MAY 23, 2022 – Members of the Delayed Entry Program visited Dobbins Air Reserve Base on May 7, 2022 to tour a C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft, perform drill movements, and review the Airman’s creed and core principles of the Air Force.
“Seeing the C-130H Hercules today was a great experience,” said Rylan Sietsema, DEP member. “I’ve ridden on passenger planes several times, but in there you can see the wiring, the pipes, and all of the inner-workings. It was awesome.”
The DEP is a program designed for those joining the military to receive a range of training and preparation for basic training before attending. Marching, physical training, and base visits are some of the things members participate in during their time in the program, which can range from weeks, to months, or even years depending on individual factors.
“The DEP provides a good foundation prior to going to basic,” said Tech. Sgt. Corlita Leidinger, 94th Airlift Wing Development and Training flight chief. “They’ll know exactly what to expect and be prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally for the demands and stressors of basic training.”
Joining the DEP and participating allows members the opportunity to experience the military on a more in-depth level and provides new forms of support and motivation.
“It took me five years to get in the military, so I’m really excited to finally be in the DEP program,” said Alexendrea Hawkins, DEP member. “I’m familiar with the military through my time at military college, ROTC, and a who is in the Marines, but joining DEP has given me even more
motivation. The instructors motivate us a lot, they push us to get things done.”
Aside from learning about military life, allowing DEP members on base fosters camaraderie and esprit de corps, said Leidinger.
“I want the members to gain a balanced and positive perspective of joining, and to gain a sense of belonging to something bigger so they really know what they signed up for on all sides,” said Leidinger. “I don’t want there to be any surprises in basic or at their home unit so I take them through everything to expect from training, whether it’s briefings, PT, or anything else. I’m transparent so they know everything and so that nothing is a mystery, and then they’ll be better members of their unit. I want to prepare them for success.”
Each year, roughly 30,000 individuals join the Air Force, falling into one of more than 130 enlisted career opportunities, and DEP, after enlisting, is where they begin their journey into the military.
“Joining the Air Force, DEP, has provided me with a sense of security,” said Sietsema. I’ve been in school for two years but in joining the military, just being out here today, I feel like I’m truly transitioning from adolescents into the adult world. This is a big step forward.”
Story by Senior Airman Gage Daniel
94th Airlift Wing