Air Force basic military training trainees listen closely to Military Training Instructor Master Sgt. Michael Hernandez, Reserve Citizen Airman with the 433rd Training Squadron, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Attention to detail, discipline and teamwork learned at this stage enabled trainees to succeed and graduate during ceremonies held Dec. 14. (Photo by Sy Pinthong)
JOINT-BASE SAN ANTONIO-Randolph, Texas —
Ten Air Force Reserve 433rd Training Squadron military training instructors guided four total force basic military training flights through eight and a half weeks of training and education in preparation for their Dec. 14 BMT graduation at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. It was the first time in the squadron’s 35-year history that it assumed full responsibility for BMT flights.
The 433rd TRS, assigned to the 340th Flying Training Group at JBSA-Randolph, initiated a full capability demonstration in October assuming full responsibility to train, educate and prepare four BMT flights, rather than embedding Reserve Airmen military training instructors into the Air Force BMT mission.
"For the first time in 433rd TRS history we graduated four total force trainee flights as a production squadron under our own banner as a total force partner,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Victoria, 433rd TRS commander.
Col. Jason Corrothers, 737th Training Group commander, lauded the 433rd TRS for setting the bar over the past eight-plus weeks.
“We’re certainly not surprised, since we all know what you’re capable of, but I’m very excited about what the 433rd TRS has been able to demonstrate here,” he said.
From the strategic perspective, the 433rd TRS has demonstrated its ability to shoulder a significant share of the BMT mission, if necessary. BMT trainees assigned to 433rd TRS training flights confirmed their instructors’ abilities, earning individual and team recognition.
Victoria had full faith in his MTIs and trainees.
“In keeping with tradition we named the flights in honor of four exceptional Reserve Citizen Airmen, and welcomed their families to join us for a dedication ceremony Thursday.”
Three of the Airmen honored during Thursday’s ceremony were recognized posthumously, and the fourth - Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly, Air Force Reserve Command command chief master sergeant, and senior enlisted advisor to the chief of Air Force Reserve, was honored for her commitment, determination, dedication and resilience.
The fallen Airmen who were honored during the ceremony include Master Sgt. William Posch and Staff Sgt. Carl Enis, who lost their lives during Operation Inherent Resolve in March, and Tech. Sgt. Anthony Campbell, who lost his life during Operation Enduring Freedom in December 2009. Kelly, her guests and members of the fallen Airmen’s families and organizations were on hand to witness the ceremony.
The chief, who spoke with her namesake flight prior to graduation, expressed her pride in their achievements, and her humble surprise at being honored. Encouraging each member of the all-female flight to strive not just for success, but to live a life of significance.
“Significance means you have changed people’s lives, and that is so much bigger; success becomes secondary at that point,” she said.
Flight members, and their brother flights, demonstrated that they are well on their way toward achieving success and significance.
The Chief Kelly flight earned the commander’s excellence award (overall honor flight) and the top female fitness award. One brother flight earned the BEAST (Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training) excellence award, and another took second for male fitness excellence. Six of the top fitness performances were 433rd TRS trainees, and 21 earned the distinction of honor graduate.
It was a full week for squadron members and trainees, who also welcomed an unexpected guest.
“We had the distinct honor of hosting the last surviving Doolittle Raider, Lt. Col. Dick Cole, following the Airman’s coin presentation, allowing us to honor the spirit of the Raiders’ historic endeavor, which changed the course of the Pacific campaign during World War II,” Victoria said.
The 433rd TRS adopted the motto “Raiders - You Need, We Lead!” in honor of heroism exhibited by Cole and his fellow Raiders. The chance to honor Cole and glean advice was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Victoria’s team and their trainees.
“This event demonstrated our mobilization capability, illustrating our role in maintaining a high state of readiness,” Victoria said. “I’d like to see more events like this in the future to reinforce our unit culture, and to illustrate and hone our ability to provide unrivaled support to our active duty mission partners.”
A prime example of total force integration, 433rd MTIs operate side by side, cohesively and seamlessly, with their 37th Training Wing active-duty mission partners. The 433rd TRS, the only Reserve military training instructor unit in the Air Force, plays a significant role in preparing approximately 41,000 enlisted trainees each year for military service.
“This is truly a momentous day for BMT and the 433rd TRS,” said Col. Allen Duckworth, 340th FTG commander. “Reserve MTIs have been part of the BMT enterprise, training new Airmen since 1983. To culminate this successful capability demonstration by graduating heritage flights named after Reserve Citizen Airmen is an amazing tribute to our heritage.”