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Air Force January 2015 COT


Hey everyone! I just wanted to start a thread for those people headed to COT in January. Comment if you're going and let's keep each other updated and share any helpful news we learn along the way!


Specializes in ER.

Hey @stack, I will be joining you in January.

See you at Maxwell.

My name is Owen, by the way, to all who will be joining us.

Hello! Congrats to everyone for being selected :) I will also be going to COT in January and then going to Tampa for NTP.

See you all at COT in January!

kc0823--- I am also doing NTP in Tampa! Are you Med-Surg or OB?

Owen-- Are you working as a nurse anywhere in Maine until COT?

Congrats to everyone! My name is Kelsie. I was also selected and will be going to January COT and Tampa for NTP (med-surg)

Syl8 - I am med-surg. Where are you headed after Tampa?


Specializes in ER.

@syl8, I live in Boston right now. Grew up in Maine, the Bangor area.

Where in Maine are you working/living?

Hey everyone! Just wanted to drop in. I'll be seeing you in January. I have NTP in Tampa then I'll be going to Eglin.


Specializes in ER.

Eglin was my #1 pick... Its a beautiful area

Owen--- I grew up in Waterville. Worked this summer as a camp nurse. Will be working per diem until January in the Augusta area.

bb569 & kc0823 & Kelsie: Where are you guys from? Do you have any information about NTP at Tampa. I know we will be traveling to Tampa General from base (MacDill AFB). Will any of you be bringing a car? I am planning on flying from Maine-->AL for COT and then buying a car once in Tampa. I will be heading to San Antonio after Tampa.

..my name is Sylvia by the way!

Sylvia, you know more than I do! I don't have many details figured out yet. I am from CO, but currently in NE and did recruitment in NE. I probably won't be bringing a car because I will be heading to Alaska after Tampa.. Nothing like going from one end to the other!

MadeInMaine—I hope that Eglin is a nice area/base. I’ve been told I’ll really like it from multiple people who have been there so we shall see. Eglin was my fourth choice.

syl8—I’ve from Arizona. I have no information right now about Tampa NTP. It looks like I have to drive from AZ to COT then from COT to FL because we only have a couple days after training to report. Not looking forward to a long road trip, and in high traffic, solo but it’s what I have to do.

ks20—Alaska was one of my top three choices. Oh well, I hope you enjoy it!

Who here has any type of military training background? I did ROTC in HS and during my first degree and I am looking forward to the training environment again.

Hey everyone! I was selected OB; COT in January, NTP San Antonio and then Wright-Patternson AB. If you have any direction from your recruiters beyond the letter of acceptance, post here!

Good to see another OB selectee! See you at COT, laddy :)

Hey everyone! I read this post a while back and thought it had some super helpful tips before we head off to COT.

Mar 4, '10 by carolinapooh I know you all leave in the next week or two weeks. I got a PM from a board member and thought I'd pass on some quick information for you. (Warning - I'm about to sound like a major jerk, but hopefully you all know I'm not.)

1 - ONLY take whatever bag/backpack you're carrying all your documents in when you report for the first time. Do not carry anything else. Be sure you have some form of picture ID and a copy of your orders available QUICKLY. You will have PLENTY of time to shuffle all your crap from your car to your room. Piece of advice - DO NOT stay up stupid late with your new roomie the first night. You will soon live to regret it. I've disclosed nothing but take my word for it.

2 - YOU WILL GET YELLED AT. This is not a big deal - take whatever they give you with a "yes, sir" or a "yes, ma'am" and let it roll off your back. The first few hours of COT are very, very chaotic and everyone feels as out of their depth as you do. The only advantages for prior service folks here is we know about the cluster that military processing is (and I guarantee you, it's a cluster) and we know we're going to get screamed at. Trust me when I say the yelling you will experience on day one and for the next few weeks is NOTHING compared to what any prior service member experienced right off the bus in enlisted basic training, and it also pales in comparison to what the Basic Officer Trainees (whom you'll see soon enough) will be going through just across campus. You have it very posh in comparison. Suck it up.

(Oh, and you won't be reporting off to superiors in the Air Force unless you screw up or one of your troops screws up. It's a training environment - a lot of things are different. Don't stress it.)

And there will be classmates of yours who are chosen for the very, very dubious honor of Top Three or Top Five or whatever they designate it. They were DRAFTED - VOLUN-TOLD - ORDERED - whatever you want to call it. They're putting up with at least DOUBLE the BS you are. So when the crap rolls downhill - and oh, will it ever - it's not their fault. Remember - this is very much like the operational military: you get told you're in X job, and you have to deal with it. Sucks for them just like it sucks for you. :D

3 - Do not, and I repeat, do not spend the next five weeks of your life worried about privileges. You are not there to earn time off base, you are there to put up with the tiny taste of Air Force basic training that they see fit to give you as a commissioned officer. This is a huge pet peeve of mine and it's the quickest way to pi*s off the staff. I spent six and a half weeks of my life at Lackland Air Force Base living in a training squadron where I took group showers with thirty or so other women and slept in the old style barracks bays in metal beds with no privacy. If you had to fart, the whole bay knew about it. In COT you will have maid service, carpets, one roommate, a private shower, a somewhat real bed, a desk, a laptop, a small chest of drawers, your own walk-in closet (I swear I am not making this stuff up), and your own sink. It's the Westin compared to Basic. BELIEVE me. :)

Oh, and don't trash your room. If they catch you - and the instructors do walk through the buildings at weird times of the day - they might get a wild hair and start room inspections. Don't give them reason to.

4 - Start EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT to a staff member with "sir" or "ma'am". This is one way to get them out of your behind. You will outrank a good chunk of them. They have loads more military experience than most you. Bottom line - at COT, they outrank you, for all intents and purposes, and they're your boss. Treat them as you would any boss, only better. Do not be THAT lieutenant (or captain, or even higher, in case there are a few of you who outrank me!! LOL). At COT, you're a trainee. You're commissioned, yes, but you're a trainee. Yes, it's weird. And please, do yourself a favor and DON'T LAUGH.

You will swap stories at O-club orientation in the last week about how STUPID everyone looked (including you!) their first day, and you'll be swapping these with your INSTRUCTORS. It's a blast. There are a few moments from COT that I will never, ever forget, and a few of them were at the officer's club that night. A few of them are also from day one. Hilarious now, insufferable then. It'll be fine by week five. :)

5 - This is always a hot topic. On the first day, show up in business casual/decent looking jeans and a shirt you can TUCK IN. Guys, do not wear a t-shirt. Ladies, DO NOT wear pants that hang off your butt. They will crucify you. Take enough civilian clothes for four days as a just-in-case measure. Also, ladies, put your hair up TIGHT. There is one individual there in particular (I believe she's still there) that we all called the Hair Nazi (and if she's there, you will too, trust me - if she's there you'll know EXACTLY who she is by the end of Day Two). Sock buns will save your a*$ every single time. Trust me. You can wear your running shoes for the first few days, guys and girls.

6 - PAY ATTENTION during the military history lectures. I cannot for the life of me remember that captain's name (I just did - starts with M is all I'll say and I hope I can say that much), but he was AMAZING and he LOVES his subject. He knows EVERYTHING there is to know about AF history. He also loves teaching it. I'm serious. There's also an African-American civilian who talks about Star Trek. He's awesome. The cop who gives the base defense lecture is a hoot. Enjoy him - he's a nice break.

7 - Do not freak out if your legs swell. You will be sitting down for about eight hours a day in auditoriums or classrooms. Your feet and legs will be left with the imprint of your boots and socks when you get back to the dorms at night. This is normal. It happened to a lot of people while I was there and I had to reassure them they weren't experiencing CHF (it's so funny with all the medical professionals there!) - it happened to me in Basic and it happened it COT. If it does, you're okay.

8 - Pee whenever you're given a chance. I don't care if you have to go or not. You have to drink four glasses of liquid at every meal and you WILL have to pee, even when you don't know it. So go whenever they let you.

9 - While I'm thinking about it, around week two you start learning who the captains and the majors are, and who outranks you. This is a really good time to start recognizing the rank structure of the Air Force. I don't mean kowtow to those who are above you, but accord them the respect their rank deserves. (Like SALUTING these people, for the practice if nothing else.) When I was there, there were a bunch of kids (and yes, I say kids) who liked to cut up in the bathrooms. One of my classmates was a captain and she flat out told them they needed to sort themselves out - very respectfully, but just like she should have. They blew her off. When she left, I told them they needed to remember she outranked them and that if she told them to knock it off, they needed to knock it off. I don't think they liked me very much, but they stopped being so danged loud and stupid in the bathrooms (of all places).

First and cardinal rule of COT - Check your ego at the door. Seriously.

10 - You will continuously be told how you outrank 90% of the Air Force as soon as you walk in the door. (This includes the second lieutenants!) There's a reason you're being told this all the time - because it's true. You were handed something that all the ROTC kids and all those BOT kids are busting their tails to earn. Not that we didn't earn our commissions - we did - but we're not enduring 12 weeks of BOT to get it. BOT is hard. COT is comparatively easy. You will do in five and a half weeks ALL of the academics the BOT kids do in 12 (keep that in mind), and you'll do less than a third of the physical training they do. Put that into perspective.

My first salute at COT was from a CHIEF - a man with eight stripes who, as an E9, probably entered the Air Force when I was in junior high school - we're talking the mid 1980s. "Good morning,ma'am" he said to me, and popped a salute. I was so stunned I wondered at first where the colonel was that I'd missed - and THEN I realized he was saluting me. I returned his salute - "good morning, Chief" - and walked away with my mouth nearly hanging open. I got the whole rank thing, and I know all about senior enlisteds (Dad was a Navy E7, one brother was an Army E8, and my other brother is a retired Navy E9), but it still gets me that a CHIEF - someone who can SMELL retirement - has to salute me. Think about that for a while.

11 - And while we're on the subject, SALUTE LIKE YOU MEAN IT. It takes practice, yes, but this really grates on my nerves. Learn the correct way and do it. When an enlisted or junior officer salutes you, they're doing it out of respect for your rank. Salute back with the same respect. When you salute a senior officer, salute them with the same amount of respect. A great example of textbook saluting are the gate guards (I was an Air Force cop, maybe that's why it bothers me!!! LOL). I've actually had people COMMENT on my salute. I love that. :) It matters. Sorry, it's a huge pet peeve of mine when I salute a colonel or even a captain and I get some sort of halfhearted wave. Looks bad. Annoyed me when I was enlisted and still annoys me. Please don't do it. Make me proud. :)

Oh, yeah, and the BOT kids will salute you. You outrank them. Take your salute, exchange the greeting of the day, and be professional. You'd be shocked at the number of COT folks who weren't. These OTs (officer trainees) will call you "ma'am" and "sir" and it's weird. Very weird. It should feel weird, anyway, as far as I'm concerned.

12 - When you go to clothing sales, BUY ENOUGH SOCKS and TEE SHIRTS TO LAST YOU A WEEK - six days' worth. You have to trust me on this. This will be the best thing you ever did. You can recycle a uniform, but who wants to wear smelly socks?? Also - and this sounds stupid but again, I know from experience - take two weeks' worth of underwear in case the unthinkable occurs. And yes, guys - I suggest the same for you as well. I'd take no less than ten pairs. Take Febreeze with you - if you get stuck in the same uni you wore three days ago, you can spray it with Febreeze and believe me, it will help.

13 - The best laundry soap is the new sheets by Purex (is it Purex?) that are the soap and dryer sheet in one. I took one pack and a refill and had the whole refill left when I graduated. They were a lifesaver. They don't leak and they pack flat.

14 - Ladies (and dudes as well), I suggest a huge bottle of your favorite shampoo and conditioner. I took two of the big pump bottles (shampoo and conditioner, one each) and they lasted me the whole way through COT until February, and I wash my hair almost every day. Also - LIQUID SOAP and a washcloth or loofah scrubby thing. Take your hairdryer, take your makeup. Too many girls there were sorry they didn't. By then middle of week 2 you'll actually have thirty seconds to spare to slap on some lip gloss, and if you like that sort of stuff like I do, it goes a long way to helping you feel somewhat normal. Plus, the night of the dining out, you'll want to look nice.

Also - about civilian clothes - take a couple of nice outfits. Eventually - EVENTUALLY - they really will let you off base and you probably want to look decent. You'll also go out with your flight commander to dinner and you won't be going in uniform.

15 - This is a TINY, TINY Air Force. Don't burn bridges. With ANYONE - instructors or classmates. You WILL see these people again. I'm still running into people I knew when I was ENLISTED - and I got out almost ten years ago!

16 - MOST IMPORTANT - take time to smell the roses. You will have a love-hate relationship with everyone at some point during these five weeks - including yourself. You're there to learn, so soak up everything you can. Listen to your priors - they may be the only source of information you have for some things. Cultivate a feeling of teamwork with your flightmates. My whole flight emails one another about once a month or so - it's so cool to watch the email chain show up in my inbox as all sixteen of us answer in turn. You will learn a lot about yourself in these five weeks - take some time to reflect on that, even if it's only in the shower on a Saturday afternoon. Really. For some of you, COT will seem like a joke (that's a bit harsh, I don't quite mean it that way) so if that's you, look for other ways to grow. I know how to be enlisted, but I'm still learning how to be an officer - that's what I worked on a lot during that time. That's been a big challenge for me. This is one of the few times in your career that it's okay to screw up. When you do - and you will - it's a learning experience.

Everything you do there has a purpose. Already I'm hearing from people I went to COT with how "that was dumb" or "they should have focused on this instead of that" - seek the purpose in all of it and you'll not have as hard of a time.

And remember - if you find yourself sleeping in your ABUs or PT gear - EVERYONE'S DONE THAT, so you're not weird. You're adjusting to having no time to spare. It's OK. You're still OK. :redpinkhe:D

You will be more exhausted than you've ever been in your life, you will learn how to survive on no sleep and still keep your military bearing, and you'll get so frustrated sometimes you'll just want to say "TO HECK WITH ALL OF THIS, I'M GOING HOME" (even I wanted to do that sometimes) - but remember, EVERYONE THERE FEELS THE SAME WAY. You won't think that at the time, but it's true.

And I'll flag wave for a moment (because you know me, I have to flag wave): no one fails COT, COT will not fail you; even if you get there and find it's really NOT for you, or you leave or have to leave for whatever reason - that's OK as well.

But for those of you who graduate, you will be commissioned officers in the most powerful Air Force the world has ever known - we're the youngest branch of the US military and yet we have set the standard the world over in just over sixty years. (This is why I say listen during those history lectures - learn what a battle it was for us to BE the Air Force in the first place and the lengths one man went to to ensure it happened - and then suffered a courts-martial over it because senior leaders essentially said he was off his rocker. Bless you, Billy Mitchell.) My flight commander told us a story about how when he was in England, the Royal Air Force officers would tell him how they wished their enlisted troops and even their officers were as disciplined as ours are. Our enlisteds (in all the services, really, not just the AF) are the highest-trained, most educated enlisted force in the world. The officers of the US military are no different. We're trusted with leading them - so lead by example.

So when the chow hall fare sucks (and it will), and you're dead tired but can't sleep (and you won't), and you can't possibly sit through one more lecture (and you'll have to) - believe me, trust me, HEAR ME, remember ol' carolinapooh - and remember it's all worth it in the end.


stack--Thanks for posting the above tips. I too have seen that and it holds some good information.

As someone who has been through military training environments here is my advice......

1) Help out when you can. As difficult as it can sometimes be in a training environment, it is sometimes best to help out others before doing something for yourself. For instance, help others prepare for inspection before yourself. This takes teamwork and dedication from the whole flight so everyone succeeds.

2) Utilize the strengths of each member of the flight to make the flight better as a whole. I.e., if some people are good at marching, let them teach. If someone is very athletic, make sure those who struggle are given help. Some are more academically inclined and should be used to help with material retention and understanding. Etc. Don't be that Blue Falcon who is out there for themself. From here on out, we are a team in one fashion or another.

3) You will probably have prior E's in your flight, listen to them. They have more experience and are good for referencing information and being a sounding board.

Training is hard. It's suppose to be. But this is our time to experience the "real AF" as my recruiter said, because after this five weeks of training we are taking our places as nurses. We will be entering a whole different type of living and working environment than what training shows us.

Also, just wanting to get some ideas. What is everyone doing for their commissioning ceremony?

Hi everyone! My name is Amber and I am an OB select headed to COT in January. NTP in San Antonio, then off to Langley AFB, VA. Congrats to all - I look forward to meeting you in January :)