LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
The 22nd Basic Military Training Triennial Review Committee validated the positive effect expanded training has had on BMT graduates during its May 12-14 evaluation at Lackland.
The committee was "in awe" and "impressed" at the significant quality improvements in the program achieved by expanding basic military training to 8.5 weeks and adding a week-long Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training course.
It was the first triennial review since the BEAST opened in late 2008, coinciding with the first recruits to arrive at Lackland for the expansion from 6.5 weeks.
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy, one of the committee members, had high praise for BMT.
When committee members come back every three years, "we're in awe of BMT's impressive initiative in taking inputs from the committee and getting results," he said.
Chief Roy delivered the committee's outbrief and recommendations to Maj. Gen. James Whitmore, Air Education and Training Command vice commander and BMT Steering Committee chairman; Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, 2nd Air Force commander; Col. William H. Mott V, 37th Training Wing commander; and 737th Training Group leadership.
Speaking on behalf of the committee, Chief Roy told General Whitmore and General Hertog "we understand the importance of getting it right (at BMT)."
"Overall, the committee was inspired by Chief Roy saying 'you folks have nailed it' when it comes to Colonel Mott's vision for the 37th TRW to shape the Air Force with warrior Airmen of character," said Col. Shane Courville, 737th Training Group commander. "They were very impressed."
Colonel Mott said expansion and the BEAST were still a vision at the 2007 review, and its effects are making a difference in producing quality Airmen.
"The activities and training we're providing are truly applicable to what (Airmen) do in the Air Force," said Colonel Mott. "(Trainees) are given a skill set, as a warrior Airman, they can directly transfer to their first duty station, and that's pretty cool.
"It's discipline, motivation and foundational but you can see the application. The committee is happy with the program and encouraged by what we've done. Now we're poised to take the review's input and make it better."
Daniel Sitterly, Headquarters Air Force director of force development, chaired the review, which included command chiefs from all major commands.
The committee focused on improvements from the expansion and BEAST while also studying behavioral and military training, life management skills, war and expeditionary skills development, and new facility, technology and instructor training initiatives.
The committee was updated on graduation performance, construction status of the new Airmen Training Complexes, new and future technology initiatives, and BMT's vision for the deliberate development of military training instructors.
Colonel Mott appreciated the committee's time and praised Chief Roy for his participation.
"When you think about everything he does trying to engage and support our Airmen, the fact he would focus on BMT for three days is pretty amazing," said the base commander.
After heavy rains and storms canceled graduation at the parade grounds May 14, the Air Force's top enlisted NCO attended a graduation at the 322nd Training Squadron.
"We're very pleased at the warrior ethos that has been instilled in our Airmen," Chief Roy said.
He also said "it was really something to see" how proud the new Airmen were and the tears and emotions from parents, adding, "that's what basic military training is all about."