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January 18, 2013

Volunteer or not, BMT needs the best

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Nathan Simmons
Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Staff Sgt. Kenneth Dancer, a military training instructor with the 321st Training Squadron, leads a group of Air Force basic military trainees carrying state flags during the Basic Military Training graduation ceremony at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, on Jan. 7, 2013. MTIs mold recruits through an eight-and-a-half week BMT program focusing on basic war skills, military bearing, discipline, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies and Air Force core values. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — Adjustments to the military training instructor selection process will be made in early 2013 – driven by a recent review of basic military training that stressed the need for experienced and talented non-commissioned officers to train America’s new Airmen.

AETC Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. James Cody said MTI duty is one of the most significant and rewarding duties an Airman can perform, and that all Airmen should understand this critical point — by being selected, the Air Force recognizes an Airman’s ability to perform a duty that requires the highest level of professionalism.

“We need our very best Airmen as MTIs. We all remember the impact our MTI had on our transformation from civilian to Airman,” Cody said. “There is no question, the experience at BMT is the foundation for all enlisted Airmen, and we absolutely need the very best NCOs leading this effort.”

A thorough review of BMT was conducted, highlighting the need to institute several changes in various aspects of the program, one of which will be assigning two MTIs to each flight of trainees. The volunteer base for MTI duty will be combined and enhanced with a selection process that includes volunteers and non-volunteers best qualified for the job.

Volunteers for MTI assignments are given first consideration, but the Air Force Personnel Center will review each candidate on a case-by-case basis and select eligible individuals deemed qualified for this special duty assignment from a prioritized roster using the current assignment availability process.

Applicants need to be technical sergeants or master sergeants with no more than 16 years total Air Force military service, have an overall rating of five on their last three performance reports, and must have or be able to obtain three years of PCS “retainability” for an assignment as an MTI. Airmen must have no history of behavioral problems, and must meet the highest professional standards to be selected for MTI duty.

“Three decades of force structure changes have had many impacts on our Air Force and Airmen. We expect a great deal from all Airmen, and we must ensure we strike the right balance of experience, education, and training,” Cody said. “MTI duty is one of the areas our Airmen can continue their development; if selected, know you have been given the distinct honor to train our greatest asset — our newest Airmen.”

There are number of incentives that come with the territory, including special duty pay of $450 per month, a supplemental clothing allowance of $227 per year, the AETC Instructor Badge and the MTI ribbon. Master Sgt. Lucan Plata, who trained flights from June 2009 to October 2010 with the 326th Training Squadron, said it’s about much more than ribbons and dollars.

“The intangibles here are what make this worthwhile. If you’re doing it for extra pay and a ribbon, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons,” Plata said. “You do this for the future of the Air Force and for the Airmen. It’s a selfless job, and if you truly enjoy serving, this is your opportunity to impact many young men and women.”

Plata said he’s learned more from trainees than he ever could teach them, and they allowed him to learn volumes about himself through teaching.

“This opportunity here is huge — getting to train the very people you could be fighting side-by-side with one day,” said Col. Mark Gaubert, AETC Special Duty Assignments director.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the MTI recruiting team via email at 737trg.mtir@us.af.mil or call 210-473-1018 to speak with an MTI recruiter.




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(U.S. Air Force Illustration by Airman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau)

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