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New Air Force Reserve Enlistee training ensures BMT success

Members of the 477th Fighter Group Development and Training Flight practice Drill and Ceremonies here May 20. The D&T flight stood up to teach Airmen the basics of Air Force customs and courtesies, Drill and Ceremony, and physical fitness prior to arrival at Basic Military Training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ashley Conner)

Members of the 477th Fighter Group Development and Training Flight practice Drill and Ceremonies here May 20. The D&T flight stood up to teach Airmen the basics of Air Force customs and courtesies, Drill and Ceremony, and physical fitness prior to arrival at Basic Military Training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ashley Conner)

Staff Sgt. Travis Marshall, 477th FG Development and Training Flight Facilitator, shows an enlistee how to properly execute dress right, dress during a lesson on Drill and Ceremonies here May 20. The D&T flight stood up to teach Airmen the basics of Air Force customs and courtesies, Drill and Ceremony, and physical fitness prior to arrival at Basic Military Training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ashley Conner)

Staff Sgt. Travis Marshall, 477th FG Development and Training Flight Facilitator, shows an enlistee how to properly execute dress right, dress during a lesson on Drill and Ceremonies here May 20. The D&T flight stood up to teach Airmen the basics of Air Force customs and courtesies, Drill and Ceremony, and physical fitness prior to arrival at Basic Military Training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Ashley Conner)

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 477th Fighter Group welcomed seven new Reserve enlistees during the May Unit Training Assembly weekend.

These Airmen make up the Development and Training Flight, a new Air Force Reserve initiative which prepares enlistees for Basic Military Training by educating them on Air Force customs and courtesies, drill and ceremony, and physical fitness prior to arrival at BMT.

"Our D&T Flights will better prepare these folks for Basic Military Training, which will improve attrition rates and identify problems before they start Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas," said Senior Master Sgt. Kelly Kimbrough, Air Force Reserve Assistant Senior Recruiter.

The 477th FG D&T Flight stood up during the February 2012 UTA.

"We started out with 11 trainees. Since then, seven have left for BMT and we currently have seven members assigned," said Staff Sgt. Travis Marshall, 477th FG D&T Flight Facilitator. "The curriculum is provided by AFRC, but we can also provide them with courses specific to JBER and the 477th FG. I personally like to take it a step farther and provide them the tools to succeed through BMT, but their Air Force Reserve career as well."

D&T Flight members can be assigned to the flight for one month or up to one year. On average the 477th FG new enlistees are in the D&T Flight for three to four months before leaving for BMT.

These Airmen have sworn in and are paid as Airman Basic during the UTA weekends.

Prior to the stand-up of D&T Flights new enlistees only contact with the military was twice a month contact with their recruiter and weekly contact during the month prior to leaving for BMT. This training so far has proven to increase the success rate of Airmen in BMT. According to Chief Master Sgt. Laura Wilkes, Program Manager Development and Training Flight there is a 7% discharge rate of Reserve Airmen who were not in a D&T Flight prior to coming to BMT and only a .5% discharge rate for those who were.

"An AFSO 21 event was conducted to address the high number of non-prior service losses both prior to and while in BMT as well as the low number of first term reenlistments in Air Force Reserve Command," said Wilkes. "It was determined that the D&T Flights could address both of those issues while simultaneously assist our prior service members in their transition to the Air Force (from other branches of the military)."

There are currently 23 units across AFRC with active D&T Flights and another 16 units projected to stand up D&T Flights within the next 90 days.