Following the events of September 11, 2001, more and more young men and women began enlisting in branches of the United States Armed Forces, including the Air Force. After enlisting in the Air Force and filling out the necessary paperwork, these young people are called upon to participate in a ritual known as boot camp. Boot camp teaches them the skills and gives them the training they need to make a difference.
Some people assume that after enlisting in the Air Force, they're immediately given a time and date at which to attend boot camp, but it doesn't happen like that. After enlisting, they're called upon to fill out paperwork relating to their enlistment such as their date of birth, Social Security number, home address and information on their family or next of kin. You're then asked to complete a medical examination that tests your physical strength and ensures you're ready for the military.
The United States Air Force states that boot camp lasts just over six weeks. This doesn't include the time spent traveling to boot camp, the processing weeks, or the graduation time.
When you first arrive at Air Force boot camp you spend the first few days doing something known as in-processing days. This takes four or five days depending on how busy the boot camp is and the number of new recruits. The in-processing days cover everything a recruit needs to know about joining the Air Force, including information on how boot camp works. During this time you also receive your individual number and learn the rules of conduct.
Zero Week is the slang term for the first week spent in Air Force boot camp. Boot camp doesn't actually start until this first week is completed and it comes after the in-processing days. Zero Week is when recruits learn their way around camp, get their clothing and meet their trainers. This is especially important because the trainers work directly with each group until they finish boot camp. Boot camp officially begins on the end of the first week spent at the camp.
Boot camp can last longer, especially in the case of an accidental injury. If you're injured while attending boot camp, the Air Force grants you an allowance until you're healed. The downside to this is that you're expected to start boot camp over again rather than picking up from the moment when you first became injured. This can turn boot camp into a 12-week long experience or longer depending on how serious the injury is and how long you're injured.
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