An OTS MTI: Shaping our Air Force 100 cadets at a time

Master Sgt. Tiffany Dudley, Officer Training School military training instructor, teaches a class of approximately 100 OTS students, June 7, 2017, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. During this classroom instruction, Dudley taught the students the proper wear of all combinations of the Air Force blues uniform. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Master Sgt. Tiffany Dudley, Officer Training School military training instructor, teaches a class of approximately 100 OTS students, June 7, 2017, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. During this classroom instruction, Dudley taught the students the proper wear of all combinations of the Air Force blues uniform. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Officer Training School Military Training Instructors watch as the newest OTS students arrive on campus, June 28, 2017, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. During the first day of training the students are sorted into their flights and taught basic military drill movement, from there they proceed to in-processing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

Officer Training School Military Training Instructors watch as the newest OTS students arrive on campus, June 28, 2017, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. During the first day of training the students are sorted into their flights and taught basic military drill movement, from there they proceed to in-processing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Alexa Culbert)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --

“Hurry up!” These are the greeting words for the newest Officer Training School cadets.

The cadets quickly move up the side walk toward a group of Military Training Instructors, whose mission is to shape them into Air Force leaders.

For the new cadets, this day will be remembered as their first day in their new careers, however, for their instructors, this is just another day on the job.

The Military Training Instructors strive to produce first class Air Force leaders and it all begins here, at the Officer Training School.

The biggest difference between the MTI’s at Basic Military Training located at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas and at OTS is they are not training their future subordinates, but their future leaders.

Master Sgt. Ronald Eppers, OTS MTI, said, “The better job we do now advocating for sound leadership practices and teaching them about the enlisted force, the better off we will be working for them.”

This difference also changes how the instructors prepare their students. Rather than the in-your-face approach taken by the MTIs at Lackland, here they work more as mentors, something Eppers feels makes the greatest impact on new officers.  

As Air Force non-commissioned officers and senior non-commissioned officers, the MTIs provide a physical example of what to expect in the operational Air Force.

Master Sgt. Tiffany Dudley, OTS MTI, left her primary career field because she was looking to challenge herself; and she found that challenge at OTS.

 “I definitely hit the ground running, it was very motivating to learn fast and pick up quickly and try to lead from the front,” she said. “It was very challenging and very demanding.”

The demand for MTIs at OTS is greater than at BMT, because the instructors are only responsible for 42 to 52 trainees at Lackland, in comparison to 58 to 115 here, according to Dudley.

Though she found the job to be a difficult one, Dudley strives to be the best MTI she can possibly be.

With so many cadets and just a few MTIs, the instructors put in about 10 to 12 hours a day, ensuring the Air Force receives the leaders it needs.

Though the job is demanding of time and energy, Eppers believes it’s worth it.

No task or project that I ever completed within Aircraft Maintenance of Civil Engineering could quite match the feeling of instilling the military bearing and discipline with an officer-candidate,” said Eppers.