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Enhancing trainee performance: A breakdown of “Operation First Flight”

  • Published
  • By Jonathan Cotto
  • 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

Air Force Basic Military Training has undergone a significant transformation with the recent implementation of Zero Week at the 323rd Training Squadron. This strategic, organizational conversion marks an intentional shift in the approach to training new recruits, with the goal of not only assessing initial competency but also to equip trainees with essential tools for success throughout their time in BMT and beyond.

Spearheaded by the 323 TRS, “Operation First Flight” is the apex of Zero Week and is a series of exercises designed to enhance trainees’ problem-solving skills and overall performance in Agile Combat Employment. Named to honor Air Force heritage, it aims to develop accountability, self-control, and teamwork among trainees.

VIDEO | 02:21 | 323rd Training Squadron: Operation First Flight

The operation focuses on acclimating trainees to the training environment and establishing a solid foundation for their Air Force journey. During a four-hour deployment maneuver, trainees undergo six phases modeled after the AFFORGEN cycle:

  • Phase 1: Dorm reset (Various Tasks)
  • Phase 2: Airmindedness Facilitation (Heritage and Warrior Mindset Tasks)
  • Phase 3: Chalk Preparation (Student-led Leadership Tasks)
  • Phase 4: ACE Exercise (Physical Optimization Tasks)
  • Phase 5: Transition Ceremony (MTI-led Tasks)
  • Phase 6: Transit to 1-7 WOT Squadrons (Squadron Welcome)

The culminating event supports Airmanship 100 concepts and introduces Airmen and Guardians to the five BMT foundational core competencies that are broken down into an acronym called P.A.R.T.S.






Setting the stage for their passage out of “Operation First Flight,” trainees will march their way to the drill pad. This moment marks a transition to one of seven training squadrons, where trainees will be passed from their Zero Week training instructors to their newly assigned BMT MTIs who will lead them to complete the remaining 7.5 weeks of training.

The 323 TRS commander, Lt. Col. Jason Crosby, says the introduction of “Operation First Flight” signifies a progressive step in Air Force Basic Military Training. The new approach not only assesses trainee competency but actively contributes to their development by fostering problem-solving skills and overall performance—a crucial foundation towards a warfighter mindset in military operations and beyond.