Delayed Enlistment Program prepares trainees for BMT

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher Moore
  • 310th Space Wing Public Affairs

  Training Airmen to embrace a superior standard of force readiness plays a big part in the overall success of the Air Force. For members of the United States Air Force Reserve, that training begins before they even step foot onto the training grounds of Lackland Air Force Base. Reserve recruits begin their military experience with the Delayed Enlistment Program, a program designed to give future Airmen the skills and confidence they need to be successful.   

“We guide, mentor and train them for success,” said Technical Sgt. Christina Stewart, a developmental training flight program manager. “It’s kind of a shortened version of Basic Military Training. The failure rate has dropped at BMT since the program was started because the guidance they receive before they leave puts them a step ahead. When they are more confident before they go, they are more likely to succeed.”  

The trainees report to their assigned duty station for drill two days each month to participate in training exercises. They also file required paperwork to ensure that they are administratively prepared.  

“The trainees drill two days a month just like the rest of us,” said Stewart. “The average time for the program is four to five months for each trainee and each drill is different. We bring in former Military Training Instructors as often as possible to teach drill and ceremony. The recruits also receive instruction on dress and appearance, finances, and any mandatory trainings that are standard in the Air Force, such as Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, to get them familiar with the subjects that they will study at BMT.”  

Familiarity with these subjects helps the trainees to feel a sense of confidence and helps them to focus on their training. This raises their chances of success and lowers the failure rate at BMT.      

“This program is preparing us for BMT as far as the drill and ceremony and what kind of mentality we need to have to be there,” said trainee Haider Flayaah. “I am training mentally and physically for what is coming up.” Flayaah was previously an interpreter from Afghanistan for coalition forces, and later immigrated to the United States.   

“As someone who has been on the battlefield, I would recommend this program for anyone who wants to join,” said Flayaah. “I can see that there are a lot of keys that will be effective during basic training and {with this training} you will understand the mentality of the MTI’s and what they are doing so you can go with the flow.”  

The benefits of preparedness are noticed beyond the changes seen by the Airmen working with the DEP and the trainees themselves. The cadre working with them after they leave the program see the benefits as well.   

“I think this program is beneficial to potential trainees,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Coleman-Foster, who served as an MTI from 2012 to 2016 and recently assisted with the DEP. “When I was at Lackland, one of the things we saw quite a bit of were individuals who were not ready. You could tell which individuals had experience and which ones were familiar with the military lifestyle. I went to Lackland specifically because I wanted to change lives, and now I get to do that here with the DEP. This program will give the trainees a way forward and help them succeed.”