MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
For those at the beginning of their Air Force career, it can seem a daunting task to go from everyday life as a civilian to being a member of the world’s greatest Air Force.
Many who have served remember the anticipation before Basic Military Training, seeking advice from those more seasoned and doing as much research as possible to ensure their own success. The customs and courtesies, physical and mental demands can be overwhelming to some if not prepared.
The 908th Airlift Wing is dedicated to developing and delivering multi-capable Airmen, and that starts when trainees arrive for their first Unit Training Assembly with the Development and Training Flight.
The D&TF is a program aimed at helping new 908 AW members get a head-start in their training by teaching the basic skills needed to be successful during BMT and into their Air Force Careers. Its goal is to take the burden of learning these skills on their own off of the trainees and to facilitate their transition into military life.
Led by D&TF Flight Chief, Tech. Sgt. Janie Murray, trainees learn the fundamentals of being in the military and begin their transition from civilian to Reserve Citizen Airman.
“Having the Officer Training School here at Maxwell Air Force Base is a huge benefit,” said Murray. “To have instructors who are actively working in this role on a day-to-day basis, it’s not something you get at every base. It’s unique to Maxwell to have instructors come and work with the flight.”
A key part of developing these new Airmen is familiarizing them with the stressful environment of BMT. Coming face to face with a Military Training Instructor for the first time can be a harrowing experience. That’s where Master Sgt. Ashley Lowrey, an MTI with the United States Air Force Officer Training School, lends her expertise.
“We’re leading them into service by teaching them military bearing, dress and appearance, all the standards,” said Lowrey. “It’s setting that foundation for the rest of their career, and that’s why we do this.”
Lowrey and other MTIs will periodically visit the D&TF during UTA weekends before members ship to BMT. During the August UTA Lowrey introduced herself to the trainees in true MTI fashion, wasting no time in addressing discrepancies in dress and appearance, hair and shaving standards and basic customs and courtesies. She also spent time teaching drill movements and proper marching technique. Paying close attention to detail and making even the slightest corrections, Lowery made sure the trainees were in sync and looking sharp.
“I definitely believe participation in the training flight helped prepare me for basic training,” said Senior Airman Austin Jackson, 908 AW public affairs specialist. “When I went through in spring of ’21, we didn’t have an MTI so it’s not hard to imagine these new Airman being even more prepared.”
After several blocks of instruction, Lowrey gave the flight the opportunity to ask questions freely in a more relaxed setting.
“I like taking the time to do this,” said Lowrey. “I love mentoring and coaching Airmen, having that interaction and time to sit and talk so they have a better understanding of what’s going on.”
The prospective Airmen asked insightful questions on all topics from finance to meal times and showering during BMT.
During this transitionary period for the wing, building the skills of current and future Airmen has come to the forefront as a priority. The Development and Training Flight is the first step in creating multi-capable and talented Airmen. Starting at day one, these trainees begin their journey as future leaders, embodying the core value of “excellence in all we do” for their time with the 908th and anywhere else their careers may take them.