Do you know why they call us the Chair Force? Cuz we can destroy the enemy without getting up from our chair, that’s why!

When your fighting force is mainly pilots and aircrew members, a lot of time is spent sitting down. Even remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA) have a pilot sitting, you guessed it, on a chair. In the Air Force (AF), a LOT of time is spent in training, which means sitting on chairs. Chairs everywhere!

Let’s be honest; if you could do your job from the comfort of a desk chair, you’d probably do it. My father was a sheet metal worker his whole life and his most vocal advice was to get a job where you use your brain more than your back. Although I worked in construction for years before I joined the military, I knew he was right. Since the Chair Force wasn’t hiring, I decided to enlist in the Air Force.


Origins of the Chair Force

Slogans of the U.S. military. (Created by jelly_ni/Reddit)

The term Chair Force may be tied to Air Force’s basic military training (BMT). In contrast to 13 weeks in the Marines or nine in the Army, Air Force trainees used to spend a grand total of six-and-a-half weeks in BMT, only 36 hours of which were “in the field.”

In 2008, the Air Force expanded its BMT to eight-and-a-half weeks. Even so, I bet most people would prefer the Air Force’s BMT to any of the other branches’.

Once BMT is over, trainees (we don’t call them recruits, troops, or assholes) move on to technical training, known as tech school. BMT teaches how to be a member of the Air Force; tech school teaches how to work in the AF. Some trainees have short tech schools. Personnelists, for instance, go through six weeks of tech school. We called them “pop tarts” because they showed up at tech school, then were gone before we knew it.

As an avionics technician, my tech school lasted 19-and-a-half weeks, on paper. In reality, I was at Keesler for tech school for a little more than seven months. That’s a long time to sit in a chair.