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After completing basic training, Airmen begin technical training to learn the technical skills needed to perform in their career field specialties. Technical training is conducted primarily at five wings at four installations: JBSA-Lackland, Goodfellow and Sheppard Air Force Bases in Texas and Keesler AFB, Mississippi.
Each base is responsible for a specific portion of the formal technical training Airmen require to accomplish the Air Force mission. Highly trained instructors conduct technical training in specialties such as aircraft maintenance, missile maintenance, civil engineering, medical services, computer systems, security forces, air traffic control, weather, personnel, cyberspace support, intelligence, fire fighting, and space and missile operations.
The Phase Program is a program that Airmen will transition through while they are attending Technical Training. The Phase Program is different at each location and has different requirements in order to “phase up”. At the least, the Phase Program will be compromised of three phases. Each phase will have different requirements and different privileges.
While attending Technical Training Airmen are allowed to have visitors. However, each phase of the Phase Program will dictate what the Airmen can do with the people visiting them. Example: If an Airman is in Phase I they will be required to stay on base in a public place (cannot go to a hotel or house on base) with the visitor and will still have to wear their uniform. The visitor is not allowed to come past Charge of Quarters (CQ) in the dormitory the Airman lives in. If an Airman is in Phase III they will be able to wear civilian clothes and go off base with the visitor. They will also be authorized to spend the night off base with the visitor if they meet all the requirements set by their Technical Training location. At no point will a visitor be allowed to go to the member’s dorm room unless they have prior approval from the approving official. (i.e. MTL, Flight Chief, or Commander depending on location) Keep in mind that each location may have a different set of rules so please get with your local MTL to find out all the details for that location.
Depending on how long your Technical Training is will determine when you receive your assignment. Typically an Airman can expect to receive their orders three to four weeks after the start of training. If you have a long Technical Training such as six months, it could take a little longer to receive orders. Again, the length of your Technical Training will affect the timeline of when you will receive your orders. Keep in mind that each location may have a different set of rules so please get with local MTL to find out all the details for that location.
Upon completion of Technical Training there will be a graduation. Keep in mind that not all locations will allow family members to attend so please get with your Airman to find out when and where it will be. Each location is different and will hold graduation at different times.
What is the Technical Training rope system?
Technical training students participate in the rope system in student leadership positions. Student leaders are chosen according to a number of factors. They must have a high grade point average, excellent disciplinary records, the approval of their Leadership (Commander, Instructor, and Military Training Leader), and successful completion of any required training or course specific to the rope they wish to wear. Once accepted into the program, student leaders wear decorative braided cords on their left shoulders. Thus, these airmen are known as ropes. The ropes come in a variety of colors, and each color has assigned to it specific duties and responsibilities.
Military Training Leaders (MTLs) wear dark blue ropes. MTLs are an Air Force member (usually in the rank of Staff Sergeant thru Senior Master Sergeant) who has been selected for a developmental special duty assignment. Within each training squadron you'll find a Military Training Flight Chief (typically a Technical Sergeant or Master Sergeant), who leads the other MTLs within the unit. The MTL staff is responsible for the general supervision and discipline of the student population.
What are the student rope colors?
Below are some of the rope colors and their descriptions that are at most, if not all, technical training locations.
What are the responsibilities of a Green, Yellow and Red rope?
Green, Yellow and Red ropes are Airman Leaders. The purpose of an Airman Leader is to provide peer-to-peer mentorship and assistance to other Airman in Training (AiT); report health, morale, and welfare concerns to MTLs; and develop foundational leadership skills. They act on behalf of the Commander and MTL staff. As an Airman improves leadership skills and responsibilities while meeting the requirements, they can move up in rope color. Red rope is the highest Airman Leader position.
Green Rope - This is a student leader. A Green rope ensures accountability for cleanliness of assigned floor with correct arrangement of common area rooms and other areas; responsible for the conduct and appearance of assigned element while in formation; maintains daily/weekly detail roster to ensure inspection order at all times on assigned floor. Motivated students volunteer for this position. They are typically responsible for all Airmen assigned to a dormitory bay and/or element, and, and are generally the ones who march the students to and from class.
Yellow Rope - The Yellow rope is a "Flight Leader." They are typically responsible for all Airmen assigned to a dormitory floor and/or flight. It's one step up from the Green rope. They generally have greater responsibility. They are usually responsible to ensure the dormitories are maintained up to standards. Supervises the duty performance of Green ropes who show exceptional leadership skills can be selected for this position.
Red Rope - This is the "top" student leader (Flight/Formation Commander). They are selected from Yellow ropes who show exceptional leadership qualities. The "Red Ropes" usually work directly for the Senior MTL, and provides general supervision and guidance to the other student ropes. Supervises duty performance of subordinate ALs; instructs, directs, and assists in the military training of all airmen assigned; responsible for the safety, appearance, and timely arrival of all assigned formation; plans, schedules, and conducts meetings with all assigned ALs. This is the highest leadership position a student can obtain in technical school.
Black Rope - Student Drill Team and Special Activities Team.
Silver or Blue & White Rope – Drum and Bugle Corps.
Teal Rope - Sexual Assault & Awareness Support.
White Rope - Chapel Guide and Community Service Volunteer.
Airmen are typically released from final formation at around 4:30 p.m. each day. This is usually dependent upon any additional tasks they may be assigned. During a students off time they can expect to eat dinner, study, do laundry, maintain their dorm room, go to the gym or engage in any other personal activies they would like. For more information about a typical day in the life of an Airman, check out this video:
Dormitory rooms are shared with one other Airman and must be kept neat, clean, orderly, and professional. Once assigned a room, the Airman may personalize their bed, nightstand or desk as long as the display of pictures, posters, or items do not display the human body in an obscene, provocative, or pornographic manner or any image considered in poor taste (as determined by the MTL). Posters, pictures, or items portraying or advocating drug, alcohol, or tobacco use are also not allowed.
Airmen are allowed to have televisions, gaming systems, computers and laptops while at technical training. Wall lockers will be provided in the dormitory rooms, but all valuables must be locked away when not present in room. Airmen, at their own expense, may purchase internet service from a local internet provider.
Prohibited items include: Alcoholic beverages, firearms (includes BB guns, Air Soft and/or Paintball guns), fireworks, flares, knives with blades greater than three inches, pets, and weapons or weapon-like instruments, incense or candles, electric heaters, hot plates, coffee pots, any cooking devices, or similar appliances.
Airmen in Training are assigned a Military Training Leader (MTL) upon their arrival at their tech training base to assist them in their transition and in-processing to the base.
Airmen need to bring with them all of the items they were issued from Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB. Airmen will have the opportunity to shop at the Base Exchange and purchase any necessities on their first night at their new base.
Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas
Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi
Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas