Air Force Teaches Values During “Airman’s Week”

The Air Force has been executing a little-known program for the past two years as a stepping stone gap-filler between Basic Training, which turns “civilians into Airmen,” and Technical School, where new Airmen go to learn the specifics of their career field. The course, called “Airman’s Week,” is designed as a

values-based course with a mission to “develop professional, resilient Airmen, inspired by our heritage, committed to the Air Force core values and motivated to deliver airpower for America.”

Professional, resilient, inspired by heritage, and “motivated to deliver airpower” all seem to be pretty prosaic goals. Calling it a “values-based course” to teach new Airmen to be “committed to the Air Force core values” is a bit different, though.

Unfortunately, the majority of the article is spent describing how selective the process is for “competitively” choosing the enlisted Military Training Instructors who teach the course (a focus that may be the result of MTI scandals in prior years). The basic discussion on content says

We…teach them teamwork, personal accountability, responsible communication and proactive resiliency.

Again, fairly mundane topics, until LtCol Meghan Doherty, the Training Squadron commander, says [emphasis added]:

The Airmen’s Week curriculum is grounded in the Air Force core values and the Airman’s Creed with a focus on each Airman’s character development.

Given the framing, it’s possible part of the course could be a concerted effort to inculcate moral character — though how effective that could be in less than five days is up for debate. Still, it is notable the Air Force is trying to “focus on…character development”, particularly for Airmen who are often teenagers who have just left home.

The only open questions are how, precisely, they’re teaching “character” — and whether they’ve been successful.