Surviving Air Force Basic Training

Drill and Marching

••• Official USAF Photo

During the first couple of weeks of Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT), you will spend several hours on the drill pad with your T.I. learning how to perform military drill. Drill consists of certain movements by which a military unit is moved in an orderly manner from one formation to another or from one place to another.

Air Force Basic Military Training Drill Video

You will learn how to march in formation together, how to change direction at the same time, how to start at the same time, how to stop at the same time, etc. Everywhere you and your flight go in basic training, you'll march in formation. Everywhere!

Marching from A to B

Marching as a group is an effective way to travel from training event to training event during Basic Military Training. Most of all drill is instilling discipline and order in each individual in the flight (small unit). You cannot get from A to B without moving together as a team. First and foremost, the military is a team, and being able to conform to the team's standards is critical to all members of the military.

Drill teaches you not only to perform as a team but helps your flight get ready to look good during the final graduation parade. Somewhere in the middle of basic training, your T.I. will probably teach you some marching "jodies." A jodie is kind of a marching song. These are sung during non-formal marching events typically done when traveling or running as a group. These songs / cadences are done when you are doing PT and not marching to the beat of the drummer of the band in formal appearances.

Below are a couple of examples of common Air Force jodies:


When my granny was 91
She did PT just for fun

When my granny was 92
She did PT better than you

When my granny was 93
She did PT better than me

When my granny was 94
She ran 2 miles and ran 10 more

When my granny was 95
She did PT to stay alive

When my granny was 96
She did PT just for kicks

When my granny was 97
She up and died and double-timed to heaven

She met St. Peter at the pearly gates
Said to St. Peter "Sorry I'm late"

St. Peter said with a big white grin
Drop down granny and give me ten


Jody Jody look and see
Look what the Air Force done to me

Tried to give me Navy blues

But I don't need those tattoos
Tried to give me Army greens

But I don't need that Army scene
Tried to make me a marine

If I were that I think I'd scream
Issued me Air Force blues

Now I'm Air Force through and through

However During Formal Drill Events

When you are in a dress uniform, travel as a group is expected to be much more formal and crisp. The "jodies" will typically not be done when in the parade area and you will march to the beat of the drummer or patriotic military piece of music. Here are some of the parade drill movements you will be tasked with learning and performance perfectly as a group in unison:

Attention - Stand straight and tall and arms to the side and heels touching and toes pointing at 45 degrees to the left and right.

Parade Rest - Stand straight with arms crossed in the small of the back and legs apart at about shoulder width.

Left / Right Turn - "Left turn March" - The group you are with will be marching and have to make turns. The front will initiate the turn on a particular spot and the remaining members of the group will turn on that same spot when they reach it pivoting 90 degrees.

Composition of Drill Commands

Drill Movements with Weapons

Attention - stand at attention with weapons (or without) touching the outside of the right foot parallel to the seam of the trouser.

Port Arms - Move weapon from the ground with one hand and grasp weapon with the other hand with the weapon diagonally across the front of the body.

Present Arms - Move weapon to center of the body with butt facing down and trigger assembly facing away from the holder.

Right Shoulder Arms - Move weapons to the right shoulder, holding the weapon with just the right hand at the butt of the weapon.

Left Shoulder Arms - Move weapons to the left shoulder, holding the weapon with just the left hand at the butt of the weapon.

Inspection Arms - Similar to port arms but open the chamber of the weapon so group leader can inspect all weapons.

Fix Bayonets - With one hand (right) remove bayonet from sheath and place on the end of the weapon while other hand (left) holds the weapon.

Parade Rest - Similar to parade rest without a weapon but the right hand will hold the weapon extended at a slight angle in front of the right side of the body, while left hand moves to the small of the back.

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