A bead of sweat drips down his temple as he stands at attention, hoping the military training instructor doesn’t notice him. It begins.
“The first thing that went through my mind when I heard the yelling coming from behind me was, ‘Oh crap!’ It was very loud,” said Ryan Hawkins, Delayed Entry Program member.
The Delayed Entry Program is designed to help future enlistees better prepare themselves for basic military training.
More than 30 DEP members got a chance to experience BMT for an afternoon, while seven former MTIs didn’t hold back, giving the soon-to-be trainees everything they could come up with.
“We yell and scream for one reason. We want you all to leave basic training with one clear and precise thought: to work together as one team with the same set of core values,” said Chief Master Sgt. Adam McNair, U.S. Air Forces in Europe Headquarters first sergeant. “After all the yelling and screaming is done, and you march down the bomb run for graduation, you will know the feeling of being proud to serve in the world’s greatest Air Force.”
Preparing DEP members for the training to come is what the former MTIs came to assist with.
“Being able to put that campaign hat back on was awesome,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Johnson, 86th Airlift Wing knowledge operations section chief and former MTI. “It gave me flashbacks of just a few months ago.”
It wasn’t just about bringing out their former MTI; it was about helping the DEPers understand what to expect when they get to BMT.
“I decided to participate in this because it’s my chance to help the new recruits get acclimated to what is going to happen in zero week and most of their BMT experience,” Johnson said. “It helps them tremendously and gets them a step ahead because they already know what it’s like to have someone yelling in their face and invading their personal space.”
Having the MTIs there challenging the DEP members was a rewarding experience, Hawkins said.
“It was very nerve racking, but it was a great experience and helped me prepare myself,” Hawkins said. “I am now able to fine tune things I wouldn’t have noticed or thought of before.”
After putting their campaign hats away, the former MTIs gave advice and let the DEPers ask questions.
“Being a female and going through BMT is no different than being a male,” said Tech. Sgt. Itxel Delucy, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron NCOIC of personal property and former MTI. “You are just another trainee.”
Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting rid of a nervous tick or laugh.
“It’s not personal,” McNair said. “The first couple days, or weeks even, MTIs don’t know you. They are just trying to get under your skin and get you riled up.”