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Social media makes staying in touch with Basic Military Trainees easier

Photos appearing on the USAF BMT facebook page feature some 171st Air Refueling Wing recruits Alyssa Dunlap and Clarissa Fabus.

Photos appearing on the USAF BMT facebook page feature some 171st Air Refueling Wing recruits Alyssa Dunlap and Clarissa Fabus.

Photos appearing on the USAF BMT facebook page feature some 171st Air Refueling Wing recruits Alyssa Dunlap and Clarissa Fabus.

Photos appearing on the USAF BMT facebook page feature some 171st Air Refueling Wing recruits Alyssa Dunlap and Clarissa Fabus.

Photos appearing on the USAF BMT facebook page feature some 171st Air Refueling Wing recruits Alyssa Dunlap and Clarissa Fabus.

Photos appearing on the USAF BMT facebook page feature some 171st Air Refueling Wing recruits Alyssa Dunlap and Clarissa Fabus.

Pittsburgh -- Long gone are the days in which the only insight parents had about their young heroes' USAF Basic Training experience was experienced through brief, hurried, "patio break" phone calls. Now thanks to social media parents and other loved ones can gain insight into the Basic Training experience through Facebook pages such as the AF Wing Moms and the USAF Basic Training web page. While parents and loved ones anxiously await the return of their child, many have questions about exactly what their sons and daughters are going through during their training experience. This is where the AF Wing Moms page and the USAF Basic Training page are helpful.

Often times unless that family member had prior military experience themselves, parents were generally clueless about what was going on in Basic Military Training. Facebook pages such as AF Wing Moms help to keep family members aware of everything going on with their Airmen while they are gone. The general page has helpful information such as a breakdown of the week-by-week training activities. Also the site administrator posts pictures from the USAF BMT web page which feature photos of various flight members; so there's a good chance parents may see a picture of their son or daughter during training.

Another great feature is the individual flight groups that are formed. Typically the mothers or other family members from each flight will form a group often featuring a countdown of when their family member will be graduating. It also serves as a place for the other moms to relate about missing their son or daughter.

"The AFWingMoms site and the flight sites have helped me cope with the loneliness and worry by letting me commiserate with all the other parents and spouses about the time apart and share the joy when one of us gets our precious phone call or letter. We all brag about our trainees and stress together over the setbacks. It has been so comforting to know that everyone is going through the very same emotional stages that I have. The sense of community these sites bring to me has been a God send. I can't say enough good things about the moderators of the sites and the people posting on them. They are truly an emotional life preserver!" says Dede Schauer, wife of Master Sgt. Don Schauer and mother of Taylor Schauer a new recruit of the 171st Air Refueling Wing who is scheduled to graduate BMT on August 24.

There are all sorts of other great exchanges that go on with the site such as every Monday is MTI Monday in which a Military Training Instructor is signed on and will answer parent's questions in real time. Tuesdays are Recruiter Tuesdays in which recruiters do the same. Some of the parents make tee-shirts and discuss where they will be staying during graduation. The AF Wing Moms is a great way for moms and other family members to stay connected with their children and each other as they support their loved one during this life changing transition from civilians to Airmen.