Father, daughter NCOs share passion for mentorship as MTIs

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Justine Rho
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The morning of March 27, at the parade grounds on Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, two Airmen became the first father and daughter duo to serve together as military training instructors (MTI).

After the Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) graduation parade ceremony, the newest 737th Training Group MTIs were honored upon accomplishing certification training. During this recognition ceremony, Tech. Sgt. James MacKay, a 321st Training Squadron MTI, presented his daughter Staff Sgt. Amanda Macfarlane, with the well-known MTI campaign hat.

MacKay and Macfarlane both served diverse careers prior to becoming MTIs, but maintained a shared passion for mentorship and developing Airmen. Their career paths led them both to join the Air Force Reserve as MTIs, so they could lead and train the next generation of Airmen.

"In my previous positions, I was often responsible for training new members on their on-the-job responsibilities, and to me, that was the best part of the job," said Macfarlane, who previously served as an active-duty Korean linguist. "I felt like I could make a positive impact by ensuring the Airmen and noncommissioned officers had the knowledge and tools they would need to get their job done and contribute to the mission. As an MTI, you have the tremendous opportunity to have a positive impact on the next generation of Airmen."

MacKay entered the Air Force as a member of the Michigan Air National Guard in November 1983, and has since been a munitions systems specialist, air traffic controller and a fire protection specialist serving on active duty, Air National Guard, and now, the Reserves.

In 2013, MacKay was accepted as a MTI candidate and transferred into the Reserves. He credits his personal success to outstanding mentors who encouraged him to complete all of his goals, including attending and graduating from the Defense Department Fire Academy at the age of 47.

"There were many times my mentors set me up for success, both personally and professionally," MacKay said. "I hope to pay that forward and give our newest Airmen the tools they need to thrive in today's Air Force."

MacKay, who has another daughter currently serving in the Air Force as an air traffic controller, said he feels an immense amount of pride in both of his daughter's careers.

"I have always been proud of my daughters and their military careers," MacKay said. "When (Amanda) told me she had been accepted into the MTI program, I was thrilled. I think she has the same passion for teaching and mentoring others as I do, and I believe she will find this position as challenging and rewarding as anything she's done previously."

This sense of pride is mirrored in Macfarlane's decision to become a MTI.

"I've always been proud of my father's service and professionalism," Macfarlane said. "I look up to him for being a positive influence.

"I'm also proud to have this chance to be a part of BMT and to be able to help prepare men and women for their careers as Airmen," she continued. "I get to serve alongside my Air Force family as well as my actual family, and that means a lot to me."