By Airman 1st Class Samuel Taylor
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – In order to fill its mission requirements, the Air Force employs service members in specialized positions to perform a specific duty. These special duties allow Airmen to step outside their conventional roles and experience a completely new side of the Air Force.
One such position is the military training leader, a position held by Staff Sgt. Ali Bueshi, the 373rd Training Squadron Det. 3 flight chief, and Staff Sgt. Jessica Nienhueser, the 373rd TRS Det. 3 assistant flight chief.
“The MTL is responsible for constantly enforcing high standards of conduct, accountability and discipline for Airmen completing technical training,” Sergeant Nienhueser said. “(The MTL) serves as the middleman between the basic military training environment and regular Air Force life.”
Both Sergeant Bueshi and Sergeant Nienhueser have served as MTLs for approximately one year here, supervising dozens of Airmen training to become C-5 Galaxy crew chiefs.
“One of the main benefits of being an MTL is learning to deal with many types of different personalities and challenges,” Sergeant Nienhueser said. “A typical supervisor might manage a handful of Airmen per year; we’ve handled more than a hundred.”
MTLs are involved in nearly every aspect of the Airmen’s training process, from drill practice to course studies.
“One of the most important duties of the MTLs is overseeing the Airmen’s physical training regimen,” said 1st Lt. Ben Derry, the 373rd Training Squadron Det. 3 commander. “Sergeant Bueshi possesses a Level 1 Cross-Fit Certification, so the Airmen receive a better fitness experience than most service members on base.”
However, MTLs here had to follow before they learned how to lead.
The first step to becoming an MTL begins with the submission of a special-duty application. Applicants must submit a photo of themselves, their past enlisted performance reports and must have served 48 months time-on-station. A two-week training course is conducted at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where MTLs learn the essentials of their new duty.
“(MTLs) must be able to demonstrate what they expect out of their Airmen,” Sergeant Bueshi said.
MTL training teaches a number of important skills, including drill and ceremony procedures, scenario-based counseling, public speaking and human resource management.
Yet training is not enough to become a successful MTL, Sergeant Nienhueser said.
“Those who aspire to become an MTL shouldn’t do it for the assignment location or incentive pay,” Sergeant Nienhueser said. “With the job comes long hours, 24/7 on-call status and the challenge of helping many Airmen with personal issues. It is tough work, especially if your heart isn’t in it.”
Yet in the end, MTLs at Dover AFB can say they have played a key role in the careers of dozens of Airmen. Their hours of mentoring and supporting are rewarded by a “thank you” and a handshake from graduating Airmen, soon departing to their first duty station.
“The job satisfaction is what keeps you coming back to work each day,” Sergeant Bueshi said.
“When the Airmen leave Det. 3, they are 100-percent squared away and prepared, thanks to the efforts of their dedicated MTLs,” Lieutenant Derry said. “MTLs exhibit and instill the demeanor of success.”