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US Air Force (USAF) officials have announced that basic military training (BMT) will continue to be held at Keesler Air Force Base’s (AFB) secondary location beginning 2 June until the end of Covid-19 surge operations.
The decision to stand up BMT’s initial operating capability at the AFB under Detachment 5 of the 37th Training Wing at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland comes following successful proof of concept trial run at the base that started last month.
Every week, 60 new recruits from across the Total Force are set to arrive for six weeks of BMT until the need for surge operations diminishes.
USAF 2nd Air Force commander Major General Andrea Tullos said: “This capability was a deliberately developed option to disperse the delivery of BMT during contingencies to provide surge capacity and introduce agility in the training pipeline construct.
“This move also helps ensure the health and safety of our trainees and instructors by allowing proper safety controls, like physical distancing and deep cleaning.”
Furthermore, the move will provide relief to JBSA-Lackland’s training infrastructure.
Members of the 81st Training Wing and its detachments already perform more than 160 career field specialty training courses due to which Keesler was also selected for the training.
Tullos added: “Having trainees finish BMT and head across the base to begin technical training eliminates the need to transport trainees to another location after graduation. Limiting movement effectively limits the number of times our Airmen could potentially be exposed to Covid-19.”
Keesler BMT has been designed to be sustainable for longer periods if required.
No other plans are in place to continue BMT at multiple locations following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keesler AFB is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and is home to the 81st TRW, 2nd Air Force, the US Air Force Reserve’s 403rd Wing.