An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

MTIs turn civilians into Airmen

Staff Sgt. Joseph Flores, 323rd Training Squadron, observes a Stevens High School Junior ROTC drill event Nov. 18. Sergeant Flores recently shadowed recruiters in San Antonio for a week to better understand the recruiting process. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)

Staff Sgt. Joseph Flores, 323rd Training Squadron, observes a Stevens High School Junior ROTC drill event Nov. 18. (U.S. Air Force photo/Robbin Cresswell)

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- There's a commonality that unites the men and women who serve as the 737th Training Group's Military Training Instructors - service above self in transitioning the more than 35,000 civilians a year who enter Air Force Basic Military Training into Airmen.

It's an MTI's professionalism and commitment to Air Force core values in basic military training that molds those civilians into successful Airmen; role models to be followed and at the end of 8.5 weeks, often imitated.

Their effectiveness as leaders, teachers and mentors has changed lives and inspired Airmen for more than 60 years. Those attributes and mission objectives beyond just marching flights and teaching drill prompted the Air Force to quickly change from the original term in 1947 of "flight marchers" to "military training instructors."

It was the leadership, teaching, mentoring and recognition skills of an MTI that not only changed the life of Staff Sgt. Carmen DeLeon-Acosta but served as a catalyst to her Air Force career.

"My TI changed my life in a lot of ways, more personally I think," Sergeant DeLeon-Acosta said. "He was not only my mentor but someone in whose footsteps I wanted to follow."

Sergeant DeLeon-Acosta said her father left when she was a child, she had no relationship with her step-father or mother and was on her own at a young age.

It was her MTI who changed her perception that every man leaves their family and children.

"He changed that attitude in me," said Sergeant DeLeon-Acosta, now an MTI recruiter and a former instructor. "He showed me that not every man leaves (his family and children).

"I thought if my MTI could make me start talking to my father again and make my life better, I wanted to come back and do something similar.

And I have," she said.

"He changed my life. To this day we still talk (since entering BMT in February 2002). That's a long time to have someone in your life."

Master Sgt. Eric Gaona, MTI recruiting team flight chief, agreed that not only did his MTI change him, but his time as an instructor also served as a career springboard.

"I clearly remember the day when I came to basic training with no discipline and didn't know where I wanted to go in life," Sergeant Gaona said. "That man (now Chief Master Sgt. William Dambacher, his current supervisor) made a difference. He inspired me greatly."

Sergeant Gaona, an instructor from 1993-1997, returned to the MTI Corps in a supervisory role last April.

"I had an itch again to make a difference before I retire," he said, adding the intangibles of the special duty assignment had a huge impact on his career.

"There is no measure of how much you get from being an MTI," he said. "I came in 1993 as a senior airman. When I left and compared myself to other senior airmen, the difference was amazing.

"The (MTI) experience is invaluable. Supervisors single you out because you're more professional. Your career just takes off."

Staff Sgt. Scott Weimer said the skill set he developed as an MTI and MTI recruiter would be beneficial when he returns to the missile maintenance career field in April.

"It doesn't matter what rank you leave (the MTI Corps) as, you leave performing two stripes higher," Sergeant Weimer said. "The different people to deal with, the responsibility, time management, work ethic and counseling skills you develop as an MTI will make you an unparalleled asset to whatever job you're assigned."

For more information on the MTI Corps, contact the MTI recruiting office at DSN 473-1018.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.