implementing the chief of staff of the Air Force's broader culture of excellence initiative.

"We created an opportunity to enhance Airmanship skills in a post- BMT week, focused on character development," Fischer said. "BMT teaches them what they must know, be able to do and how to behave.  Airmen's Week teaches them to think critically. The course strengthens their resilience and makes them more self-aware." Brig. Gen. Trent Edwards, the 37th Training Wing commander, said Airmen*#39s Week is helping to change  the culture of Airmen and shaping the future of the Air Force. "Airmen's Week reinforces the fact that an  environment of professionalism, dignity and respect is absolutely mission critical," Edwards said. "Ultimately, we hope to give our Airmen the strength, character and resiliency to make decisions that are consistent with our Air Force core values. The goal of Airmen's Week is to produce more professional, resilient Airmen, inspired by our heritage, committed to the Air Force core values, and motivated to deliver airpower for America."

Fischer added that through this educational construct, Airmen are given opportunity to self-reflect and self-actualize in order to internalize the Air Force core values. With Airmen's Week focused on character development, measuring success of the program isn't as quick and easy as a grading a written exam.

"Our measure for success is not a test score this week, but better Airmen for the operational Air Force," Fischer said. "We look forward to feedback from the field on how the program is doing." Fischer said that Airmen's Week helps AETC stay committed to ensuring the Air Force has the finest, highly disciplined, educated and critically thinking warriors in the world.