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Teaching the next generation

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein
  • 931st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — Before they “hit the ground running” at basic military training, future members of the 931st Air Refueling Wing often get a test run at the Development and Training Flight.

The program, which was founded at McConnell more than seven years ago, is a Reserve program which helps prepare future Airmen for BMT and assists them with making the transition from civilian to military life.

Since 2018, Tech. Sgt. Travis Hallinger, the 931 ARW D&TF chief, has lead the program at McConnell. Hallinger, a Traditional Reservist who works for the Wichita Police Department, joined the D&TF because he saw it as an opportunity to have a positive impact on people.

“The main goal is to reduce BMT attrition rate, and to ensure trainees are equipped to pass their tech school,” said Hallinger. “We do this by giving them a basic overview of what they’ll experience, the knowledge of what it takes to pass and what they can expect.”

Since the average time trainees spend in the D&TF can vary between four to seven months, they can fill this time with basic military knowledge prior to BMT. This can include anything from military rank, facing movements, the Air Force Creed and physical training assessments.

“We also help trainees discover the career opportunities available to them by performing site visit. In the past year, the DT&F has visited Expolosive Ordnance Disposal, the Innovation Lab, the base chapel and Team McConnell’s Maintenance Group,” said Hallinger.

Senior Airman Michael Jenkins, 931st Maintenance Squadron Structures technician, was in the D&TF from July 2018 until February 2019.

“[The DT&F] really gave me and expectation of what Air Force and military life would be like,” he said. “Before joining the flight, I had never even been on a military installation.”

Senior Airman Edgar Marquez, 931st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Aerospace Propulsion technician, also learned a lot from his time in the D&TF.

“There are countless benefits that accompany being in the D&TF program,” he said. The best part was the briefings about the variety of resources that are available to you when you enter the military, including Tricare and Education and legal services.”

Marquez said that this knowledge ultimately helped him succeed when he went to BMT and later technical school to learn his aerospace propulsion technician job.

Hallinger says stories like these are encouraging.

“Ultimately, the goal his to help them to be more successful at BMT and to let them know where they fit into the Air Force ‘big picture,’” he said.

For more information on the D&TF, or to volunteer for an event, contact Hallinger at 316-759-2584.