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.

As opposed to all other USAF enlisted and officer ranks, Airman Basic has no rank insignia affiliated. 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.

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".

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.

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.

See also


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