PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, New Hampshire –
Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing flew down to Air Force Basic Military Training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, from Nov. 7-9.
The group was comprised of NCOs, senior NCOs and company grade officers tasked with bringing their knowledge and understanding of BMT back to the Wing's newest Airmen and trainees.
“This is an opportunity to spread awareness of how our Airmen are being trained,” said Master Sgt. Kelsey Hannafin, the unit training manager with the 157th Security Forces Squadron and a former military training instructor. “It’s an opportunity to see the MTIs in action and how to prepare our newest recruits to be successful during their time at BMT.”
Pease Airmen toured the training facility, ran alongside graduating trainees at the Airmen’s run, proctored a jet tour at Kelly Field, performed a flyover at the graduation parade and presided as the observing officials during the ceremony.
“The whole environment is inspiring,” said Col. Nelson Perron, commander of the 157th ARW. “Seeing the changes BMT has undergone over decades and how our MTIs influence the next generation of great patriots truly brings you back to the 'why.'”
Perron and Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Reiter, the command chief of the 157th ARW, kicked off the first day of graduation with the Airman’s run, a 1.5-mile formation run that celebrates the culmination of Basic Military Training.
“I couldn't think of a better way to start the morning,” Reiter said.
Guardsmen from the 157th attended the Coin Ceremony and Retreat for 788 graduates of the 321st Training Squadron. The members watched 20 new Airmen become U.S. citizens in the first naturalization ceremony at BMT since 2020.
"It was a powerful moment," said Chief Master Sgt. Michael Girouard, the senior enlisted leader with the 157th Operations Support Squadron. "You hear the speaker say 'you are now U.S. citizens' and just feel how much that means to these young Airmen, who are going to serve their country, and everyone here supporting them."
Following the ceremony, Guardsmen toured the dorms and training facilities. They spoke with MTIs about the current curriculum and expectations.
At the conclusion of the tour, pilots and maintainers from Pease left to escort a new class of boom operators on board the KC-46 at Kelly Field.
“This is the aircraft my unit flies," said Senior Airman Nicole Garced, a boom operator with the New Jersey Air National Guard, in training at Lackland. "It's really exciting getting to see everything up close."
The class and their instructors spent an hour learning about the different facets the KC-46 brings to the fight. They interviewed the pilots, maintainers, and boom operators, and reviewed the features of the jet firsthand.
On the final day of basic military training for the Air Force's newest the Airmen, Perron and Reiter served as the reviewing official and senior enlisted leader for the graduation parade. The flights marched proudly down the bomb run and performed a pass and review for visitors and the command team.
“Man I was nervous," Reiter admitted after he gave the commencement speech. “But you’re looking out into this sea of brand new Airmen, our future leaders, and all of their loved ones in the stands, it's just amazing. What an honor and a privilege to be here.”