We often get a request for a week by week break down of what to expect, so I thought I’d put up a discussion and we can have it here.
See http://militarybases.com/texas/lackland/ for information on Lackland Air Force Base (AFB). Your Sailor receives training on the Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC) Lackland. See http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=64992 and http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=73351 for information on the programs at the NTTC. Lackland AFB is one of the three military bases that make up Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA). The other two bases are Fort Sam Houston (where the HM "A" School is located) and Randolph AFB. See the FAQ for Master-At-Arms "A" School.
There is an unofficial Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Navy-Master-at-arms-A-school/1677... for "A" School and https://www.facebook.com/EliteMasterAtArms for after "A" School.
Arrival: As soon as you get your Sailor's address, send cell phone charger and laptop, baby shampoo, Dawn dish soap, and maybe some comfort foods and comfort clothes--favorite underwear are a biggy with many. Use the USPS Flat Rate boxes. Don't waste your money sending boxes overnight because your Sailor may not be able to pick it up the day it comes in. Now that many of you will be able to go to the airport to see your Sailor off to "A" School, you could have these things ready to take to your Sailor at the airport the day or so after PIR. Your Sailor will have a black backpack to put them in.
Do NOT send vitamins or cold remedies or Tylenol/Ibuprofen or other OTC meds with or to your new Sailor. Your new Sailor is not permitted to have those unless they are authorized by medical. We used to recommend that the Sailors take Ibuprofen a half hour or so before the OC spray and then as needed afterward, but Sailors have been put on restriction for having OTC meds and vitamins in their rooms or on them without proper authorization.
Bedding is provided and the Sailors are able to do their own laundry without charge. They do pay for dry cleaning if needed. Some Sailors like to have their own blanket to sleep on top of the made up bed so that they do not have to make up their bed every day and just straighten any wrinkles. The Sailors have 4 towels as part of their seabag.
Your Sailor will fly out of O’Hare International Airport (ORD) or Midway International Airport (MDW). Sailors flying on the same day have flown from different airports and/or at different times, so only your Sailor can tell you his/her flight details. If you give your Sailor baby shampoo and Dawn dish soap, be sure the bottles are sealed and are 3 ounces or smaller each and in a ziplock bag. Your Sailor will fly into San Antonio International Airport (SAT) and should be met by an NTTC Lackland AFB representative and transported to the base.
Your Sailor is permitted to have electronics, such as a PS4 and games, and a musical instrument (guitars and flutes have been specifically mentioned before). Your Sailor will most likely share a room with one or two other Sailors and will often share a bathroom with the Sailors from at least one other room. They often do not have a choice of who they will be rooming with. Sometimes the roommates will arrive together, but your Sailor may have one or more roommates who have been at Lackland for a few weeks. Rooms include a mini-fridge and microwave, and some may include a television. The Sailors in the adjoining rooms often share games and/or appliances (blenders have been popular with Sailors at times) rather than each having their own in order to save space and money. Items which require an open flame to operate (candles, for example) or which produce heat (hot plates, coffee pots, etc.) are not to be used in the Sailors' rooms. They are, however, permitted to have clothes irons. Smoking is only permitted in designated areas. Internet access costs about $60 a month, so often 4-6 people will share the cost or there is free WiFi in the common area (near the pool tables) and many do that instead. Some Sailors purchase a Hotspot so they have internet where they want it.
Remember when addressing the box that your Sailor is most likely still SR for several months unless E-2 (SA) or E-3 (SN) was obtained due to having had college or prior experience or some other reason or earned at Boot Camp by passing the DEP GUIDE PQS test and the first PFA or if s/he was meritoriously promoted. (See E-1, E-2, or E-3? How did that happen?.)
The address is:
SR (SA or SN) LAST NAME, FIRST NAME
1320 TRUEMPER ST.
JBSA LACKLAND, TX 78236 (sometimes has the +4)
(Sometimes they have them include the Class number either next to the name or after the street, but that is the address. If the Sailor is in Holding. It will be PSC 3 HOLDING.)
There will be a paper each day to let the Sailors know who has received mail so that they can go pick it up. Sailors do not receive mail on weekends or holidays.
Some Sailors are at NTTC Lackland for two to three weeks while waiting for a class to form. Others arrive only a day (as mine did) or two before classes start on Monday (or Tuesday if that Monday is a holiday). The average time in Holding is two weeks. When a class is ready to start, the Sailors are said to "Class Up." You may hear from your Sailor often while in "A" School, but there are some weeks when there may be less contact due to the stress of the tests. Your Sailor will be able to call or text when not in class or on duty. Your Sailor will not be able to have Liberty off of the base until completing INDOC and Quals (Qualifications needed to Phase up), which several have indicated also includes the OC spray regardless of when s/he arrived and how long s/he has been in Holding. The command can change the requirements for a particular class.
Here is a link you may want to check out: http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=5213 It's a few years old, but is still pretty accurate.
The Rating Information Card for MA can be found at https://www.cool.navy.mil/usn/enlisted/rating_info_cards/ma.pdf. That indicates the Approximate Training Time is approximately 9 weeks, but the actual training time is 7 weeks once the Sailor "classes up" and begins training. The additional two weeks is the average time on HOLD waiting to class up.
Billets for orders to the first duty station are sometimes offered during the first few weeks after arrival, even before OC Spray, for some classes, but in week 3 or 4 after classing up for other classes. If the billets are offered before the OC Spray, they may be offered based on how well the Sailors did on the PRT or may be offered based on class standing, with those with the highest scores choosing first, if offered after the OC Spray. Sometimes billets are offered in alphabetical order (or reverse alphabetical order) if there are many close scores or if someone chose to offer the billets in that manner. (I am interested in seeing how the change to offering the billets early affects those who marry while in "A" School. In the past, Sailors needed to be married before billets were chosen in order for the new spouse to be on the orders. This will not be possible with this new practice, so perhaps the Sailor puts in a chit requesting to marry and also requests a change in orders before the orders are actually issued at the end of "A" School or perhaps puts in a chit to be able to pick from the stateside orders.) A Sailor's security clearance will affect the billets that s/he is offered. Sailors with a poor credit rating will not be able to get Secret clearance, for example, which could limit the billets that are offered to them. There are other factors that could affect a Sailor's eligibility for a particular billet regardless of class standing depending on the requirements of the billet. A billet for Personnel Reliability Program (PRP), for example, has higher standards than most other billets. Typically, PRP and Riverine billets are offered first; then married Sailors get to choose from any stateside billets; and then the Sailors with security clearance issues also get to choose from the stateside billets since they cannot leave the US. The remaining Sailors then choose in the order of their class standing at that point (or based on PRT scores or based on whatever has been decided for that class) from the billets that are left.
Liberty and Privileges while in “A” School are granted to those who have demonstrated that they can conduct themselves in a manner that would merit that level of responsibility.
It appears that Sailors have INDOC and must complete a certain number of watches, musters and inspections in a satisfactory manner as well as pass a test over the INDOC materials and then they are eligible to receive their Phase I cards and to advance to Phase I. If they have classed up, they must also be completing the coursework in a satisfactory manner to advance to Phase I. During Phase I, Sailors are not authorized to wear civilian clothing except for sleeping. They are only permitted off-base Liberty on non-training days (typically on weekends) and must muster each night at 2200. They must continue to have satisfactory performance in all areas and must remain at Phase I for at least two (2) weeks prior to being able to advance to Phase II.
It appears that Sailors are not permitted to wear civilian clothing except for sleeping during the first two (2) weeks in Phase II. During Phase II, Sailors are permitted off-base Liberty when they are not in class or on duty and must muster each night at 2200. They must continue to have satisfactory performance in order to advance and be able to wear civilian clothes when not on duty or in class. They remain at this Phase until they leave Lackland AFB. At about week 4 after arrival, ask your Sailor what clothes, if any, s/he wants you to send. Don't be surprised if your Sailor finds that some clothes, especially jeans, do not fit due to his/her change in shape since entering boot camp. Many Sailors request a couple of shirts and sometimes a belt and buy new jeans. Civilian clothes must be in good taste in order to be worn while on Liberty.
It appears that Sailors no longer advance to Phase III and overnight Liberty is not authorized at any time at this time.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages is not permitted at any time during INDOC or Phase I or Phase II for any Sailor. Drinking in moderation is authorized in Phase III for those of legal drinking age (21) while on Liberty if the Sailor does not have class or duty within 8 hours of returning from Liberty. There is no Phase III for most Sailors in "A" School at Lackland AFB.
Sailors arriving at Lackland from the RTC cannot have their own vehicles at MA "A" School. Sailors attending "A" School at Lackland are not permitted to ride in a privately owned vehicle (POV) until after graduation from "A" School. This also means that if they own the vehicle used when a family member visits them, the family member has to rent a car while in San Antonio or take taxis or the Sailor has to get a deviation chit in order to ride in the vehicle. Some have interpreted that to mean that they cannot ride in a family member's vehicle, but POV refers to a vehicle that is registered in the Sailor's name. If there is a doubt, the Sailor should check with the chain of command because Sailors have been set back and at least one Sailor has lost the "A" School due to riding in a POV before graduation since it was considered to be disregarding orders. (Sailors who change ratings MAY be able to have a POV at Lackland. The vehicle must be approved prior to the transfer and the Sailor must obtain a deviation chit in order to have the POV.)
Sailors CANNOT get a tattoo while in "A" School at Lackland. If caught, doing so WILL most likely result in Captain's Mast and the Sailor most likely WILL be removed from MA "A" School and very likely will be placed in the Professional Apprenticeship Career Tracks (PACT) Program and have a reduction in rate and pay. Underage drinking and drinking when it is not permitted while in "A" School WILL result in Captain's Mast and the Sailor WILL be removed from MA "A" School and MAY be separated from the Navy. In October 2015, several who were hours away from graduation ended up not graduating due to tattoos. Please remind your Sailors to follow the rules concerning drinking and tattoos and all other rules that they are made aware of while in "A" School and after. Sailors also need to be aware that they are guilty if they are aware that another Sailor is guilty of breaking the rules and do not report it.
If your sailor will be in "A" School over Christmas, know that Lackland is among the "A" Schools that DOES NOT allow junior Sailors to "go in the hole" on leave and have Leave before graduating "A" School. Your Sailor will not be home for Christmas unless s/he is in the graduating class the week or so before Christmas and then the leave after "A" School will overlap Christmas. If the Sailor graduated earlier in the year and chose not to take leave immediately following "A" School before going to the first duty station and the new command authorized Leave for Christmas, then the Sailor would be home for Christmas, but that is a long shot and many who try that are denied. (If this changes for anyone, please let me know. Thanks.)
Sailors in "A" School continue to have physical training. Sailors may be required to attend mandatory Fitness Enhancement Program (FEP) PT sessions and classes on diet and nutrition if the Sailor's PRT results fall outside of the Satisfactory level. Those sessions are in addition to PT that all of the Sailors do at least twice a week.
The running schedule is 3 times a week—Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They get up at 5 a.m. and run 2 miles on Monday, 3 on Wednesday, and usually 5 on Friday. That may be different for some Sailors depending on the sponsor.
There are 7 weeks of training once your Sailor classes up. Just as the recruits in Boot Camp have a book with the Master Training Schedule printed for them, the students at Lackland receive a booklet containing the Course Master Schedule once they class up.
INDOC (may be before or the same week as classing up depending on availability of seats when the Sailor arrives): includes a finance class and information on the Phases and expectations of the “A” School. (INDOC has been the first day of the first week for many and classes begin on the second day, meaning that there are only four actual training days in the first week. For those in HOLD waiting to class up, they will still have INDOC on the first non-holiday weekday after arriving.)
Once your Sailor has classed up, each training day will consist of eight classes or labs of fifty minutes each. Labs are when the Sailors actually use what they have been taught in either a practice or a test.
Week 1: Training this week: Introduction, subject communication skills, use of force and use of deadly force, self-defense, MACH training (Mechanical Advantage Control Holds), take down training, use of an expandable baton, use of handcuffs, and use of OC spray.
The first written test (Knowledge Test #1), which covers the information covered to that point, is at the end of the first week or the first day of the second week. (It is on the fifth training day.) On that day, they also get OC sprayed (Oleoresin Capsicum, “pepper spray”) and have to complete a 5 stage course in 5 minutes. Weather conditions may affect when this is done. (Have baby shampoo ready ahead of time—Your Sailor may be able to give it to his/her Battle Buddy along with a camera if s/he wants pictures. Your Sailor should use more shampoo than water at first to help cut the oil of the OC Spray. Johnson's Baby Bath with Aloe has also been recommended--rinse off as much of the OC spray as possible with water and then put the Baby Bath on like a lotion on any place that burns--it is also safe for around the eyes--but DO NOT lather and leave it sit for a few minutes and then rinse and put on more and repeat as needed. Going to sleep on the floor with a fan blowing over relieves the burn. Also, tell your Sailor to clean anything s/he has touched so s/he doesn't get it again later and to be careful when showering to protect parts that had not been sprayed. Washing with Dawn dish soap works well for areas other than around the eyes.) (Milk and yogurt are no longer recommended.) Note: Make sure that your Sailor puts the OC certificate in a safe place where it cannot be harmed and will know where to find it later at the first duty station and after. If the OC certificate is lost, your Sailor will have to do Level 1, full face spray with the OC spray, again rather than Level 2, a rag or sponge sprayed with OC spray and "put" on the forehead/eyes, when it is time for recertification or if asked for proof and the Sailor can't produce the certificate.
Week 2: Training this week: Basic Life Support, CPR/First Aid/AED, and weapons (M9). There is a knowledge test over the M9 (Knowledge Test #2) and drills and performance tests with the M9 on Day 5 of this week.
Week 3: Some Sailors will discover where they will go for their first duty station this week often on Tuesday or Wednesday. Some don't find out until week 4, so don't be concerned if your Sailor does not know by the end of the week. As mentioned previously, some classes receive their orders very early on.
Training this week: more weapons training (M9, M16, M4, M500, shotgun) and honing of previous skills/training. There are performance tests throughout the week. Remedial training is provided for those who are having difficulty. There is a knowledge test over the M16, M4, and M500 (Knowledge Test #3) at the end of the week.
Week 4: Performance tests continue. Training this week: Health and Safety, Ethics, Military Law and Authority, and training over the various duties that they will have as an MA. There are four knowledge tests (Knowledge Test #4, #5, #6, #7) this week over information learned.
Week 5: Training this week: More training over the various duties that they will have as an MA. There are two knowledge tests (Knowledge Test #8, #9) at the beginning of the week.
Week 6: Training the week: Tactical Team Movements. There are two knowledge tests this week (Knowledge Test #10, #11). There is a Performance test over information learned in the last week as well as one over the new information from this week. The students go through various scenarios that they may encounter.
Week 7: The final graded exercise—a comprehensive oral exam over the info learned in “A” School. That is followed by Security Reaction Force Response Exercises.
Graduation and Pinning: This used to be on Friday morning of week 7, except on rare occasions when it was moved to accommodate events on base, such as a change in command or visiting dignitaries, but graduation now occurs on other days of the week depending on when classes began and on the availability of the graduation hall. Your Sailor will know the date and time, but be aware that the date and/or time may be changed. If you will be attending graduation, it is best to meet your Sailor the evening before graduation to pick up the gate pass rather than waiting until the morning of graduation, especially if graduation is on Friday when Air Force boot camp graduation is taking place and when "C" School graduations may also be scheduled. The ceremony lasts about 30 minutes to up to an hour for a large class. Your Sailor can choose the person/s to pin on the badge. The badge has three pins to be fastened and some have had up to three individuals pin on the badge. The pinning takes place within the hall, not on the stage, after each of the graduates has received their certificates. The newly pinned MA's then march back to their MA School Quarterdeck before being released for Leave for those going home or for Liberty for those on HOLD. (See MA A-School Graduation Tips and Graduation Info for Lackland AFB - Navy MA graduation; Places to s....)
The next couple of weeks: Your Sailor will most likely be able to go home for a couple of weeks (10 days is average) before going to the first duty station. Be sure your Sailor checks the records that are received prior to leaving to be sure that the correct records are received--Several had the wrong records when my Sailor left in December 2008 and it was quite an interesting few days until all was corrected. Also be sure that your Sailor checks his/her tickets as soon as s/he gets them. One Sailor received tickets to Portland, Oregon rather than Portland, Maine. Good advise for your Sailor is "Check everything you are given to be sure it is what you are expecting it to be." Have your Sailor consider doing RAP or HARP duty with a recruiter while home and getting credit for 5 days of unchargeable Leave. Be sure that the recruiter signs off and sends in the paperwork. Travel to and from this leave is paid for by the Sailor (or the Sailor's family). Sailors who do not have their orders before graduation will remain on HOLD at Lackland AFB and will not be permitted to take Leave until the orders are cut.
Off to the first duty station: Your Sailor may return to Lackland to leave from there or may leave from home and this could change while your Sailor is home. Be prepared. You will now address letters (more likely packages) to MASR (MASA or MASN) Last Name, First Name MI.
Sailors with orders to a combat zone will have 4 weeks of Expeditionary Combat School (ECS) in Gulfport, Mississippi before heading to their first duty station. Your Sailor may be on hold in Gulfport for one or more weeks prior to beginning training. (See http://vimeo.com/16899950 for additional information on ECS.)
Sailors with orders within the Coastal Riverine Force will complete a 4 week Riverine Combat Skills (RCS) course in Virginia before heading to their first duty station. The first 3 weeks are at the Joint Expeditionary Base-Fort Story in Little Creek near Virginia Beach and the last week of training is at Fort Eustis in Newport News. Your Sailor may be on hold in Virginia for one or more weeks prior to beginning training. (Check out Riverine Moms -- it's not a very active group -- and see http://www.stripes.com/running-and-gunning-over-blue-waters-with-th... for more information on Riverine.)
Some Sailors will have one or both of the above trainings prior to heading to their first duty station and others will head straight to their first duty station.
There are groups for many of the places that your Sailor will be stationed. Some of the groups are Bahrain Moms, Bangor/Bremerton/Kitsap Sailors and Family, Guam Mom's, Guantanamo Bay Moms - GTMO, Japan Mom's, Rota Spain, Sailors in Naples, Italy, Mom's with Sailors in Sicily, Italy, and Sigonella, Italy. You can go to the Groups tab and do a search for the location or ask in a reply below.
There are no groups for Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) and you will see very little within the groups about it because we are not to share information concerning PRP other than what is within the public domain. (See http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/130..., http://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/doctrine/dod/dodd-5210_42.htm, http://dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/521042p.pdf, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personnel_Reliability_Program.)
If you have not already done so, join MAA Moms. Other groups to check out are New MAA Mom's (it has not been very active) and Security Sailors (it is not very active and includes loved ones of Sailors from other ratings as well).
What is a typical tour length?
Billets for most commands have a Minimum Activity Tour (MAT) of 12 months for Unaccompanied and 24 months for Accompanied. Tour lengths are from 12 months to 36 months.
http://www.militarymedicine.com/files/JFTR%20Appendix%20Q.pdf gives the tour lengths for different locations. http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/reference/milpersman/1000/130... gives additional information.
In addition, the sea/shore rotation comes into play.
Sea/Shore Rotation for MA
Note: Sea tours and shore tours for sailors that have completed four sea tours will be 36 months at sea followed by 36 months ashore until retirement.
MA is classified as an INUS/OUTUS (in the U.S./Outside the U.S.) community, which means that instead of being assigned to ships, many of their overseas assignments are classified as sea tour duty for sea/shore flow purposes. That does not mean that MA's will not be assigned to vessels because some MA's will be assigned to vessels and some straight out of "A" School.
http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/enlisted/community/security/D... has more info for you.
Please let me know if there are any inaccuracies and I will make the correction.
Schedule last updated 4 September 2014 based on information provided by a student on 08/14/2014 using the Course Master Schedule and after additional information was provided on 09/04/2014.
Page last updated 04/10/2020.
Block 5 you can take the test two times. If you do not pass you go to the room next door and there are instructors in there that will "remediate" (go over every question) before you take it the second time. It is fairly easy if they just ask for help.
I'll add that. Thanks.