Air Force Lackland

A Letter from an Air Force Element Leader

Last week we wrote to some trainees going through Air Force Basic Training at Lackland AFB. We received a reply from an Element Leader and thought that we would share it here, along with some information about what being an Element Leader entails.

The T.I.s will organize their Basic Training flight within the first couple of days. If you have shown any degree of leadership, or military knowledge (such as JROTC, or Civil Air Patrol, or Boy Scout Eagle), the T.I. may select you to become the Dorm Chief, or an Element Leader.

Basic training
Staff Sgt. Robert George, a TI at Lackland Air Force Base marches his unit following the issuance of uniforms and gear. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)

Sometimes (not always), T.I.’s will select older members of the flight for these leadership positions.

The Dorm Chief is the top “recruit-leader” in the flight. He/she is responsible to make sure that all orders, standard ops, and instructions are carried out correctly when the T.I.’s aren’t around.

To assist the Dorm Chief in this enormous responsibility, the flight is divided into “elements,” and an Element Leader is put in charge of each. The Element Leaders are responsible to the Dorm Chief to make sure that members of his/her element comply with orders and instructions. The bad news is that being a Dorm Chief or an Element Leader means that in addition to getting chewed out for things you do wrong, you get the added pleasure of getting chewed out for things that members of the flight (or your element) do wrong, as well.Dear Sam, Thank you so much for you letter. It may just be a step in the process, but it’s very much appreciated. Things are very crazy here at AF BMT. I barely have time to write letters home. Sandboxx does make it easier to receive and deliver words to loved ones though. I never thought I’d appreciate the extra two minutes I have instead of filling out a sending/receiving address and placing a stamp on an envelope. To share a little of what goes on here as a trainee I’ll tell you. Living with 47 girls is NOT easy. BMT is challenging in all aspects, but the living situation is the hardest part of it all for me. I’m an Element Leader in my Flight along with three other girls. Trainees in my element seem to respond to my leadership style fairly well. In the end I just want to be their big sister more than just their Student Leader. I’m in my fourth week of training now! This week I have a phone call home, base liberty and I got to experience the Gas Chamber. A lot of girls have already asked for information on Sandboxx which I have gladly shared. I’m very grateful of the Sandboxx Team ♥♥ Aim High, Fly, Fight, Win!!

Read about the journey of a Sandboxx Letter from start to finish or more about what to write in your Letters to Air Force basic training.

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2 comments

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