You know you’re in the Air Force when… v2

Air Force Public Affairs Agency Social Media Division

Editor’s note: We had so much fun with our first “You know you’re in the AF when..” post that we decided to create a second version. You guys chimed in on this one, so here’s the second set of humerous quirks unique to the Air Force and our military lives.

1.  When you hear a specific tapping sound as someone walks by…and nearly revert back into basic military training mode.


Photo 1: Military training instructors wear metal plates on the bottom of their shoes, known as taps. It was never good to hear that sound coming toward you.

2.  When asked where you were born, you answer with the name of the base. This also applies when you’re asked where you’re from.

LacklandPhoto 2:  Military members and military brats often struggle to explain where they are from due to frequent moves. It’s often easier to just say “everywhere”.

3.  When you get tired of telling people that the “Top Gun” movie is not about the Air Force.

Cleared for fright

 Photo 3:  Yes, the movie featured fighter jets. No, they weren’t ours. Can you think of movies that did feature the Air Force?

4.  You know your favorite MRE by number.

105th Airlit Wing Deploys Air Guardsmen to Support NY State Hurricane Relief Efforts

Photo 4:  Meals Ready to Eat, or MREs, are numbered and military members quickly learn which numbers to fight for and which to avoid. It’s all about #5, Chicken Breast!

5.  You’ve become a master of “hurry up and wait.”


 Photo 5: Even though the Air Force is precise and organized….waiting happens. Often.

6. You know you’ve worked on the flight line when you hear the term JP-4 or JP-8, and you smell them from memory.

An Air Force fuel truck

 Photo 6: Ahhh..the smell of jet fuel in the morning.

7.  The sound of reveille still causes you to leap out of bed.

Airmen stand at attention for reveille

 Photo 7:  Reveille is the traditional song played while the flag is raised in the morning. In basic training, it is often accompained by the yells of MTIs ordering basic trainees out of bed to start their day.

8. You automatically check your gig line when you tuck in your shirt.

An MTI corrects a cadet's gig line.

 Photo 8: A gig line is an imaginary straight line which runs down the right-hand side of the shirt button flap through the base of the right side of the belt and down the right side of the fly of your pants.  Admit it…you just looked down to see if yours was straight.

9.  While completing paperwork, you fight the urge to draw your “X”s perfectly within the box.

Military writing

Photo 9: We dont’ know why this guy is wearing a hard hat, but we bet he is filling out his paperwork perfectly with that ruler.

10.  You’ve said or heard someone say  “back when I was in the Air Force…”

History of Air Force uniforms.Photo 10: Airmen often relate uniforms to certain times of their service. Someone might say: “back when we wore BDU’s, we ironed our uniforms and shined our shoes” or: “back in the brown shoe days…” 

Can you think of some more? Comment below!


You know you’re in the Air Force when… v2