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MTI mission recognized with song, music video

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Michelle Patten
  • Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Most Airmen forever remember their experiences at basic military training and the military training instructors who taught them the foundation of their Air Force career. The importance of the BMT transformation and the MTIs who lead it inspired Max Impact, the U.S. Air Force’s premier rock band, to create an original song “Find You” about the BMT experience and the dedication of Air Force MTIs.

“We wrote [the song] for the men and women here at the 37th Training Wing to honor, inspire and encourage them,” said Senior Master Sgt. Ryan Carson, Max Impact superintendent and vocalist, “and also for those who are thinking about taking the plunge and finding out who they really are, and discovering through the process of BMT their full potential.”

MTIs at the 37th TRW accomplish the enormous task of helping individuals realize their potential by remaking them, from a group of strangers with diverse backgrounds and experience levels, into cohesive flights of professional enlisted Airmen.

“The importance of the MTI mission is the transformation from civilians to professional military,” said Tech. Sgt. Tom Carreker, 37th TRW MTI. “We’re here to structure and mold them into what the Air Force needs. We teach them the resiliency, perseverance and integrity that they’ll need in the military, and the biggest way we tie all of that together is through teamwork.”

The song lyrics and music video tell the story of the discipline and sacrifice required of MTIs as they guide the vital transformation process of bringing new generations of Airmen into the force, and the focus, adherence to standards and teambuilding trainees develop during BMT.

Be it the precision of drill or the exacting way to roll a pair of socks to pass dorm inspections, attention to detail is critical for trainees and instructors alike. MTIs train to a meticulous standard in their own grueling program that cumulates with a mentor instructor shadowing them during their first flight.

“It is the attention to detail we have to have in everything we do and everything we train,” Carreker said. “We have to have everything 100-percent perfect all the time to make sure we’re doing right by the flight.”

Vocalist Carson, who co-wrote the song with Senior Master Sgt. Matthew Ascione, Max Impact guitarist, drew on his own BMT experiences from 18 years ago and his relationship with his MTI, retired Tech. Sgt. Daniel Witmer, in creating the song.

The debut of the song at a concert in front of an audience of the MTIs gave Carson a chance to recognize Witmer’s influence on his career. Carson presented him with an Air Force band coin numbered 341 in a nod to the Air Education and Training Command Form 341 used in basic training to document discrepancies or excellence in recruits.

According to Witmer, both the song and the accompanying music video are a good representation of what the MTI corps does, and it serves as motivation for the career field.

“This song is so important because [the job] is a huge burden to bear and it’s a lot of stress,” Carson said. “If we can somehow alleviate some of that stress by pumping them up and getting them ready for the day or just giving them the spotlight for a second for them to be proud and say, ‘Wow this is what I do every day.’ Our goal is to inspire patriotism.”

The music video doesn’t just portray MTIs on the job. It also highlights the personal sacrifices they make with family time.

“I know what he does, but actually seeing the video gave me some chills,” said Ashleigh Carreker, MTI spouse. “It made me proud. With the hours at work, getting up early and coming home late, we take any type of family time we can. He leaves [the MTI mindset] at work.”

Even his 10-year- old daughter takes pride in her father’s job.

“She’s the reason I got really good at jodies,” Carreker said. “I practice at home with her.”

While the popular image of an MTI may be a relentless campaign of corrections and intimidation that commands authority, MTIs are actually there to educate and lead new Airmen. It’s a commitment that requires personal sacrifice and high motivation.

“It’s a thankless job, but how you feel on inside is what counts,” Witmer said. “When graduation day would come I’d meet the parents, the grandparents, the aunts and the girlfriends and everyone asked, ‘How did you do this?’ I’d always give them the same answer, ‘It’s called discipline.’"