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17-year old Pre-BMOQ: How can I get ready for the CAF appearance standards???

RichardCaan

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Hope everyone's doing well!

I understand that the CAF has relaxed its dress code. As a 17 year old what appearance/lifestyle rules can I follow to be better prepared for BMOQ and life in the CAF as an officer. For example; short hair, make bed in a specific way, clean up every inch of my room, iron clothes, no facial hair etc...

Please tell me from your experience what I should do in my daily life from the way I speak, conduct myself, dress, talk and move for life to better prepare for life as an officer in the CAF.

Please be as specific as possible and try to speak from your personal experience, let me know what I am missing from that list!

Thank you to everyone who replies, your responses truly mean a lot to me, thank you!
 
Uhh, we're not all robots speaking code. There is no single answer, but in general:
Don't be arrogant, don't be mouthy, and don't talk when you should be listening.
Ironing, bed making will all be taught.
Be able to read the room and conduct yourself in way that not make people dismiss you.
You'll get told what haircut you can get when you get to basic. No one will remember, or care, what you looked like when you arrived.
Don't be an idiot and be willing to learn. At the beginning you will have very little of value to add. Ask questions when appropriate, even if it seems stupid. You'll get told if it's a stupid question and the world will move on, or you might find out something useful.
 
Uhh, we're not all robots speaking code. There is no single answer, but in general:
Don't be arrogant, don't be mouthy, and don't talk when you should be listening.
Ironing, bed making will all be taught.
Be able to read the room and conduct yourself in way that not make people dismiss you.
You'll get told what haircut you can get when you get to basic. No one will remember, or care, what you looked like when you arrived.
Don't be an idiot and be willing to learn. At the beginning you will have very little of value to add. Ask questions when appropriate, even if it seems stupid. You'll get told if it's a stupid question and the world will move on, or you might find out something useful.
Thank you! Is their anything that you wished you learned before you went to basic? I appreciate the reply by the way!
 
No they won't. That hasn't been the case since last September.
You are wrong.

If, somehow, someway, their haircut doesn't meet the requirements, direction will be given. You have to be able to wear head dress. An 18" Mohawk does not allow that. It may not require cutting but it does require alteration. I didn't say they would have to get a haircut, I said they would be told what haircuts they can have.
 
Hope everyone's doing well!

I understand that the CAF has relaxed its dress code. As a 17 year old what appearance/lifestyle rules can I follow to be better prepared for BMOQ and life in the CAF as an officer. For example; short hair, make bed in a specific way, clean up every inch of my room, iron clothes, no facial hair etc...

Please tell me from your experience what I should do in my daily life from the way I speak, conduct myself, dress, talk and move for life to better prepare for life as an officer in the CAF.

Please be as specific as possible and try to speak from your personal experience, let me know what I am missing from that list!

Thank you to everyone who replies, your responses truly mean a lot to me, thank you!
I'll break this down into squads.

1) Appearance: The CAF changed it's "Dress" policy last September, and opened things up pretty wide regarding appearance. Since you're asking, and obviously looking to not stand out, any "average" haircut will do. The days of a buzz cut in your first week are over. For clothing, again the best policy is "average", meaning not too avant-gaurde , and not too "conservative"(suits, slacks and dress shirts all day). Since you're planning to go officer, expect collared shirts and khakis in the mess. The rest you'll figure out, or be instructed in after BMOQ.

2) Speech: Do not try to sound "army" in your speech. Talk like a normal person, and adapt to the new terms as they come. The whole point of basic training is to indoctrinate people into the CAF, including language. The best way to make yourself a target for both the staff, and your fellow students is to try to be more "army" than the course staff expect you to be.

3) Habits: The best habit you can pick up to do well in the CAF is getting into a physical fitness routine that works for you. Basic training is a big adjustment, so it's best to be physically fit, and then learn the tips and tricks for cleaning after you're in. If you start with cleaning and neglect PT, you'll end up the cleanest person on the medical recovery platoon.

The best things you can take to basic training are a sense of humour, and the knowledge that the whole system is set up to push you to be stressed, so you can learn that you are able to overcome stress. The objective of basic training is to take you from civilian, to soldier/sailor/aviator.

Also, shower... don't be the smelly kid...
 
Thank you! Is their anything that you wished you learned before you went to basic? I appreciate the reply by the way!
I've taught on BMOQ. The biggest thing I noticed was the lack of physical fitness. And that's not me being some dickheadasarus dinosaur complaining about the latest generation, people were legitimately unprepared for the physical nature of the course. And we're not talking WW2 style 50KM death marches. Some people couldn't keep up walking a couple of kilometers with their tacvest and helmet and small pack.

You'll see students on course begin to fall out of PT immediately and then trip on a hole and get medical restrictions saying they can't run or do ruck marches or do drill. Then they follow the main body around looking sad. If you're bad at PT your mind will be preoccupied with dreading the next PT session. People admitted to thinking they were fit enough and being surprised.

IMO the best thing you can do to prepare is run, do push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, hike with a heavy backpack and rugged boots. That's it.

Try these:
-running 500 meters, stopping and doing push-ups, run 500 meters stop and do sit-ups, run 500 meters and stop for chinups or whatever, and repeat that for 5 KMs.
-find a hill and mark off 50-meter increments up to 500 meters if possible. Run up the hill to the 50 meter mark then jog or walk back to the start. Run to the 100-meter mark then jog or walk back. Continue to 500.
-try slow runs working your way up to 10 or 15kms. The goal here isn't speed (at the start) but to get your body used to pain.
-put some weight in a pack and go hiking/ for a walk. Alternate between flat surfaces (roads) and through the woods or fields (to build your muscle memory for uneven terrain)
 
My best advice, go into Basic with both eyes open, take everything in as you move thru the process and training. Keep both ears turned on so you hear everything. Once you see it and hear it, then engage mouth. Think before you run off at the mouth. Ask a stupid question because if you are thinking it, some one else is thinking it too. Admit your mistakes and move on and learn from them.

But my best advice is eat when it is meal time. Rest when it is rest time because they know what is next and you do not know.
No matter how well you clean your room, iron your clothes at home, they will find fault with it. Do not try to be perfect on the first day, because you do not want to give the instructors your best on day 1 because that leaves little room to show improvement. Just do the standard and then work to exceed the standard because somedays you will barely have enough time or energy to make the standard.
 
I've taught on BMOQ. The biggest thing I noticed was the lack of physical fitness. And that's not me being some dickheadasarus dinosaur complaining about the latest generation, people were legitimately unprepared for the physical nature of the course. And we're not talking WW2 style 50KM death marches. Some people couldn't keep up walking a couple of kilometers with their tacvest and helmet and small pack.

You'll see students on course begin to fall out of PT immediately and then trip on a hole and get medical restrictions saying they can't run or do ruck marches or do drill. Then they follow the main body around looking sad. If you're bad at PT your mind will be preoccupied with dreading the next PT session. People admitted to thinking they were fit enough and being surprised.

IMO the best thing you can do to prepare is run, do push-ups, sit-ups, chin-ups, hike with a heavy backpack and rugged boots. That's it.

Try these:
-running 500 meters, stopping and doing push-ups, run 500 meters stop and do sit-ups, run 500 meters and stop for chinups or whatever, and repeat that for 5 KMs.
-find a hill and mark off 50-meter increments up to 500 meters if possible. Run up the hill to the 50 meter mark then jog or walk back to the start. Run to the 100-meter mark then jog or walk back. Continue to 500.
-try slow runs working your way up to 10 or 15kms. The goal here isn't speed (at the start) but to get your body used to pain.
-put some weight in a pack and go hiking/ for a walk. Alternate between flat surfaces (roads) and through the woods or fields (to build your muscle memory for uneven terrain)
Thank you so much, I appreciate the advice I will try this out and let you know how it goes!
 
My best advice, go into Basic with both eyes open, take everything in as you move thru the process and training. Keep both ears turned on so you hear everything. Once you see it and hear it, then engage mouth. Think before you run off at the mouth. Ask a stupid question because if you are thinking it, some one else is thinking it too. Admit your mistakes and move on and learn from them.

But my best advice is eat when it is meal time. Rest when it is rest time because they know what is next and you do not know.
No matter how well you clean your room, iron your clothes at home, they will find fault with it. Do not try to be perfect on the first day, because you do not want to give the instructors your best on day 1 because that leaves little room to show improvement. Just do the standard and then work to exceed the standard because somedays you will barely have enough time or energy to make the standard.
Thank you for the advice!
 
I'll break this down into squads.

1) Appearance: The CAF changed it's "Dress" policy last September, and opened things up pretty wide regarding appearance. Since you're asking, and obviously looking to not stand out, any "average" haircut will do. The days of a buzz cut in your first week are over. For clothing, again the best policy is "average", meaning not too avant-gaurde , and not too "conservative"(suits, slacks and dress shirts all day). Since you're planning to go officer, expect collared shirts and khakis in the mess. The rest you'll figure out, or be instructed in after BMOQ.

2) Speech: Do not try to sound "army" in your speech. Talk like a normal person, and adapt to the new terms as they come. The whole point of basic training is to indoctrinate people into the CAF, including language. The best way to make yourself a target for both the staff, and your fellow students is to try to be more "army" than the course staff expect you to be.

3) Habits: The best habit you can pick up to do well in the CAF is getting into a physical fitness routine that works for you. Basic training is a big adjustment, so it's best to be physically fit, and then learn the tips and tricks for cleaning after you're in. If you start with cleaning and neglect PT, you'll end up the cleanest person on the medical recovery platoon.

The best things you can take to basic training are a sense of humour, and the knowledge that the whole system is set up to push you to be stressed, so you can learn that you are able to overcome stress. The objective of basic training is to take you from civilian, to soldier/sailor/aviator.

Also, shower... don't be the smelly kid...
Thank you for the response. I will for sure focus on getting into a cardio routine!
 
Thank you so much, I appreciate the advice I will try this out and let you know how it goes!

You're welcome.

Some people may tell you to be the gray man on course and that's an option. I would suggest you volunteer for everything. Sentry duties, carrying any heavy weapons, teaching the first PT class, teaching the first knowledge class, leading the first recce patrol, and any "shit jobs". Leaders go first and the habits you pick up in basic training will stick with you. In the future your soldiers will judge you a lot more on your actions than your words. And soldiers see and hear everything.
 
My best advice is to be patient.

There is a lot of things in the CAF that move at a glacial pace; be it the line at the mess hall, the pay and admin, or the amount of sitting around you'll be doing waiting on something seemingly meaningless. Getting wrapped around the axle will not help with that.

Be patient with your peers. Some folks are going into this without the same upbringing or advantages/disadvantages/experiences you have; and that's OK. You're all going to adapt to life in Relish soon enough. Some take longer than others. Keep that in mind when OCdt McFuckFace can't iron a shirt to save their life.

Be patient with your staff. They're doing the best they can with what they have available; that's information, schedule changes, training resources, sway with the CoC, and..well....candidates. They're herding kittens at the best if times and your one "quick question" could be the thing that turns their stressful day into a shit show. They truly want to see you all succeed, but it will take time.

Finally, be patient with yourself. This is all new. Everything from dress, to marching, to physical training, to communal living, to teamwork. You are going to suck at it at first. Everyone does. What doesn't bode well for candidates is either beating yourself up for it, or, faking arrogance as confidence. Own your mistakes, learn from them, do better next time.

As for dress and appearance, look presentable. Grab a couple collared shirts and khakis and a decent pair of casual brown shoes. Get a clean looking haircut and keep your facial hair tidy. This is mainly because, well, you will have 5-10 minutes at the best of times to wash up. Less in the field. I had females on my BMQ who buzzed it off just because it was more asspain to maintain it, especially in the field.

Keep your chin up, put your best foot forward, and be patient. Everyone who has donned His Majesty’s uniform before you have all gone through this in some iteration. If it were impossible, none of us veterans/currently serving folks would be here talking about our experiences outside the Training Army.

You got this.
 
Some people may tell you to be the gray man on course and that's an option

Biggest mistake I ever made in the army. Being the grey man on basic set the tone for the rest of my (short) career. The forces are small and doubly so in the reserves.
 
The thing is to know when to blend in, and when to shine. It can be tricky, I was never any good at it.
This.

I had to explain this to a troop once. The Sqn shitbag, as much as he was a shitbag, still had his name in the head of folks that made decisions on who went on course/tour/tasking; for better or worse.

This disgruntled troop didn't realize that there's good attention, bad attention, and no attention. Often times, people confuse no attention with good attention. Sadly, if you're Faceless Cpl Number 2, you're often not looked at as a go-to, like the keeners... or given a "corrective assignment" like the shitbag.

Don't seek bad attention, don't shy away from good attention, but never blend in with the scenery of the Troop Room.
 
My best advice is to be patient.

There is a lot of things in the CAF that move at a glacial pace; be it the line at the mess hall, the pay and admin, or the amount of sitting around you'll be doing waiting on something seemingly meaningless. Getting wrapped around the axle will not help with that.

Be patient with your peers. Some folks are going into this without the same upbringing or advantages/disadvantages/experiences you have; and that's OK. You're all going to adapt to life in Relish soon enough. Some take longer than others. Keep that in mind when OCdt McFuckFace can't iron a shirt to save their life.

Be patient with your staff. They're doing the best they can with what they have available; that's information, schedule changes, training resources, sway with the CoC, and..well....candidates. They're herding kittens at the best if times and your one "quick question" could be the thing that turns their stressful day into a shit show. They truly want to see you all succeed, but it will take time.

Finally, be patient with yourself. This is all new. Everything from dress, to marching, to physical training, to communal living, to teamwork. You are going to suck at it at first. Everyone does. What doesn't bode well for candidates is either beating yourself up for it, or, faking arrogance as confidence. Own your mistakes, learn from them, do better next time.

As for dress and appearance, look presentable. Grab a couple collared shirts and khakis and a decent pair of casual brown shoes. Get a clean looking haircut and keep your facial hair tidy. This is mainly because, well, you will have 5-10 minutes at the best of times to wash up. Less in the field. I had females on my BMQ who buzzed it off just because it was more asspain to maintain it, especially in the field.

Keep your chin up, put your best foot forward, and be patient. Everyone who has donned His Majesty’s uniform before you have all gone through this in some iteration. If it were impossible, none of us veterans/currently serving folks would be here talking about our experiences outside the Training Army.

You got this.
I better get to learning how to properly iron haha! I will for sure spend more time increasing my patience. Thank you for the advice I truly appreciate it.
 
The goal of basic is to take someone who's primarily focused on themselves, and make them into someone who can function as part of a group. A secondary outcome is the development of conditioned response to direction. Small challenges, medium challenges, and big challenges are how that is done. Remember, everything that you experience is tied to these objectives. Learn to recognize what is important, and what is trivial, and how to prioritize. Don't worry about things you can't change or influence. There will be a lot of stupid stuff, but much of that is there to frustrate you by design. Don't get sucked into that vacuum.

Learn a few small skills before you go. Learn how to do basic clothing repair (sew on buttons etc), learn how to iron. Get in the habit of making a mental checklist when you have some task to perform - everything is a mission. You want to cultivate the air of professionalism without being a brown-noser or a grey man. Be ready to help others, but not so much that you take over their tasking. Learn from both the mistakes and successes of others. As to appearance, while the standard is quite relaxed these days, I would advise you to have something that is easy to care for. Long hair is way more trouble than it's worth when you're at basic. By the same token, "high and tight" may draw too much attention to you. You don't want to be the tallest poppy on day one.

Work on your fitness. Your physical fitness is directly tied to your cognitive fitness. Look up the workouts for the FORCE test, and do those, along with some basic aerobic fitness. If you can't swim, learn.
 
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