Airman Basic

Airman Basic

Airman Basic (AB) is the lowest enlisted rank in the United States Air Force, immediately below Airman. The pay grade for Airman Basic is E-1.cite web
title= Department of Defense Enlisted Rank Insignias
accessdate= 2008-08-02
work= U.S. Department of Defense Official Website
publisher= United States Department of Defense

As opposed to all other USAF enlisted and officer ranks, Airman Basic has no rank insignia affiliated.cite web
title= Air Force Grade and Insignia
accessdate= 2008-08-02
work= Air Force Link
publisher= United States Department of Defense
] The lack of uniform insignia for Airmen Basic is the impetus for the nickname "slick-sleeve", in contrast to all other enlisted Air Force ranks which wear their stripes/chevrons on their uniform sleeves.cite encyclopedia
last = Partridge
first = Eric
coauthors = Tom Dalzell, Terry Victor
encyclopedia = The New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English
title = slick-sleeve
url =
accessdate = 2008-08-02
date = 2005-12-05
publisher = TF-ROUTL
isbn = 9780415259385
pages = 1779
quote = a US Army private E-1; a US Air Force airman basic; a police recruit; 'slick' because he has no stripes on his sleeve

In accordance with Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-2618, "The Enlisted Force Structure", the term of address for an Airman Basic is "Airman Basic" or "Airman".cite manual
author = SMSgt Ronnie L. Murphy
title = The Enlisted Force Structure
section = Attachment 2
publisher = United States Secretary of the Air Force, United States Air Force
date = 2004-12-01
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-08-02
quote = This instruction defines the enlisted force structure, establishes enlisted leadership and development levels, specifies responsibilities of each enlisted rank within the structure, establishes official terms of address for Air Force enlisted personnel, describes special SNCO positions, and standardizes duty titles.

USAF grade history

When the US Air Force was split from the US Army on July 26, 1947, it inherited the Army enlisted ranks; the lowest USAF enlisted rank became "Private" (falling immediately below Private, E-2), which wore no rank insignia.cite paper
last = TSgt Spink
first = Barry L.
title = A Chronology of the Enlisted Rank Chevron of the United States Air Force
pages = 22
publisher = Air Force Historical Research Agency
date = 1992-02-19
url =
format = Scribd
accessdate = 2008-08-02

In March 1952 the Air Council and United States Air Force Chief of Staff adopted a number of changes to the Air Force enlisted rank structure that had been recommended by studies made in 1950 and 1951. On April 24, 1952, Air Force Regulation 39-36 was published, changing the name of the lowest enlisted Air Force rank to "Basic Airman"—whose members still bore no insignia—immediately below the new "Airman Third Class".

On February 5, 1959, the new Air Force regulation governing the titles of enlisted ranks was released; the only change being direction that the title for E-1 was changed from "Basic Airman" to the current "Airman Basic".

Promotion from AB

Under normal circumstances, Airmen Basic are eligible for promotion to Airman (E-2) after six months time-in-grade (TIG). However, individuals enlisting for six years are promoted from AB to Airman First Class (A1C) upon completion of either technical training (or 20 weeks thereof) or the indoctrination course for Combat Control or Pararescue.

In accordance with AFI 36-2502, "Airman Promotion Program", all promotions from AB require that the Airman's immediate commanding officer approve the promotion in writing before they may assume it.cite manual
author = SSgt Jeremy Gill
title = Airman Promotion Program
section = paragraph 2.1
publisher = Colonel D. Vande Hey, HQ Air Force Personnel Center (HQ AFPC/DPP)
date = 2002-08-06
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2008-08-02
quote = This instruction implements Air Force Policy Directive 36-25, Military Promotion and Demotion. Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3 apply to all Air Force (AF) active duty enlisted.

ee also

* United States Air Force enlisted rank insignia


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