GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Congratulations to Tech. Sgt. Derwin Finley and Tech. Sgt. Joseph Washington for becoming the first Master Military Training Leaders in the Air Education and Training Command history!
“Our MTLs, Sergeant Finley and Sergeant Washington, epitomized what an MTL is and they have mastered those skills,” said Senior Master Sgt. Malcolm Summers II, 17th Training Group military training superintendent. “Not only do they lead Airmen, they now lead MTLs.”
Only the top 10% of an Airmen’s career field can apply to be an MTL. The Master MTL positions are then selected from the top 10% inside the career pool, which makes Washington and Finley in the top 1% of the whole Air Force.
“MTLs have been around since 1973, so we have a long history of leading, mentoring and training Airmen,” said Summers. “Last August, it was established that each training group could have a Master MTL program.”
Finley, 312th Training Squadron assistant flight chief, and Washington, 315th Training Squadron assistant flight chief, were recognized as Master MTLs after the 17th Training Group Drill Competition at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy High Bay here, Feb. 7.
“Though it wasn’t our goal, we are proud to be the first AETC base to roll out the program,” said Summers. “All the other wings are still in discussion about the program, but we were aggressive, laid out a competition plan and we did it.”
As the new royal and dark blue intertwined aiguillette physically reflects who the Master MTLs are, the new position also comes with a higher role of mentorship, training and leading.
“I believe the only way you can grow in an exponential fashion is to learn from the success and failures of the people who came before you,” said Washington. “So if I can share what I have learned becoming a master MTL with the people who are coming up next, then I think the Air Force will be a better place.”
The selection process for the Master MTL position is a three phase approach.
“The Master MTL program recognizes superior performance, ethics and leadership of personnel serving as MTLs,” said Summers. “Those personnel who consistently produce superior results and meet all the eligibility requirements should be considered for this distinction.”
In order to establish which MTLs are the masters, squadron commanders recommended qualifying individuals who, among other things, were required to have a current physical training score of 85% or higher and 18 month of frontline MTL experience.
After completing the qualification phase, the candidates competed in a variety of categories such as personal dress and appearance, marching a flight and delivering a professional development lesson for Airmen.
“We competed in a rigorous, week-long competition between all the nominated MTLs,” said Finley. “Even though it was a competition, at the end of the day we are there for each other, giving tips and pointers even in competition, because we are all on the same playing field.”
“It’s humbling,” said Washington. “I am just really humbled by this whole experience.”
For these Master MTLs it’s not about the accolades, it’s about inspiring the future.
“By creating a Master MTL you are separating the top 10% of the career field and recognizing them as that,” said Washington. “It shows the students that there are higher levels to greatness and there are higher levels to excellence in everything that they do.”