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Former BMT instructors give new recruits glimpse at 'Basic'

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Samuel King Jr.
  • 919th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
A husband and wife team of former Air Force military training instructors gave some new recruits a taste of what to expect at basic training here Feb. 6.

Master Sgt. Tiffany Lopez, 96th Force Support Squadron, and Tech. Sgt. Raul Lopez, 96th Logistics Readiness Squadron, spent four years at Lackland AFB, Texas, instructing trainees in some form, before coming to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

The 919th Recruiting Flight invited the active-duty team to don the iconic TI hats again to help prepare the new Reserve recruits for what they will encounter at Basic Military Training.

"Our intent with this program is to provide a better quality trainee to BMT," said Senior Master Sgt. Russel Foresee, 919th Special Operations Wing supervising recruiter. "The more prepared we can make them, the easier they will transition into Airmen."

A strong cold wind whipped through the pad as the two instructors put the 32 new recruits through a short drill practice that included forming lines, sizing up and facing movements. Some recruits shivered as they took instruction, but tried to maintain their bearing.

The instructors spoke about being prepared for the environment based on when they report to Basic, but also stressed growing up upon arrival.

"You are an adult, you made the decision," said the master sergeant, who shepherded eight flights and oversaw five dorms during her time at BMT. "You're no longer a child and you will leave your parents and family behind. It's going to be tough, but you can do it."

The instructors didn't hesitate to let the recruits know when they made mistakes, correcting their ever-important reporting statement to bearing and hand arrangement while standing at attention.

"I feel a lot more informed, it definitely helped me out," said James Lints, who leaves Feb. 9 for Lackland.

Mr. Lints said he was more nervous now about flying for the first time than the training.

After the Lopezes put the recruits through their first formation, they held a question and answer session on what to expect. They offered a lot of positive advice the recruits will need to heed.

"Be willing to jump in completely," said Sergeant Tiffany Lopez, who was a TI during the Air Force's BMT transition from six to eight weeks. "Go with the mindset to come out changed and be willing to be changed. BMT is a life-changing experience. The more you fight against that change, the harder time you will have."

The new recruits will face that 'experience' in the near future. All of them have report dates to BMT through Fall 2010; but after their brief introduction with the Lopezes, many said they were more at ease.

"Not knowing was by far my biggest fear," said Christof Bader, who leaves in February and will train to be a C-130 crew chief. "Today helped alleviate some of that fear."