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NEWS | March 29, 2006

Special duty recruiters supply AF future

By Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The first two Air Force members a new recruit gets to know is their recruiter and their Military Training Instructor. First impressions being lasting ones, special duty recruiting teams scour the Air Force for the right people to make those first impressions.

One such team came to Langley Feb. 22 to speak to more than 90 active duty members and their spouses.

Master Sgt. Antoinette Williams, 737th Training Support Squadron superintendent for MTI recruiting, summed up what they were looking for in one sentence.

“We’re looking for someone motivated, dedicated, someone willing to be the first supervisor of the future of the Air Force.”

Sergeant Williams said the goal of the briefing is to inform Airmen about what it means to be an MTI and how to get there.

“We give them the information they need to step out of their career field and participate in a special duty,” she said. “We cover the requirements, what a person can expect and dispel myths and rumors about special duties.”

There are a lot of advantages to being an MTI, Sergeant Williams said. Extra clothing allowance, free boots and special duty pay are among them, but one reason is often overlooked, she said.

“You learn a lot about supervisory skills,” she explained. “I get the opportunity to supervise 60 people at a time. I challenge anyone to go back to their unit and find a staff sergeant or tech sergeant who supervises 60 people.”

MTI recruits spend 14 weeks at school at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, before beginning their duties pushing flights. They get 22 hours for a Community College of the Air Force degree in instruction technology and military science.

For those who want to be the very first person a recruit meets, Master Sgt. Andrew Sites, HQ Recruiting Service member, said the Air Force needs 500 new recruiters every year.

“We want to fill slots with volunteers in lieu of non-vols,” he said. “We tell people everything they need to know about being a recruiter.”

Sergeant Sites said the top advantages to recruiting include special duty pay of $450 per month, a three-year controlled tour and the ability for a recruiter to pick their location.

In return, recruiters have to send two new recruits to the Air Force per month, sometimes covering an area of 2,200 miles. To do this job, recruiters are sent to school for seven weeks at Lackland AFB, but new recruiters still need some basic skills, primarily public speaking.

“If they’re not the type that’s good at speaking one on one or in a briefing, they’re not going to make it,” he said.

Senior Airman Jody Branson, 1st Civil Engineer Squadron, said the special-duty recruiters hooked him. He’s already submitted his paper to become a recruiter.

“They gave me a lot of good tips,” he said. “The chief for recruiting really filled me in.”

While tempted by the MTIs, Airman Branson said the ability to choose his own duty station cinched it for him.

“MTIs have to stay in one location,” he explained. “I want to go to either Colorado or Arizona.”