Heritage Blog Basic Cadet Training Experience: Felicia Recker '98

Felicia graduated from USAFA in 1998, majoring in Human Factors Engineering.  She went on to be a Human Factors Engineer for the F-22 program at Edwards AFB, CA, focusing on maintainer (human) to aircraft interfacing and life support interface.  She then became a program manager at NASA Dryden, CA for the X-45 Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) program.  Felicia currently works at the USAFA Association of Graduates as Senior Director of Graduate Programs and a Legacy Parent of Madeline Recker '26. 


Recap from Felicia on BCT:

Baby Steps - The First Few Weeks

In my mind, the point of basic training is to take a bunch of individuals, break them down, and then build them back up as a high performing team.  There is a method to the supposed madness.

One of the biggest components during BCT is physical fitness, or rather, getting physically fit.  One can show up at BCT in the best shape of his or her life, but everyone will be challenged, and everyone will come out much stronger at the end of six weeks in more ways than one. But I’ll get to that in a later post.  In the first few days and weeks, basics are methodically put through workouts intended to not only get them used to the 7,258 ft altitude but prepare them for upcoming physical fitness tests.  I remember lots of running, and more running, more pushups than you think you can do in a day, with a lot of pull-up practice.  Thankfully, it’s a build-up, baby step approach (although those baby steps seemed to come from a baby elephant at times), with a focus on preventing injuries.  Many of the exercises we did prepared us for upcoming fun activities in Jack’s Valley.

Baby steps were also critical in our learning how to march, how to make our bed, how to shine our boots, how to wear our uniform, and learning Air Force heritage.  All this new learning was exhausting, coupled with the early mornings and not knowing what was going to happen next.  We were challenged mentally and physically, and you learned quickly you couldn’t do it all on your own.  Surprise room inspections, with only a few minutes to prepare, forced you into working as a team with your roommates to get the room inspection ready.  If you couldn’t carry your rubber M-16 around as you ran, a classmate had to step-up and carry it for you.  If a classmate couldn’t do those last few pushups, you came together as a class and held them up.