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ROTC encampment includes Reserve TIs

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- A sea of blue uniforms fills a drill pad while Air Force Reserve military training instructors hover nearby looking for training moments. The young, sweating faces of Air Force ROTC cadets in parade formation are intensely watching their interval and distance, hoping not to draw attention to themselves from the circling MTIs.

Such is the scene every summer as more than 2,700 ROTC cadets from around the nation descend upon Lackland Air Force Base, Tyndall AFB, Fla., and Grand Forks AFB, N.D. for their summer encampment, a program operated in part by Reserve MTIs since 1991.

The annual ROTC training program exclusively uses Reserve MTIs from the 433rd Training Squadron here. Instructors from the 433rd, who also double as basic military training instructors, provide ROTC support in curriculum development, training standardization, and indoctrination training.

Master Sgt. Scott Bayles, 433rd TRS project coordinator for ROTC training, sees their role as an important part of the development of these future officers. "The products we help create affect the entire military force," he said.

Much of the hands-on training for the MTIs comes from training ROTC instructors and cadet training advisers, who in turn, train the cadets during their 28-day encampment.

Lt. Col. Maurice Kilpatrick, director of operations at the ROTC encampment here and professor of aerospace studies at the University of Mississippi, stated that the reserve MTIs add much to their summer program. "They bring a lot of perspective and history because of their experience," said the former commander of a BMT squadron here.

As part of their training, MTIs focus on instilling responsibility and accountability with the cadets. Tech. Sgt Jesse Gomez, 433rd TRS MTI, said he must adjust his teaching somewhat from basic trainees to cadets. "We teach more leadership skills with ROTC than the followership skills we focus on at BMTS," said the career reservist.

The training setting the summer ROTC encampment offers is unique because enlisted members are teaching current and future officers, Bayles said.

Setting an example for the cadets is important, Tech. Sgt. Edward Rivera, a 433rd TRS MTI, said.

"We are one of the only views of enlisted persons the cadets may see," he said. "It is important that their image of noncommissioned officers be a positive one."

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