News | April 17, 2017

Development and Training Flight gets a head start

By Senior Airman Tara R. Abrahams 940th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

“Zero week” at basic military training is packed with roaring voices and intense instruction. It’s the time trainees are taught basic drill, facing movements and marching.


The 940th Air Refueling Wing’s Development and Training Flight is getting a head start. Two of Beale’s NCOs, one who is a prior BMT instructor, volunteered their time with the flight April 9, 2017, at Beale Air Force Base, California.


Tech. Sgt. Marc Gayden and Staff Sgt. William N. Orage III have been assisting with training flights for about two years. They were first invited to help the Reserve’s training flight at Travis AFB, California, then added Beale’s shortly thereafter.


“By having the prior military training instructors come out, I hope to give them a sense of intensity of what BMT will be like,” said Staff Sgt. Keaton N. Valdez, 940 ARW Development and Training Flight program manager. “In this, they also gain pride, a sense of teamwork and have a better grasp of how to stay calm under pressure.”


Up to seven prior MTIs support Beale and Travis’ training flights each month. They teach drill, how to roll and fold clothing, physical training, as it will be performed at BMT and give them Airman’s time.


Airman’s time allows trainees and MTIs to gain perspective, speak about relevant topics and ask questions.


“We do our best to prepare them,” said Gayden, Beale Honor Guard team lead.


Gayden spent five years as an instructor at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Although he hung up his campaign hat in 2014, he enjoys guiding trainees on their journey, as they become Airmen.


“I love training and helping those asking for help,” Gayden said. “It’s fun to see them progress.”


This month, Gayden and Orage taught 27 trainees how to stand, execute facing movements and render a salute.


“The ones who pay attention will remember and do much better long term, not necessarily just in BMT,” said Orage, 9th Maintenance Group executive assistant.


According to Orage, this program is beneficial to the trainees and helps them learn crucial skills they will use throughout their Air Force careers.


“This program is perfect to get them started,” Orage said. “These days, Airmen are getting promoted quicker and younger, so they need to be able to adapt much more quickly and begin to get used to preparing a bit further ahead.”


Airman’s time reinforced the importance of what they learned. Gayden emphasized the commitment it takes to be effective in the Air Force and the second core value: service before self.


“Thinking of yourself as a member of the team seems to be the hardest thing,” Gayden said. “Be fully committed and leave yourself aside… Don’t be afraid of success.”