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Training and Development Flight: preparing future Reserve Citizen Airmen

The Westover Training and Development Flight's future Airmen take a tour of a C-5M Super Galaxy.

The Westover Training and Development Flight poses for a photo in front of a C-5M Super Galaxy October 15, 2017, on the flightline. The TDF prepares enlistees in the Air Force Reserve for Basic Military Training and a successful career in the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hanna Smith)

The Westover Training and Development Flight's future Airmen take a tour of a C-5M Super Galaxy.

A loadmaster with 337th Airlift Squadron speaks with the Westover Training and Development Flight's future Airmen about the cargo compartment of a C-5M Super Galaxy and of his experience in the Air Force October 15, 2017, in a flightline C-5. The TDF prepares enlistees in the Air Force Reserve for Basic Military Training and a successful career in the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hanna Smith)

The Westover Training and Development Flight's future Airmen take a tour of a C-5M Super Galaxy.

A Westover Training and Development Flight enlistee looks out the upper hatch of a C-5M Super Galaxy October 15, 2017, on the flightline. The TDF prepares enlistees in the Air Force Reserve for Basic Military Training and a successful career in the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Hanna Smith)

WESTOVER AIR RESERVE BASE, Mass. -- Air Force Basic Military Training develops enlistees from civilians to professional Airmen.

To help young men and women prepare for BMT, the Air Force Reserve offers the Training and Development Flight.

“It is an introduction to the military through structured Unit Training Assembly participation,” said Staff Sgt. Glenda Nathaniel, Flight Chief for the Training and Development Flight at Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts.

As Flight Chief for the TDF Nathaniel is in charge of introducing enlistees to the Air Force Reserve and Westover.

“I supervise, guide and mentor each trainee from the time they enlist into the Air Force Reserve until they return from technical training,” said Nathaniel. “I ensure each trainee has a grasp on the Whole Airman Concept so they are prepared for a successful military career.”

The TDF program is conducted every drill weekend. Saturdays of the weekend consist of introducing newcomers to the program and to the Air Force Reserve. Sundays consist of enlistees whom has attended the program at least once and await departure for BMT.

The structure of the program is to simulate the structure the enlistees will be exposed to daily in BMT.

“UTA’s for TDF consist of a core curriculum to include Air Force core values, Airman’s Creed, Air Force song, drill and ceremony practice and physical training,” said Nathaniel.

The TDF program consists of about 50 enlistees.

For Ivan Mendes, a future Reserve Citizen Airman, the program has given him a glimpse into what the BMT experience will be. He will be a member of the 439th Civil Engineering Squadron.

“This program has allowed me to master skills necessary for success at BMT as well as practice the grammar and customs of the Air Force,” said Mendes. “It has helped motivate me in my physical training so that I strive to better myself.”

Mendes is scheduled to depart for BMT in January 2018.

Enlistees typically attend the program at least twice before departing for BMT, said Nathaniel. But the average amount of time one attends the program is about five months.

The timeline is part of Nathaniel’s vision: Developing and preparing the next generation of Airmen for success at BMT and in their future military careers as professional mission-ready Reserve Citizen Airmen.