LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The new Air Force Basic Military Training superintendent is excited about his return to Lackland and inspired over the opportunity to help shape the Air Force's future.
"To be selected to rejoin this wonderful and powerful ever-changing machine called Air Force Basic Military Training, it's been just a joy," said Chief Master Sgt. Kenneth Williams. "I see it as an opportunity to make a difference in the enlisted corps."
Chief Williams is a veteran of more than 27 years in the Air Force, including a five-year assignment at BMT during the mid-1990s. He's enthusiastic and passionate about molding the next generation of Airmen.
A former command chief master sergeant, Chief Williams wants to be a role model for the 737th Training Group's 550-plus Military Training Instructor corps and the nearly 40,000 trainees a year who come through BMT.
"I look at myself as an extension of basic military training," he said. "I want to model the proper behavior, character and core values that we expect of our MTIs, who in turn impart those qualities into our Airmen.
"I'm just in awe of our MTIs. My role is to offer leadership when and as needed to the military training instructors and the commander, and whatever else I can do to impact and move basic training from where it is today to where we're going."
Chief Williams can partially see where the Air Force is headed behind his office at 737th TRG headquarters. Construction is rapidly progressing on two new Airmen Training Complexes and one dining/classroom facility, with two more ATCs and another dining/classroom facility to follow.
The first ATC in the $900 million, multi-year project opens next spring. The chief's eyes light up and he breaks into a broad smile when discussing the facilities.
"It's very, very exciting to be a part of this whole process," he said. "I recently sat in on a meeting when the project's nuts and bolts were being discussed.
"I couldn't stop smiling when I thought about where we're taking Airmen and the Air Force. We're evolving into what I think is the right direction for the Air Force, and staying in step with the world."
Construction of the new dormitories wasn't the only change Chief Williams encountered on his return. The Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training course and expansion of BMT to 8.5 weeks are important development tools, Chief Williams said, in meeting future Air Force needs.
"When I left basic training, warrior week was in its infancy," he said. "Now we have the BEAST and 8.5 weeks to help produce mission-ready, knowledge-enabled warrior Airmen of character.
"We have to prepare our young Airmen to meet the world's evolving, emerging challenges, and provide combatant commanders mission-ready warrior Airmen of character to meet those challenges."