Selection as an Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) honor graduate means you have far exceeded the standards of basic training.
The training instructor (TI) is allowed to select a maximum of 10% of their flight as "Basic Training Honor Graduates." Those selected are permitted to wear the Air Force Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon for the rest of their Air Force careers. This ribbon is a one-time award and can't be awarded retroactively.
Air Force Basic Training
All Air Force recruits attend basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. This is where recruits become airmen, after seven and a half weeks of boot camp and Airmen's Week.
How to Achieve Honor Graduate Status
To even be considered for honor graduate, you'll need at least 90% on your physical fitness exam during the Air Force Basic Military Training (AFBMT) fitness test. This is the most important consideration for honors status; if you don't achieve at least "Thunderbird" fitness level, nothing else you do during basic training will qualify you for honors.
For male recruits, this means a two-mile run in 14:15 minutes, a 1.5-mile run in 8.55 minutes, 62 push-ups in a minute, 70 sit-ups in a minute and four pull-ups in a minute.
Female recruits need to run two miles in 16 minutes, 1.5 miles in 11:33 minutes, 37 push-ups in a minute, 60 sit-ups in a minute and two pull-ups. Again, these are the minimum requirements to be considered for honors; the minimum for basic training is slightly lower. If you can overperform on the physical test, your chances of being considered for honors designation increases.
Written Exam for Air Force Basic Honors
Additionally, you must average over a 90 on all the written examinations, and never fail a graded inspection (graded inspections are conducted randomly after week three. You can never receive a negative mark in your written evaluations. These are done periodically, usually weekly or more often, by your TI.
Just because you meet the above standards does not mean you will automatically be selected as an honor graduate. Regulations limit the number of selectees to no more than ten percent of the flight. So, how far you exceed the above standards can determine whether or not you are selected for honors designation.
Getting Ready for Air Force Basic Training
Ideally, you'll prepare for the physical portion of your basic training well ahead of the actual 7.5-week boot camp. In addition to getting familiar with things like military time and the chain of command, you should try to boost your time on a two-mile run, and hone your push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.
Get familiar with the proper form for each exercise, and try to build up your stamina, adding a few extra reps with each workout.
The better shape you're in when you report to basic, the better chance you have of earning that Air Force Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon.