COLORADO SPRINGS — The U.S. Air Force Academy’s basic cadets marched out to the 3,300-acre training complex to begin the second phase of Basic Cadet Training (BCT) in Jacks Valley.

Once the basic cadets arrived they set up a tent encampment and prepared for the last two weeks of physically intensive military training.

The first of many challenges at the U.S. Air Force Academy is Basic Cadet Training (BCT). BCT aims to guide the transformation of new cadets, also known as basic cadets, from being civilians to military academy cadets prepared to enter a four-year officer commissioning program.

With a commitment to pushing physical, emotional and mental limits, basic cadets strive to develop into highly disciplined, physically fit fourth-class cadets (freshman), ready to be accepted into the Cadet Wing.

Cadets made the 5.5 mile march to Jacks Valley, where their field training will help basic cadets build self-confidence and teamwork skills. Second BCT also introduces cadets to small-unit tactics and firearms.

This six-week indoctrination program will conclude with the Acceptance Parade, which will mark the transition into the academic year. The parade will commemorate new fourth-class cadets into the Cadet Wing.

In a ceremony, the newly minted fourth-class cadets culminate intensive BCT core values, honor, ethics and human relations training by taking the Academy’s Honor Code Oath. The class of 2026 will pledge to live by the Oath’s principles.

While at Jacks Valley for the second phase of BTC, basic cadets will complete several courses:

  • The Obstacle Course
  • The Leadership Reaction Course – small groups of basic cadets solve problems and cross obstacles.
  • The Confidence Course – basic cadets must overcome high and particularly challenging obstacles that are not normally completed for time.
  • The Assault Course – a physically and mentally strenuous course where basic cadets are put through combat-like situations with simulated small arms fire, artillery explosions and obstacles.
  • Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense (CBRNE) – information on CBRNE and tear gas training.
  • Self-Aid Buddy Care (SABC) – basic first aid.
  • Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) – small arms training.

Second BCT is split into two distinct phases:

Days 25-34 Field Training

  • Evaluations and Surveys
  • Academic Year Preparation
  • Military Memorial and Heritage Touors
  • BCT Airman’s Coin Ceremony
  • Transition to Academic Year Squadron
  • Acceptance Parade

Day 35-38 Transition to Academics

  • Expeditionary Skills (First Aid, Combat Arms, Field Living Conditions)
  • Military Training courses
  • Capsone Field Training Exercise

First BTC takes pace under the instruction of upper-class cadets focusing on the transition from civilian to military life. Military customs and courtesies, the cadet Honor Code, Air Force heritage and room inspections may be new areas of study for most. However, all cadets are tested on their knowledge and must demonstrate proficiency in drill, rifle-manual competitions and parades.

During Field Day, squadrons compete against each other in events to test teamwork, such as distance races, log relays and tug-of-war. These activities, when combined with daily physical conditioning, prepare cadets to tackle the physical and mental demands of the second phase of BCT, the academic year and ultimately, life in the Air Force.

First BTC Training

Days 1-2 In-Processing

  • Swearing-In Ceremony
  • Uniform and Equipment Issue
  • Orientation Briefs

Days 3-5 Administrative Requirements

  • Helping Agency Brief (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Chaplain, Mental Health, Equal Opportunity)
  • Academic Placement Tests
  • Medical/Dental Clearance

Days 6-24 Profession of Arms Indoctrination

  • Physical Fitness Tests
  • Military Drill Movements
  • Military Customs and Courtesies
  • Inspections
  • Uniformed Code of Military Justice
  • Air Force Heritage Education
  • Air Force Capabilities Demonstration