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SecAF visits basic military training

By Nathan Simmons | AETC Public Affairs | Nov. 2, 2012

JBSA-LACKLAND, Texas — In the wake of ongoing investigataions into professional misconduct that occurred at basic military training, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley met with BMT leaders at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Oct. 23.

"It was important for me to talk to the commander and military training instructors about their experiences, and the status of corrective actions that have been put in place the last several months," Donley said. "I want their sense of the direction we need to go to ensure the misconduct that has occurred here doesn't happen again."

Donley met with MTIs for an hour-long feedback session in which they discussed current challenges and the way ahead. Col. Deborah Liddick, commander of the 737th Training Group, said the secretary wanted to stress the importance of what MTIs do.

"Secretary Donley expressed his pride in the cadre and his gratitude for their critically important role in developing Airmen," Liddick said. "He said that they set the standard for the Air Force, one Airman at a time."

The 737th TRG has implemented 13 measures as a result of an internal review of basic military training, which include unannounced daily visits from BMT leadership with an emphasis on nights and weekends, disallowing "closed door" counseling sessions, and doubling the number of MTIs assigned to controlled quarters after lights out to increase accountability. More changes are on the horizon.

"AETC plays a critical role - as the recruiting, BMT and tech training environments reflect an individual's first interaction with the Air Force," Donley said. "Most of our MTIs have conducted themselves in an exemplary and professional way. A few have not, and they have tarnished the image of the MTI corps. We are taking measures that will prevent this from reoccurring."

The secretary said the role of military training instructors cannot be understated, as they are vital in shaping and molding each new Airman, and getting them on the path to success in the Air Force. Investigations surrounding misconduct at BMT are ongoing, and Air Force leaders continue to hold Airmen safety and accountability as top priorities.