I am former Air Force.
It's human nature to categorize people based on our existing knowledge base. It is shorthand thinking. If we didn't do this, we would be overwhelmed with information overload. Not good, not bad, it just is.
As a service member, you will be expected and held to a higher standard of conduct than the average citizen. We don't give guns to those who guard the gates unless we trust them not to use them against us. "Higher standards" is a societal subjective concept. It means that behavior that lies outside societal norms are discouraged. (Although, I would like to note that the US military integrated before the rest of US society did.) As such, when people say that BMT will beat freethinking out of you, this is what they mean.
There is a misconception that service members are not allowed to question authority. There is nothing further from the truth. We are called to follow lawful orders without hesitation. That means we always evaluate the orders we are given, knowing that we rarely have all the information available, in an extremely small window of time. If we carry out an unlawful order, we are held just as accountable as we are if we fail to carry out a lawful one.
Individuality is permitted in as much as it 1) doesn't interfere with the mission, and 2) doesn't detract from the professional image needed for societal trust.
Me: 48 - Married, straight, male
Shiela: My wife.
Suzanne: My FWB
Adam: Shiela's LDR