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OTS military training instructors help shape next generation of officers
Tech. Sgt. Chi Yi, Military Training Instructor at Officer Training Shool here, demonstrates proper facing movements for new OTS trainees Feb 28. Yi has been an MTI for more than four years. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sandra Percival)
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OTS military training instructors help shape next generation of officers

Posted 4/5/2013   Updated 4/5/2013 Email story   Print story

    


by Master Sgt. Michael Voss
Air University Public Affairs


4/5/2013 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Dating back to September 1947, U.S. Air Force military training instructors have represented one of the most visible special-duty career fields in the service.

From the original group of "Flight Marchers" to today's MTIs, the need to train new Airmen has remained constant.

Today, 500 Airmen in the grades of staff sergeant through master sergeant work tirelessly planning, organizing and directing basic and initial military training for 35,000 new recruits each year at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Though not as large in number as their counterparts at Lackland, nine MTIs head to work each morning at the Air Force Officer Training School on Maxwell AFB, where they train the more than 1,000 officer trainees who receive their commissions from the school annually.

MTIs started reporting for duty at Maxwell in 1993 after the school moved from Lackland's Medina Annex to Maxwell as part of the then-Air Force chief of staff's vision to align all officer education and training under Air University. OTS is part of the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development.

"The level of responsibility and self-discipline required to do this job is very high," said MTI Tech. Sgt. Paul Baisden. "MTIs here are not dealing with basic trainees who may have just graduated from high school; we're dealing with officer trainees who have graduated college and some of them have prior enlisted service."

Baisden, like all MTIs at OTS, has experienced first-hand the difference between being an MTI at basic training and OTS. Because of the unique demands at OTS, the MTIs here have gone through a rigorous screening process, and before applying as an instructor, each applicant is required to complete a three-year tour at Lackland. Baisden has worn the MTI hat for eight years, three of which have been at Maxwell.

"Here, you're also dealing with commissioned staff a lot more often than you would if you were at Lackland, so the interaction between the officer and the enlisted staffs is very involved," he said.

The road to becoming an MTI will deter some from applying for the special duty, but becoming an OTS instructor is a process that few of those who are MTIs will attempt. MTI training is eight weeks , followed by a 90-day certification period, during which a trainee will become fully qualified on 121 tasks and evaluated on teaching drill.

"The application process for OTS MTI duty is very selective. There were more than 40 applicants recently, and only four were hired," said Tech. Sgt. Chi Yi, MTI.

For Baisden, his dream of becoming an MTI started long before he ever wore the hat.

"I went to high school in Texas, and I was in Air Force Junior ROTC," he said. "Being so close to San Antonio, we would take trips to Lackland all the time. I would see the guys with the big hats walking around training young Airmen, and that made me want to be one of them."

For most officer trainees, this will be the first time they've interacted with enlisted members.

"MTIs try to provide them with the enlisted perspective as much as possible. We teach them that we're all Airmen, and we need to take care of each other regardless of rank," said Baisden. "We tell them that they need to seek out their NCOs at their first duty stations because they have been around and they are a wealth of leadership and knowledge that will be invaluable."

OTS also commissions Guard and Reserve officers, so the impact MTIs have on officer trainees also extends to outside the gates and into the civilian workplace, Baisden said.

"We are the first example of what an NCO should be," said MTI Master Sgt. Anthony S. Key. "Being an OTS MTI is more about relationship building between officers and NCOs." Key, a former civil engineer, has been a MTI 13 years.

For the OTS MTIs, having influenced both potential senior enlisted and officer leaders is gratifying.

"There is a definite reward that comes full circle as an OTS military training instructor, because we went from directly affecting the enlisted at Lackland, to now directly affecting the officer corps, as well," said Master Sgt. Antonio Holmes. "The biggest honor is being asked to give the officer trainee their first salute."

(Staff Sgt. Sandra Percival contributed to this article.)



tabComments
4/28/2013 8:08:57 PM ET
I applaud everyone's opinion and views on this article howevercomma without stomping on your Personal Opinion it is clear that many has overlooked the importance of the article. This article is not focused on how long we have been an MTI or hide out in special duty. Nothing amazes me than to get slammed by SNCOs for the efforts dedication that me and my fellow MTI brothers and sisters are doing day to day operations. Hopefully for all former MTIs we still live by the MTI Code of I will spare no effort to properly prepare young men and women for military duty
TSgt Yi, Maxwell AFB
 
4/24/2013 9:32:09 AM ET
The MTI world is a good old boy club that's part of the problem there. The current superintendent hasn't seen his career field since 1993 and there are many more like that. They look after their and hang out to dry the ones who are not in the club.
Another former MTI, Minot
 
4/23/2013 10:53:11 PM ET
There's a current MTI at Lackland who was a MTI in 2001 when I going through BMT. He also wears a basic aircraft maintenance AFSC badge which is unsat. I agree with the Chief do your time in a special duty then go back to the operational USAF. The people who hide out in special duties still get promoted through the ranks then are forced back in the operational Air Force kicking and screaming are burden on their units and have no credibility to their subordinates or leadership.
AD MSgt, SW CONUS
 
4/22/2013 6:24:08 PM ET
Having been a MTI as a SSgt and now a CMSgt in the AD Air Force I'm thankful I left Lackand and BMT in my rear-view mirror and rejoined the AD Air Force after my tour was over. I love Lackland the awesome responsbility that comes with being an MTI. I don't care what you say but if you were are an MTI at Lackland and or Maxwell for 13 years you've stayed too long. How I know that is how the author describes the MSgt as a former civil engineer and not a civil engineer in a special duty as a MTI.
Former MTI - AD CMSgt, CONUS
 
4/16/2013 6:38:13 PM ET
I graduated from OTS 8 years ago after nearly 12 years of enlisted service. I can honestly say that the MTI's I encountered at OTS were some of the finest NCO's I have ever seen. Hats off to all of you who have ever honorably donned the Smokey Bear
OTS Grad, Lackland AFB TX
 
4/15/2013 10:17:58 AM ET
SUNDEV while I understand your concern I feel compelled to reply. As a graduate of the most recent OTS BOT class I worked almost daily with the MTIs. Having 11 years prior-enlisted service I can safely say this group of MTIs are the epitome of professionalism and a fantastic representation of the NCO corps.
Prior-E OTS grad, FL
 
4/15/2013 9:05:21 AM ET
I can only assume they take a kinder gentler approach with their trainees...versus putting the brim of their hat on your forehead and screaming at the top of their lungs.In my humble opinion having done it myself the best way for officers to gain the enlisted perspective is to have served as an enlisted member prior to receiving their commission.I was a buck Sgt when I was commissioned and my first assignment as a new 2LT was Squadron Section Commander of a 185 person unit. I had a greater appreciation of the airmen under my charge their living conditions working hours etc....and that knowledge stayed with me throughout my 26 year career.
Gen Halftrack, USA
 
4/13/2013 2:45:08 PM ET
No disrespect to the MTI Corps and especially those that where the blue rope. Yet honestly the first impression of an NCO on an officer With 13 and 8 years mentioned as MTI experience how does that factor into a realistic NCO impression for officers You've been exposed to only one aspect of military for the duration. I still appreciate all you do though
SUNDEV, DC
 
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