With a uniform in perfect order, he pulls the immediately identifiable campaign hat low and straight, down the forehead to nearly the eyebrows. With a stern voice and a stoic physical presence, he directs raw recruits as they scramble into a unit formation. It's the start of another day during an eight-and-a-half week indoctrination in becoming warrior airmen. Many will soon serve overseas or in a war zone.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Matthew J. Rick, son of George B. and Dianne Rick of Cleghorn, is a military training instructor, or MTI. He is the face of the Air Force for hundreds of trainees throughout the year. He molds recruits through a recently overhauled and expanded Air Force Basic Military Training here with a curriculum today that focuses on a 'warrior first' philosophy.
Seven days a week Rick facilitates basic war skills, military bearing, discipline, physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, Air Force core values and subjects relating to Rick 's duties and responsibilities in training recruits are extensive.
"My responsibility as a military training instructor is to lead, teach, and mold the newest members of the Air Force," said Rick, a 1994 graduate of Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn High School. "We teach drill (marching), dormitory appearance, and Air Force rules and regulations to our trainees."
A job recognized within military ranks as 'down right tough,' Rick is dedicated in giving recruits what they need to become successful Air Force warriors.
"We are bringing in civilians and sending on airmen to our Air Force. It is tough because of the long hours and high tempo. You are constantly on the go," said Rick.
Rick holds an extreme sense of pride in knowing he is taking young people off the streets and molding them into airmen.
"It makes me feel proud when a flight graduates. I remember how they were when they came in and what they have become. It is rewarding to see the end product," said Rick.
Rick holds a broad Air Force background, making him a model mentor for recruits.
"I have been in the Air Force for nine years and am an aerospace propulsion mechanic. I served in a war zone in Afghanistan in 2007. I plan to continue with my Air Force Without his yelling, long days, warrior training or marching step by step with recruits, the Air Force could fall short of meeting its future missions. But tomorrow he'll again rise early, ensuring the recruits learn the tools they may need to survive.