DTF prepares new enlistees to succeed at BMT

  • Published
  • By Army Master Sgt. D. Keith Johnson
  • 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Public Affairs

Drop by the parking lot on the north side of Wright-Patt during the second Reserve unit training assembly of the month and you’ll hear familiar sounds of cadence being called, or an occasionally raised voice of a military training instructor, voicing his displeasure on the direction the flight is heading.


The 445th Development and Training Flight prepares newly-enlisted trainees for the U.S. Air Force’s basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Each month during their UTA, they go through various classes preparing them for what’s ahead. A typical UTA schedule consists of drill and ceremony; position of attention; the Airman’s Creed; the Air Force Song; reporting statements; open ranks; facing movements; written exams on rank structure and customs and courtesies; saluting; and taking the Air Force physical fitness test.


“Our mission is to help newly enlisted Airmen transition from civilian to military life, and a smooth transition into basic and tech school,” said Staff Sgt. Terra Stinnett, program manager. Stinnett was in the first 445th DTF class in December 2011. Comparing her class to the present training plan, “There are a lot more activities and training,” she said. “They are learning a lot more.”

The class size varies from month to month, said Stinnett, depending on when trainees ship out to BMT, and when new enlistees arrive. Some attend the training for a month or two, while others are there for 10 or 11 months.


“We are making sure they are ready to go to basic training,” said Staff Sgt. John Delucia, one of the flight’s instructors. “Not that they are going to be experts, but they’ll have a strong foundation the military training instructors can build on.”


The trainees come into the program at different ranks, depending on various factors. Those with college credits or ROTC courses, like Chase Derrer and Samantha LeFaive, can start as an airman first class. Those without college usually start as an airman basic. The trainees are paid according to their enlistment rank, and receive the same benefits as any member in uniform, according to Staff Sgt. Tyler Mohr, one of the instructors.


Airman 1st Class Corey Scott participated in the program for one month before leaving for BMT. “I was only here one month, but I received a lot of good info on what to study for, and it helped me a lot.”


Airman Jeffrey Veness has been in the program 10 months. He’ll be a medical technician when he completes technical school. “It’s very helpful, especially when the guest speakers come in. We’ve had a chaplain, education representative, and a former MTI. All of the speakers give us a more rounded insight of not just what BMT is going to be like, but also the remainder of our Air Force career.”


According to Stinnett, they facilitate surveys each UTA to see what the trainees want to train on, and also seek feedback from Airmen who just returned from BMT to see what they can work on in the program. “The program runs pretty smoothly,” she said. “We are always upgrading and updating so we don’t get behind when BMT changes.”


One of the requests is for more physical training.


“Physical fitness in the Air Force is no joke. We strive for our trainees to pass the Air Force physical fitness test rather than just the BMT test,” said Mohr. “Some of them are scoring 90 percent on the Air Force PFT, and we recognize them for that every month.”


Among those who recently returned is Senior Airman Jacob Beard, a crew chief with the 445th Maintenance Squadron. “For me it was very, very successful. There were a lot of things I already had an idea of and some things I had no clue about, and they helped me prepare for BMT and helped me get honor graduate at basic.”           


Stinnett tracks the returning Airmen to see how successful they are at BMT and their technical schools. In 2015, a total of 49 trainees went through the program. Ten were Honor Graduates from BMT and 10 earned ropes at their technical schools. From January to August 2016, 21 trainees from the program have left for BMT and technical school and returned. Five were Honor Graduates from BMT and six earned ropes at technical school. There were 28 trainees at the UTA in August 2016.


 “It’s better than what I expected,” said Derrer. “I’m getting a lot more information than I ever expected to get. It’s really hammered in what I need to know for getting ready for BMT.”

LeFaive agreed. “This program is helping me out tremendously in preparing for basic training. It exceeds my expectations.”


The DTF program continues to be successful for the trainees and the wing.


“My goal is for all of them to come back as the Honor Graduate from BMT or the Distinguished Graduate from tech school,” said Mohr. “If they come back as Honor Grad and DG, it just makes this wing better.”