21 December 2010

The Delayed Entry Program and Ship Dates

Starting February, I'll be reporting to my recruiter to take part in bimonthly DEP calls (1st and 3rd Wednesday each month) with future Airmen.
 The DEP, which typically lasts several months, involves training with the recruiter and is the last step prior to active duty enlistment in the Armed Forces.

For many people, the DEP is the longest portion of the "hurry up and wait" process. It is an indefinite limbo period that can last up to 1 year. During this time, DEP'pers may or may not be assigned a ship date right away. Until that day arrives, recruits continue their monthly briefings and PT sessions to prepare for BMT life. The day they ship, they sign Department of Defense Form 4 (DD 4), the enlistment contract for all U.S. military branches that officially places recruits into active duty - boot camp is considered active duty.

The speed at which a DEP'per ships depends on the job reserved for him; some slots open up quickly, and some take longer. Someone in my extended family spent a year in the DEP before shipping to Lackland. For my case, the cryptologic linguist AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code) would guarantee me an early ship date due to the current demand for the job. That's a good and bad thing. Good because that's less time in the DEP. Bad because it's less time to prepare.

Earlier this month, I had my Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) for my military conditioning class and realized how much I had to improve. I did 60 push-ups in 2 minutes, the Army's allotted time for this exercise; the Air Force requires that 75 push-ups be done in that time as part of the criteria for earning the Warhawk. I won't mention my performance in the other exercises. In short, given my preference for heavy, low-volume workouts, I have my work cut out for me.

So, calisthenics and aerobics will be the main goals of my training for the next year. And a new goal weight has been set: 155 lbs by the time I ship. Time to work.

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