I remember looking at the different physical standards from the 40's of the Army Air Corps, then the transition to post-Vietnam and finally to the 21st Century. I thought of how very difficult Basic Training must have been for the first generation of Airmen, and how it continued to ease as we converted to a more highly information based and socially aware military.
My flight wasn't kicked or punched if we give the instructor attitude. My flight usually got at least 5 hours of sleep every night, and 3 meals every day. Nobody died or broke a bone. I can clearly remember pondering the day of training every night just before I slept, thinking "This isn't so bad. I can do it. Hell, thousands of trainees have successfully graduated these standards, and these are the easiest standards in the history of the Air Force." I grew physically and matured mentally, and many others progressed to more demanding schools than I, others to less demanding, and nearly all made it through the courses.
Then, I started talking to the most recent, freshest pipeliners. These Airmen who generally say how minimally difficult their time at Lackland was, and that some wish it were a bit more rigorous. Trainees are allowed more personal freedom than ever before, and there has been marked power shift away from the Instructors in the last 5 years. I know how much of a REMF I am. These newest batches make me worry for the Air Force.
Welcome to the generation of pseudo-entitlement and customer service. Warrior Airmen are taking a back-seat in our fiscally constrained, information age, socially progressive military. These are good things, but change always has unanticipated effects, and there are two halves of this coin.
So here's my advice for anyone worried about the horrors and trials of Air Force Basic Military Training: It looks like a freaking cake-walk to me.