NEWS | Aug. 3, 2012

Leading by example: Academy cadets develop leadership skills at BMT

By Mike Joseph JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets learned first-hand over the past seven weeks how military training instructors develop the Air Force's newest warrior Airmen in basic military training.

The 27 cadets in the Summer Leadership Program developed leadership skills by shadowing MTIs in seven BMT squadrons at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

The cadets from the academy's incoming junior class, along with two supervising seniors, arrived on base May 24 and departed Saturday after participating in key positions in the July 13 BMT graduation parade.

"The cadets followed the same steps as a student training to be a Military Training Instructor," said Staff Sgt. Corey Norris, 323rd Training Squadron NCO in charge, who oversaw the cadets during their stay in BMT.

"They shadowed MTIs to learn the leadership skills and the different leadership techniques it takes to mold future Airmen," he said. "The cadets did the same thing our NCOs do on a daily basis, and they will be able to draw from their experiences here in BMT when they lead basic cadet training next summer for the academy's incoming freshmen."

Norris said the Summer Leadership Program teaches the future Air Force officers how to become better leaders by understanding how future Airmen are developed in basic training.

"They will have a better understanding about the enlisted force and how MTIs mentor the trainees," he said. "They experienced what BMT is like for both the MTIs and the trainees.
Along with developing and enhancing their leadership skills, they also learned about character development."

Seniors Joshua Hall and Christina Beckett supervised their underclassmen counterparts. Both participated in the Summer Leadership Program last year as underclassmen, and gained a greater understanding of the program's future benefits.

"I've learned a lot more this year, especially about leadership and mentoring," Hall said. "Here, you're not worried about school or athletics. You're only concerned about the military side. This summer has better prepared us for our first duty station."

Beckett agreed with her classmate.

"This is totally different from last year," she said. "We're dealing with more people issues.

"We were in charge of 25 other people. This taught us how to work with them, how to handle their issues and be better mentors. It's been enlightening."

The focus and primary benefit of the program is for the cadets who shadowed MTIs and NCOs to pass on their training knowledge at the academy. It also exposed them to the importance of working with members of the enlisted corps.

"I've learned more in this program about leadership and mentoring in seven weeks than the three years I've been at the academy because of the roles," Hall said.

"We met with all the squadron commanders in an open forum, and had the opportunity to ask questions," he added. "What we learned from them will help us become better officers."

During their seven weeks at BMT, the cadets also worked on perfecting their military drill skills. The program's culminating event was July 13 when the cadets filled the key positions in the weekly BMT graduation parade.