A large volume of trainees are processed through the Basic Military Training Facility each year with thousands of trainees being in different phases of training at any given point of time. With all of these people processing through the facility, coupled with the high stress environment, a large portion of trainees tend to get sick while at BMT. This situation is not unique to the Air Force. This occurs at other branches of military’s training facilities as well.
There are several different names that have been used to label this illness. When I went through BMT back in 1988, it was called “the crud”. I have also heard it called “BMT Crud”, “BMT Flu”, “Boot Camp Crud” and “Boot Camp Flu”.
Shortly after the trainees arrive at BMT, they will get vaccinations, in part to help ward off or minimize the effects of getting ill while at BMT. In some cases, trainees may get additional vaccinations if a large number of trainees in a flight get ill. In my particular case, almost everyone in my flight became ill so we all ended up getting penicillin vaccinations and were even quarantined for a short period of time.
In addition to the vaccinations, there are specific protocols in place at BMT to minimize illness. This includes hygiene practices, sanitation practices, etc.
While at BMT, trainees are able to report to “sick call” in the event they are hurt or not feeling well. When this occurs the trainees condition will be evaluated and they will get the appropriate treatment.
If the condition will impact the trainee’s ability to continue training, the trainee may be removed from training and placed in the 319th TRS for treatment and to recuperate. The fear of this occurring, does cause some trainees not to immediately report an illness. The trainees in these instances want to try to “tough it out” versus face the possibility of being recycled.
In the event a trainee is seriously injured, requiring hospitalization or is removed from training and placed in the 319th TRS, the trainee will be allowed to immediately notify a member of their family of their change of status.
Family members will usually not be immediately notified if the injury or illness is not serious or will not result in a change in graduation date. In these instances the trainee will be able to notify their family during their next available phone call or via a letter.