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NEWS | March 8, 2019

BMT MTIs named 2018 Etchberger Team of the Year award

By Jennifer Gonzalez Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

Military Training Instructors from Air Force Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland are in the spotlight for a job well done after being named as the 2018 Etchberger Team of the Year award during the 2019 Air Force Association Symposium in Orlando, Florida, March 1.

This marks the first time MTIs have won the award, named after Medal of Honor recipient Chief Master Sgt. Richard Etchberger and recognizes Airmen serving in hard to fill career fields or those with a higher than average turnover rate who give their all to achieve team success.

“It’s so fulfilling to receive the award and definitely rewarding to be a representative for the whole team,” said Tech. Sgt. Eric J. Garza, a military training instructor with the 323rd Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. “This award is definitely not due to an individual effort, but because of our collective efforts as a team.”

The MTI team was selected for the award based on their 2018 accomplishments; one of which was the overhaul to the BMT curriculum. After listening to feedback from the field, the changes to BMT began Sept. 4, 2018 and are focused entirely on readiness and lethality, Airmanship, fitness and warrior ethos.

“We have certainly completed the largest transformation in BMT in at least a generation; but at the end of the day it’s really how MTI’s execute at the edge of the battle space and with pride, passion and professionalism,” said Col. Jason Corrothers, 737th Training Group and BMT commander. “They raise the game every single day.”

MTIs have an average daily load of 7,000 trainees and graduated more than 37,314 Airmen in fiscal year 2017.  This year, MTI’s are set to increase that number to more than 40,200 graduates.

These graduates will be the next generation of Mach-21 Airmen and the MTI corps is responsible for ensuring the service’s newest Airmen are lethal and ready to tackle the challenges of today’s dynamic security environment.

“MTIs complement each other regardless of what squadron we are in,” said Master Sgt. Martina Camacho, 320th TRS military training instructor. “We look to our left and right and we know we have each other’s backs and to me that is the definition of teamwork; this is also what we are instilling in our young Airmen and here we are leading the way as the MTI corps.”

To become an MTI, individuals are vectored from career fields across the Air Force through the developmental special duty process and will hold the position for at least three years.

“If you think about the big picture, this is a huge win for the Air Force because we have all the true professionals from the different career fields coming to one big core so it’s not just the MTI core that is crushing it is the whole Air Force,” said Tech. Sgt. Kayleigh McAviney, 322nd TRS military training instructor.

The 737th TRG is the largest training group in the Air Force and comprised of nine squadrons and more than 900 permanent party personnel. It is headquartered at JBSA-Lackland and is responsible for providing and coordinating all support activities of BMT.