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View Full Version : Survey shows Lackland MTIs 'scared to train'



Rusty Jones
05-30-2014, 02:52 PM
I'm not to big into basic training-bashing, and I won't do it here... because I do believe that this problem is definately not restricted to basic training.


Two years after a rape allegation against a military training instructor launched one of the biggest sexual misconduct scandals in military history, trainers who remained at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland said their morale was low, they had little trust in leadership and they didn’t feel as dedicated to their jobs anymore.

Many felt minor missteps could mean the end of their Air Force careers. They believed sweeping changes to basic military training left them at the mercy of undisciplined recruits and leaders quick to take a trainee’s word over their own, according to results obtained by Air Force Times of a July survey of 237 MTIs by the RAND Corp.

Less than half were satisfied with their jobs.

“By far the worst mistake I have ever made is becoming an MTI,” one respondent wrote. “There is not an MTI who would stay here right now. When MTIs talk, they talk about when they are going to leave, not how much they like this place.”

But several people within basic military training said that the survey was conducted during a stressful time of transition and that morale has since improved.

“A lot of changes were taking place. They were good changes. Just like any change, it takes a little bit of time and adaptation. It created some stress for some people,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Anderson, an instructor for the military training instructor school.

MTIs were also still working long hours and facing months without leave and extended tours of duty.

“There is no way to have that work pace and not have a negative impact on the quality of life,” said Col. J.D. Willis, deputy director of technical training for Air Education and Training Command. “A large part of their quality of life concerns were due to manning issues, which we have been addressing. We’re well on our way and getting very close.”

The survey also showed an overwhelming majority of MTIs were willing to report a fellow trainer for sexual assault, sexual harassment, unprofessional relationships and maltreatment or maltraining.

Few said they were willing to protect an instructor who committed those crimes, which the scandal revealed wasn’t always the case. At least some MTIs were aware of sexual misconduct among their fellow trainers prior to the summer of 2011 but kept quiet, a fact revealed during a series of trainer courts-martial.

“By and large, they are willing to do the right thing,” Willis said. “I’m hopeful we’ll see those responses get stronger the next time we’re able to administer a survey. Time will tell. Culture change is one of the more challenging things any institution does.”

Lack of respect
More than 65 percent of MTIs surveyed said they felt basic training leadership took the word of trainees over instructors.

“I am finding that trainees are more commonly trying to look for a reason to report someone, and MTIs are scared to train because they feel they will be reported for something,” one respondent wrote. “I made a correction the other day on a female trainee whose hair was under 1 [inch], which is out of regulations. ... MTIs that [were] sitting next to me said, ‘I wouldn’t have done that, she’s probably going to fill out a critique.’ ”

Less than 35 percent of 237 MTIs surveyed said they believed trainees respected their authority. A handful compared basic training to summer camp.

“We are not setting these trainees up for the Air Force outside BMT. Instead we are sheltering them and giving them unrealistic low expectations of what is waiting for them outside of these dormitories,” one respondent wrote.

“I really don’t know how to say this but training should be hard. The trainees should feel a sense of accomplishment. The poor product we are pushing out now has become the standard. I really hope I’m not around to see the next war,” another MTI said.

Respondents also took issue with BMT leadership, which they saw as more likely to take the word of a recruit than a trainer.

One described an email policy that if any MTIs were ever caught criticizingleadership, they would be taken to task. “If I remember correctly, we once removed a foreign dictator from power for something very similar to this,” the MTI wrote.

Instructors also repeatedly slammed a system of critique boxes that allow recruits to drop anonymous complaints about their instructors.

“We promote a critique system (which I am all for when there [is] a cause for it) but these trainees know all they have to do if they don’t like you is fill out negative ones and you’re in trouble. I’ve heard trainees talk about it. This is crazy,” one MTI wrote.

Willis said officials were so concerned with the number of critique box reports they went back and reviewed all 1,894 of them since BMT leadership first started highlighting it as a way for trainees to report misconduct.

“Our initial concern, especially from my perspective, was maybe leadership was overreacting and had created a different problem,” Willis said.

The review showed 53 percent of all the comments were actually positive, he said. Some were neutral. About a third were negative.

Only 44 of the nearly 1,900 comments — less than 3 percent — were actually allegations of MTI misconduct.

“Of the 44, a third were found not to be a problem. It was not misconduct or improper behavior,” Willis said. “Of the remaining ones, they were dealt with, from verbal counseling to letters of counseling or reprimand or retraining of some kind, so the MTI understands you crossed a line.”

Willis said BMT leadership was subsequently told to communicate those numbers to instructors.

“They have a perception, too. The MTIs are working off partial information and knowledge. By giving them the picture, we took away the mystique. What we have seen is a changed perspective. I think they have less concern about that,” he said.

Critique boxes, like phone access in trainee day rooms, are an “avenue for them to report any misconduct,” Tech. Sgt. Luis Mercado, a military training instructor, said in an interview with Air Force Times. “It’s a way for protecting those trainees.”

Master Sgt. Jeremy Pickett, commandant of the MTI school, said basic training is turning out more aware airmen. “We’re really focusing on treating each other with dignity and respect. We really want to promote an environment of professionalism,” he said.

“Trainees don’t have more power. Trainees are given additional avenues to report misconduct. I have had major critiques dropped on me before and I’ve been investigated before. As long as MTIs are not doing anything wrong, they are going to be cleared. As long as no misconduct is actually taking place, the instructor is put right back with their flight and the training carries on,” Anderson said.

Uncertainty
Most MTIs surveyed in July felt they’d gotten better at their jobs but lacked the necessary tools and resources to do their jobs. Constantly shifting policies left them in a state of uncertainty.

Many were still reeling in the wake of the scandal.

“I feel that MTIs are being treated like we are all criminals because of a few who made some very bad decisions. I feel that our wing leadership treats us as such,” a respondent wrote.

“Right now if you are a more seasoned instructor it feels as though you are under a spotlight and everything you do is looked at to ensure nothing wrong is being done. I understand that things need to be checked but not everybody did something wrong. Tell us what is going on in BMT. We never hear about the MTIs that do something good or bad, so we all still feel that everything we do is for nothing,” another MTI said.

Willis said he empathizes. “A lot of people at BMT in July of 2013 had been there through those darker days of BMT. While I think I can argue things started to get better for them, it’s hard to overcome the previous year or two of tough conditions,” he said. “I think quality of life has gotten better.”

AETC is also working to standardize policy so instructors know what is expected of them, Willis said. Changes would have to be approved at the command level.

“The whole role of policy is to make it predictable. If you’re changing policy constantly, you don’t have very well thought-out policy. The best part is that for most ... they should have less turbulence in their lives, which they don’t need. They have a very difficult job,” Willis said.


http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140529/NEWS/305290079/Survey-shows-Lackland-MTIs-scared-train-

OtisRNeedleman
05-30-2014, 03:13 PM
I remember when I was an instructor at Goodfellow thirty years ago. The students could say whatever they wanted in their critiques, right or wrong, truth or lies, and, at least in our course at the time, the instructor would get whacked. Happily, things did change to give the instructors in the course an even break. But this is no surprise.

mikezulu1
05-30-2014, 03:39 PM
the training environment is out of control..Ive had recent experience in the tech school environment, if ANY negative comments are put in the anonymous comment box about an instructor that instructor is immediately removed from training and decertified until an investigation is complete. We were told this at a commanders call and several people asked where is our protection against bogus reports our answer? ADC. Leadership is all about catering to the students they dont care if we fry, if you are caught saying "shit or dirtbag airmen" or ANYTHING interpreted by the student and subsequent investigation to be offensive (even if you were talking to another instructor and not even directing it at a student) you are most likely done with the military or at least a little lighter on the sleeves.

A TSGT was working with a civilian instructor, and the civilian used curse words at a student. The NCO pulled the civilian aside and told him not to do it again, then pulled the student aside asked him if he wanted to press for a report or talk to someone. Student says no, problem solved right?. Nope, issue makes its way to leadership, civilian is verbally reprimanded and NCO is giving Art 15 for not forwarding issue up the chain. THIS is the environment that we are in and everyone hates it. No one really trains anymore for fear of getting caught up in an investigation......worlds greatest airpower and this is the shit product we are producing. I think leadership forgets that we are training these people for war not the boy scouts. I literally laughed at the comments of Col. Willis in the article about how the environment is getting better blah blah blah. Dude doesnt have a clue!

Rant over.

Smeghead
05-30-2014, 04:37 PM
You all know my opinion on BMT

Giant Voice
05-30-2014, 04:54 PM
This is not surprising. Used to be you could jump an Airmen's sh*t and if they dared complain you(the NCO/SNCO) would always win. Now, we must walk on eggshells!

Rainmaker
05-30-2014, 05:57 PM
the training environment is out of control..Ive had recent experience in the tech school environment, if ANY negative comments are put in the anonymous comment box about an instructor that instructor is immediately removed from training and decertified until an investigation is complete. We were told this at a commanders call and several people asked where is our protection against bogus reports our answer? ADC. Leadership is all about catering to the students they dont care if we fry, if you are caught saying "shit or dirtbag airmen" or ANYTHING interpreted by the student and subsequent investigation to be offensive (even if you were talking to another instructor and not even directing it at a student) you are most likely done with the military or at least a little lighter on the sleeves.

A TSGT was working with a civilian instructor, and the civilian used curse words at a student. The NCO pulled the civilian aside and told him not to do it again, then pulled the student aside asked him if he wanted to press for a report or talk to someone. Student says no, problem solved right?. Nope, issue makes its way to leadership, civilian is verbally reprimanded and NCO is giving Art 15 for not forwarding issue up the chain. THIS is the environment that we are in and everyone hates it. No one really trains anymore for fear of getting caught up in an investigation......worlds greatest airpower and this is the shit product we are producing. I think leadership forgets that we are training these people for war not the boy scouts. I literally laughed at the comments of Col. Willis in the article about how the environment is getting better blah blah blah. Dude doesnt have a clue!

Rant over.

Hypersensitivity is a by product of political correctness. The Diversity cultists running our institutions of society don't give a rat'sass about the product they are putting out. What they care about is spreading their Utopian idiology.

Measure Man
05-30-2014, 06:06 PM
I can understand the MTI's apprehension...having seen some from among them sentenced to 20+ years in prison and what-not.

Just because they are afraid of something, does not mean it is reality though.

What's going on a BMT is not the fault of PC, liberalism, kinder-gentler, etc....it is the fault of those MTIs among them who chose to abuse the special position of trust they used to have.

I will concede that instructor leadership probably is more likely to "err on the side of caution" because god-forbid they should happen to be found to have failed to take adequate action once they became aware of potential abuse...again, the fault lies with those who abused their positions of trust and nothing else. This is the world we live in.

Yes, 30 years ago a TI could abuse trainees for years and get the benefit of the doubt and when trainees complained.

Brewhound
05-30-2014, 07:24 PM
I can understand the MTI's apprehension...having seen some from among them sentenced to 20+ years in prison and what-not.

Just because they are afraid of something, does not mean it is reality though.

What's going on a BMT is not the fault of PC, liberalism, kinder-gentler, etc....it is the fault of those MTIs among them who chose to abuse the special position of trust they used to have.

I will concede that instructor leadership probably is more likely to "err on the side of caution" because god-forbid they should happen to be found to have failed to take adequate action once they became aware of potential abuse...again, the fault lies with those who abused their positions of trust and nothing else. This is the world we live in.

Yes, 30 years ago a TI could abuse trainees for years and get the benefit of the doubt and when trainees complained.

I think it is really a lot easier to sit there behind a key board a say that stuff, but the fact of the matter is perception is reality and if they are scared to train then it is an F@#ked up work environment. I personally think you would have to have a career death wish to want to go down there and do that job given the command and political climate. I wouldn’t do it unless they separated the men and women to at least mitigate your risk exposure, otherwise you are playing Russian roulette

Measure Man
05-30-2014, 07:50 PM
I think it is really a lot easier to sit there behind a key board a say that stuff, but the fact of the matter is perception is reality and if they are scared to train then it is an F@#ked up work environment. I personally think you would have to have a career death wish to want to go down there and do that job given the command and political climate. I wouldn’t do it unless they separated the men and women to at least mitigate your risk exposure, otherwise you are playing Russian roulette

Yes, it is a lot easier to sit here and pontificate behind a keyboard.

I don't disagree with anything you said, really. Well except that part about "perception is reality"...I hate that phrase because it is not true. It might be, put just because someone perceives something does not make it reality.

Nevertheless, I do think the work environment there probably sucks...but, I don't necessarily agree that it is leaderships fault. It is the fault of those who have abused their positions of power.

Rusty Jones
05-30-2014, 07:54 PM
Well except that part about "perception is reality"...I hate that phrase because it is not true. It might be, put just because someone perceives something does not make it reality.

Sorry bud, you've got a long uphill battle against experts and academicians with doctorates who've written peer reviewed literature on the matter, and who are smarter than all of us put together if you want to argue that point.

hustonj
05-30-2014, 08:43 PM
Sorry bud, you've got a long uphill battle against experts and academicians with doctorates who've written peer reviewed literature on the matter, and who are smarter than all of us put together if you want to argue that point.


While I actually agree with your point that perception defines reality, the way you've defended it demands that I link to THIS (http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20140528-the-problem-with-smart-people) BBC story . . ..

mikezulu1
05-30-2014, 08:51 PM
You punish those that commit the crime and set an example: you step out of bounds this is what happens. You dont punish EVERY NCO in the training environment. This isnt just a Lackland thing, this is all across AETC. BMT, tech training and the first few months at 1st duty station. What did all those NCOs do to deserve the amount of scrutiny they are now getting? You literally put your career in jeopardy if you use a swear word, thats insane! We are dealing with adults who will be asked to be involved directly or indirectly in killing other people but they are to fragile to hear cuss words?

Measure Man
05-30-2014, 08:58 PM
Sorry bud, you've got a long uphill battle against experts and academicians with doctorates who've written peer reviewed literature on the matter, and who are smarter than all of us put together if you want to argue that point.

years and years of mishap investigations could argue that point very well. "I didn't see it"...doesn't mean it wasn't there.

The MTIs may very well be in fear of going to prison of one if their trainees accuses them...that fear may or may not be rational.

but, what you are saying here is that experts and academicions with doctorates do not believe a fear can be irrational? That all perceptions are reality? That if my child is afraid of a boogey man in the closet, then there is one? It might be "their reality" but it is not actual reality.

I don't buy it....

Smeghead
05-31-2014, 12:49 AM
Newest climate survey results show MTI morale improving


An April climate survey of basic military training showed morale within the beleaguered organization was on the uptick as sexual misconduct cases against instructors dwindled.

Nine months after an outside survey of MTIs found less than half were satisfied with their jobs and believed minor missteps could mean an end to their Air Force careers, results from the command’s climate survey paint a brighter picture: Eight out of 10 said they believe the health of their unit had improved from a year ago. More than nine out of 10 said they feel central to the BMT mission and that their workplace is free from maltreatment and abuse, said Gen. Robin Rand, head of Air Education and Training Command, which oversees basic training.

“We are better than we were a year ago, and I expect we will be better a year from now,” Rand said in an interview Friday with Air Force Times.

Rand discussed the climate survey results following news this week of the July survey, in which a large number of instructors said they felt changes to BMT had turned the tables too far, giving recruits rather than trainers the upper hand.

The July survey has not been repeated. But Rand said the climate assessment of basic training, the results of which have not been made public, shows morale among MTIs is improving following nearly two years of trainer courts-martial for crimes ranging from unprofessional relationships to rape.

“There is still room for improvement,” he said. But “our training instructors are adapting the way we expected.”

Rand said the pages of anonymous comments describing low morale and little job satisfaction 10 months ago do not surprise him.

“We were in the infancy stages of implementing” dozens of changes a command-directed investigation into the sexual misconduct scandal recommended.

“Whether perceived or real, our military training environment was under great scrutiny and deservedly so,” Rand said.

Basic training was still undermanned at that time, and MTIs were working long days with little or no time off.

“There is no way to have that work pace and not have a negative impact on the quality of life,” Col. J.D. Willis, deputy director of technical training for Air Education and Training Command, told Air Force Times this week. “A large part of their quality of life concerns were due to manning issues, which we have been addressing. We’re well on our way and getting very close.”

'Hitting a home run'
While MTIs said in July they couldn’t properly train for fear of being punished for minor infractions by overzealous leadership and ever-changing policy, the numbers show a different story, Rand said.

There have been no sexual misconduct reports made against MTIs in two years. About half of the 168 proven cases of other forms of misconduct over the last year resulted in verbal counseling, he said. Forty-three trainers received letters of counseling; 16 were issued a more serious letter of reprimand.

Four were released from MTI duty, Rand said. That is compared to a historical average of seven to eight a year.

“I would argue steps taken have reduced the number of infractions,” he said.

Rand said he also doesn’t buy into the argument that watered-down basic training is turning out ill-prepared airmen.

“I meet with these trainees. You can see the look in their eyes. They view these training instructors as the ultimate role model. They are someone they will never forget. I’m not buying for one second that training is easy and that trainees are driving the train out there,” he said.

AETC has also worked on standardizing policy so MTIs know what is expected of them.

“We’re going to make sure they know what the right thing is. If they do the right thing, they’ll have nothing to worry about,” Rand said.

Today’s MTIs are “hitting a home run,” he said. “I know you can fool a four-star some of the time but you can’t fool a four-star all of the time. In my entire career I have never served with better [noncommissioned officers] than the ones now serving as MTIs.”

Gonzo432
05-31-2014, 02:01 AM
I know I've said this before, but DAMN, I'M GLAD I'M RETIRED!!!

Rainmaker
05-31-2014, 04:25 AM
I think it is really a lot easier to sit there behind a key board a say that stuff, but the fact of the matter is perception is reality and if they are scared to train then it is an F@#ked up work environment. I personally think you would have to have a career death wish to want to go down there and do that job given the command and political climate. I wouldn’t do it unless they separated the men and women to at least mitigate your risk exposure, otherwise you are playing Russian roulette

of course, This would be the logical solution to the problem. However, logic does not factor into the equation of the diversity cult zealots. It was never even considered.

Rusty Jones
05-31-2014, 07:08 PM
of course, This would be the logical solution to the problem. However, logic does not factor into the equation of the diversity cult zealots. It was never even considered.

The Marine Corps is the only service that does this. The Navy does for males that ship out on Thursdays. When I was a MEPS Classifier, everyone hated me for shipping out all of my males on Thursdays... because that's what I believe in. I shipped out on a Thursday myself, and actually got to hear the crude language from my RDC's that would have gotten them locked up if there had been females around.

Men are physically stronger than women, and aren't repulsed by sexually crude language. When the training is mixed, you can only push everyone as hard as you can push the females.

Smeghead
05-31-2014, 08:13 PM
of course, This would be the logical solution to the problem. However, logic does not factor into the equation of the diversity cult zealots. It was never even considered.

This came up a lot when I was an MTI. If anything it's a pain in the ass. I couldn't be in the dorm with females after lights or while they were showering/changing. Had to find a female instructor to do waist measurements, non duty inspections. Air Force will never reverese a decision once it's been made. Would have been an easy fix, take a squadron and make it all female, MTIs, CC, shirt and put the female trainees there. But no, that's wrong, we're all equal. So we integrate and then get things like this http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2512412/Female-RAF-recruits-100-000-compensation--march-like-men.html

Capt Alfredo
05-31-2014, 09:56 PM
Sounds like life at Lackland under AETC sucks for officers, too.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310038/Relieved-command

Gonzo432
05-31-2014, 10:14 PM
Sounds like life at Lackland under AETC sucks for officers, too.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310038/Relieved-command

Let me see if I got this straight: Big Blue just came out with a directive saying CC's need to be all up in their troop's business, but providing support to troops in your command is fraternization.

Oh I get it. It's both mandatory and forbidden.

DannyJ
05-31-2014, 10:14 PM
Sounds like life at Lackland under AETC sucks for officers, too.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310038/Relieved-command

The rational though ghestapo strike again. Although I will readily admit I don't know the entire story, seems like a culture of fear if there ever was one.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
05-31-2014, 10:15 PM
Sounds like life at Lackland under AETC sucks for officers, too.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310038/Relieved-command

One of many reasons I turned down command and retired. You can do your very best to do the right thing and be a good leader, but if you're in the wrong place, wrong time, wrong environment or wrong boss, then you can tank your career. What a thankless opportunity I was more than happy to pass on.

Measure Man
06-01-2014, 02:06 AM
Sounds like life at Lackland under AETC sucks for officers, too.


http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310038/Relieved-command

going just from this article...it sounds like that dude got hosed.

Of course, there is a chance there is more to the story.

sandsjames
06-01-2014, 02:12 AM
When we have airmen (students) to our home for Thanksgiving, we have to get a signed letter of approval. It's really a pretty common, easy thing to do. I wonder if they had such a program in this instance.

Chief_KO
06-01-2014, 03:00 AM
I wouldn't be surprised if his fellow commanders were the ones that threw him under the bus. I've never seen so much vindictiveness, backstabbing, and pettiness till I've some commanders in action. Quick to point out their peers shortcomings or failures. Really bad when they line up at a new CC's Change of Command ceremony and hit the new CC up for favors etc. Holy $hit...let the new guy/gal have a piece of cake before you sink your claws in.
I'd guess this guy didn't want to socialize with those flesh-eating hyenas and made the "grave mistake" of hanging with his Chief.

Class5Kayaker
06-02-2014, 03:33 PM
Sounds like life at Lackland under AETC sucks for officers, too.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140531/NEWS/305310038/Relieved-command

Ri-fugging-diculous!!!

jondstewart
06-12-2014, 11:30 PM
This is just another post giving me good reason to despise these hypersensitive, politically correct Generation Y pansies! For the past 10-15 years, they've held the cards and had the upper hand because the Baby Boomers gave it to them! And the Air Force being the newest and most progressive branch of the military still has to abide by it. Just a few decades ago and before, the NCO's in the Air Force were not much different from the ones the Army has had since its inception. Not just TI's! They cursed and threatened their Airmen as they pleased, called them out on BS, and many Airmen were afraid to see them!

You know what, let these young turds have their way! Then they can go back to deploying with the Army in war zones and find they can't handle the reality of the military outside the rear main bases. Or they'll get out in the real world, education or not, and find it's actually MUCH worse! And even more shocked when they find out they don't get free medical, dental, 30 days paid vacation a year, and a paper trail to get fired!

sandsjames
06-13-2014, 12:00 AM
This is just another post giving me good reason to despise these hypersensitive, politically correct Generation Y pansies! For the past 10-15 years, they've held the cards and had the upper hand because the Baby Boomers gave it to them! And the Air Force being the newest and most progressive branch of the military still has to abide by it. Just a few decades ago and before, the NCO's in the Air Force were not much different from the ones the Army has had since its inception. Not just TI's! They cursed and threatened their Airmen as they pleased, called them out on BS, and many Airmen were afraid to see them!

You know what, let these young turds have their way! Then they can go back to deploying with the Army in war zones and find they can't handle the reality of the military outside the rear main bases. Or they'll get out in the real world, education or not, and find it's actually MUCH worse! And even more shocked when they find out they don't get free medical, dental, 30 days paid vacation a year, and a paper trail to get fired!

As a Tech School instructor I am calling BS on the majority of these stories out of basic training. I talk to 10-12 different pipeline students on a daily basis and there has been very little actual change in BMT at least since I went through it 21 years ago.

There are always rumors about how easy they have it and it's just not true. There are no "time-out" cards as widely rumored. They can still be yelled at just as we were. Hell, I don't even remember getting cursed at too often when I came through.

The only difference, really, is that they roll clothing instead of folding and pressing.

They DO have cell phones, but they are only allowed to be used on patio breaks. It's no different than us having the pay phone except it's easier for people to get through when they are on the breaks.

I don't necessarily agree with how easy it is to get an instructor "in trouble" but that's not BMT specific, that is Air Force (and probably military) wide.

Don't believe all the stories you hear. Are there cases of students taking advantage of the system? Sure. But I don't think it's to any more extent than we ever did.