|No other figure in military lore exemplifies leadership more than that of the drill instructor. To a new trainee, the Military Training Instructors (MTI ) as they call them in the Air Force, can seem self-centered, egotistical, and overbearing.
The MTI stands wearing a pair of shoes shined to an unbelievably high gloss. The uniform is spotless and fanatically pressed. The pockets are sewn shut and creases are placed with the skill and precision of a master artisan. The most distinctive part of the uniform is the campaign hat. It is the symbol of leadership and authority.
Armed with a voice to bark out commands with power, the MTI preaches a gospel of duty, honor, service to country, and the importance of the team above self. The goals and standards established by this uniformed enigma seem impossible to achieve.
Feared, hated, and misunderstood, MTIs hammer home their messages with methodical persistence for six weeks, weeding out the undesirable along the way. Then, near graduation, the now seasoned trainee appreciates the MTI and recognizes those once impossible goals and standards set by the MTI were obtainable.
The trainee now views the MTI with admiration and respect for the MTI's expectations of sacrifice and hard work. The trainees take pride in their transformation and accomplishments and look forward to future challenges, knowing their MTI has prepared them well.
So the process continues every six weeks, and with each new flight, a new group of people surrender and rise to the challenges set by the MTI.