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62 AW visits BMT, witness volunteers become Airmen

Col. Rebecca Sonkiss, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, returns a salute from graduating Airmen and their Military Training Instructors during a graduation parade, January 12, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Col. Rebecca Sonkiss, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, returns a salute from graduating Airmen and their Military Training Instructors during a graduation parade, January 12, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. JBSA is the only location where Air Force BMT is conducted. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sara Hoerichs)

Members of the 62nd Airlift Wing command staff tour an Airman Training Complex January 11, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas.

Members of the 62nd Airlift Wing command staff tour an Airman Training Complex January 11, 2018, at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. ATCs are being built to replace the old Recruit Housing and Training buildings that were built in the 1960s and 70s. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sara Hoerichs)

Members of the 62nd Airlift Wing command staff walk into a tent January 11, 2018, at the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training site on the Medina Annex of Joint Base San Antonio, Texas

Members of the 62nd Airlift Wing command staff walk into a tent January 11, 2018, at the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training site on the Medina Annex of Joint Base San Antonio, Texas. Trainees sleep in the tents during the week-long mock deployment environment they experience at the BEAST. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sara Hoerichs)

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. --

Members of the 62nd Airlift Wing command staff traveled to Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, to tour Basic Military Training Jan. 11-12.

The visit gave Col Rebecca Sonkiss, 62nd AW commander, Chief Master Sgt. Jeffery Sandusky, 62nd AW command chief, and commanders from maintenance, aircraft maintenance, operations group, operations support, medical, 7th, 8th and 4th airlift squadrons, comptroller and safety, many of whom had never experienced BMT, the opportunity to see the training that enlisted Airmen go through to transition from civilian to Airman.

“It’s important for commanders to see where our enlisted Airmen start their military career,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jeffery Sandusky, 62nd AW command chief. “We need to know where they’re coming from so we can continue their training.”

Included in the visit were tours of a training dorm, a dining facility, and the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills Training site.

“BEAST is the week that trainees apply the things they’ve been learning during BMT to a deployed environment,” said Tech. Sgt. Roslyn Evans, 319th Training Squadron BEAST instructor.

The command staff also attended the coin ceremony and graduation parade of the graduating week’s Airmen. Col Rebecca Sonkiss, 62nd AW commander, was the reviewing official for the parade.

 “The coin ceremony is the defining moment when the trainees become Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Mike Crawford, a master military training instructor with the 737th Training Group.

The graduation parade is a drill demonstration of the precision and discipline that the graduates have learned during their training. During this time, Airmen recite the Oath of Enlistment and the Airman’s Creed.

“It was amazing to see so many Airmen who have volunteered to serve our country,” said Sonkiss. “These new Airmen are the future of our Air Force.”