JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – The aiguillette that hangs from a Master Military Training Leader’s left shoulder is distinctive. The mixed colors of royal and navy blue signify the superior performance, ethics and leadership that are hallmarks of reaching that achievement, awarded to only the top 10% of the MTL corps.
Five noncommissioned officers now have the distinction of being the first MTLs in the 37th Training Wing to wear that aiguillette. The new Master MTLs are: Tech. Sgt. Joseph Bengfort, Tech. Sgt. Kevin Davis, and Staff Sgt. Michael Diaz, 343rd Training Squadron; Tech. Sgt. Eric Fileccia, formerly with the 343rd TRS and now assigned to the 37th Training Support Squadron; and Staff Sgt. Rory Kosater, 344th TRS, Detachment 1, Port Hueneme, California.
According to Senior Master Sgt. Kelli Jackson, superintendent of Military Training at the 37th Training Group, becoming a Master MTL is a three-phase process. First is the administrative review: They must have 18 months front-line experience, score 90% or higher on their most recent fitness assessment, meet 8B100 criteria outlined in the Air Force Enlisted Classification Directory, and be recommended by their squadron chain of command. No points are tallied from Phase I in the overall score. If they meet all the criteria, the MTLs go forward to Phase II, which is a 30-question knowledge exam.
“If they pass that, they move to the final phase, which consists of evaluations. MTLs must master the craft of conducting room inspections, open ranks, drill and ceremony, physical training sessions, and an Airmanship 200 session,” Jackson explained.
While mandatory requirements are outlined in Air Education and Training Command Instruction 36-2651, the Master MTL program within the 37th TRW was developed by Jackson and three other members of the 37th TRG: Tech. Sgts. Daniel Shortt, Morgan Grebens and Matthew Daum.
Here’s a look at the first five NCOs in the 37th TRW to become Master MTLs:
Tech. Sgt. Joseph Bengfort
Bengfort, a native of Sanger, Texas, joined the Air Force in 2011. His primary Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) is 2W071, Munitions Systems. He became an MTL in 2018.
“My greatest rewards [of this job] are the good people I have met along my Air Force journey,” he said.
Tech. Sgt. Kevin Davis
Davis, originally from Eagle, Idaho, joined the Air Force in 2011 and became an MTL on Sept. 27, 2018. His primary AFSC is 3D1X3, Radio Frequency Transmission Systems. He said the best part of his job is the chance to help Airmen.
“I've had opportunities to help Airmen going through both great times, like getting married, and tough times, like the loss of a loved one,” he said. “I help them navigate what they can and need to do next during this phase of their military career.”
Staff Sgt. Michael Diaz
Diaz joined the Air Force in April 2012, and said he distinctly remembers leaving for the Military Entrance Processing Station on Easter Sunday. His primary AFSC is 2F0X1, Fuels. Originally from Lubbock, Texas, he became an MTL in October 2018.
“The greatest reward of this job is the leadership experience I will take back to my career field,” he said.
Tech. Sgt. Eric Fileccia
Fileccia joined the Air Force in 2010. Originally from San Diego, he became an MTL on May 1, 2018. His primary AFSC is 2A6X5, Aircraft Hydraulics.
“The most rewarding part about my job is mentoring young Airmen,” he said. “I hope to make an impact on their Air Force careers and guide them into a direction that leads to success.”
Staff Sgt. Rory Kosater
Originally from Dayton, Ohio, Kosater joined the Air Force in November 2012. His primary AFSC is 2T3X1, Mission Generation Vehicular Equipment Maintenance, and he became an MTL in June 2018.
“I have a unique opportunity to mentor the next generation of Airmen in the career field,” he said. “I can provide insight to the students that wasn’t available from MTLs at this location [Port Hueneme, California] previously.”