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Goodfellow | MTLs: Generating tomorrow’s Airmen, today

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Michael Bowman
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

From the courageous firefighting professionals at every base to the meticulous intelligence specialists operating around the globe, there is not a single Air Force mission in these career fields carried out without the support of a 17th Training Wing alumni. These graduates learn much more than just how to become exceptional in their career fields while at Goodfellow.

Under the guidance of their Military Training Leaders, students learn the foundational skills required to become competent, capable professionals who truly embody what it means to be an American Airman. It is these skills that drive Goodfellow’s MTL corps to invest their time, energy, and effort, into training and developing the Air Force’s most lethal weapon system: Airmen.

The military training leader is a noncommissioned officer selected for special duty who assumes responsibility for ensuring that every non-prior-service Airman is provided the direction, resources, and mentorship needed to thrive as new they learn their role in the profession of arms.

MTLs accelerate this monumental development after Airmen graduate from basic military training. MTLs are a vital part of every Air Force training squadron.

“We do a lot for our students,” said Staff Sgt. Derek Raber, 312th Training Squadron MTL. “From the moment they arrive here at Goodfellow, up until they get to their next duty station, they are our responsibility.”

MTLs are responsible for correcting bad habits, running physical training sessions, fixing problems with student paperwork, coordinating with the schoolhouse, and so much more.

While the Airmen in training gain their job knowledge from an elite cadre of instructors, it is the MTLs who instill in young servicemembers the importance of discipline, professionalism, and the Air Force's core values of: Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do.

“Technical training is about so much more than just learning a job. It’s about learning what it means to be an Airman,” said Staff Sgt. Thomas Bruce, 316th Training Squadron MTL. “We are in charge of facilitating the final transition from civilians into Airmen. It’s a huge responsibility, but at the end of the day, after the long hard hours of work, it’s incredibly rewarding to see just how much our Airmen have grown by the time that they graduate.”

17th Training Wing MTLs are vital in producing competent qualified Airmen who graduate and serve at line units across the world, keeping the United States Air Force ahead of the nation’s near-peer adversaries and maintaining its status as the world’s greatest Air Force. Their role in creating America’s next generation of Airmen is indispensable, and not without its share of challenges.

“Being an MTL isn’t always easy, you work long hours and have to wear a lot of hats,” said Raber. “It takes a versatile skillset, and a lot of hard work, but the reward of seeing these Airmen transform into the future of our force is beyond rewarding.”

The lessons and skills imparted upon junior Airmen by their MTLs are just as important as the tradecraft studied while in tech school.

MTLs at Goodfellow and across other Air Education and Training bases carefully craft an environment of discipline, professionalism, excellence, and esprit de corps – shaping and developing the highest quality Airmen to deliver airpower, anytime, anywhere.