Story by SrA Erick Requadt on 07/10/2019Approximately 35,000 men and women make it through basic military training (BMT) each year, and it's the military training instructors (MTIs) who mold them into United States Air Force Airmen.
One Moody Airman whose passion has been training people her whole career, will soon embark on her own journey to become an MTI to help shape future Airmen.
"I've been teaching in one form or another my whole career," said Tech. Sgt. Renee Mansour, 23d Security Forces Squadron (SFS) kennel master. "I'll be able to teach people something they didn't know and see them grow. When the trainees arrive, they are just a group of people, but they'll leave a fully functioning team.
"To be able to see that growth throughout the time we have them will be awesome," Mansour continued. "Being a dog handler works the same way. It's that feeling of working with your dog and trying to help him fix a problem. Then one day everything falls into place and you and your dog are on the same page. It's that experience of things starting off a little jumbled but then all of a sudden you give a dog the training, and you give your people the training and everything clicks."
Mansour has trained people throughout her 14-year career, from getting 200 Airmen ready to deploy to training military working dogs (MWDs) and leading other security forces Airmen. She intends to bring that same passion into BMT when she departs for Joint Base San-Antonio-Lackland, Texas in August.
"When I become an MTI, it'll be amazing seeing a trainee go from not knowing anything to them being able to tell me who the chief of staff of the Air Force is when I ask them," Mansour said. "My drive and determination are going to push me to make my trainees better than they were before.
"Whether I'm an MTI or a kennel master, I'm always so excited for the people I train because where it does reflect on me to a point, they did all the work, and they had to listen to me," Mansour added. "They had to absorb the information and put it into play, and then they had to take what I gave them and make it theirs and make it better."
Staff Sgt. Lyndsay Gebhart, 23d SFS MWD trainer, knows Mansour's ability to instruct and train Airmen in different environments will give her what it takes to become an effective MTI.
"Mansour's taught me a lot of what I know about being a trainer," said Gebhart. "She's always taught me to be a better person than I was the day before. I believe she tries to get everyone outside of their comfort zone to do things they've never done before. I'm a mission briefer now. I would have never done something like that if it wasn't for her. She really excels with people as a whole, and that drives them to be better in all aspects of their life, professionally and personally.
"She can be intimidating, so I think the trainees are going to fear her," Gebhart added. "But when it really comes down to it, I think they're going to see her passion and her love for the Air Force and everything it encompasses. I believe she's going to pass that drive and motivation on to them, so when they get to their first base they won't lose their spark because they'll remember her as their MTI."
Mansour feels her time as a kennel master has equipped her with the necessary skills to set the pace for the flights she will lead.
"Being a kennel master has prepared me by showing me that I can manage a program on my own," Mansour said. "When something went wrong in the kennels it was me that my leadership was looking to. I had to be the standard for my people. If I'm telling them that they need to pass their physical training tests, then I'm going to get a 90. If I tell them they need to be in work at eight o'clock, I need to be at work by 7:45. Being that person that was the example is going to help me be an MTI because I will set the bar, and my trainees' standard is going to be my standard and my standard is the Air Force standard."
Mansour said how she knows she'll have to represent the highest ideal of military conduct as an MTI. In the eyes of her leadership, she brings the qualities of an MTI every day.
"(Mansour) will definitely bring a whole lot of dedication, initiative and leadership to (BMT)," said Maj. Daniel Land, 23d SFS commander. "Much of it has to do with her professionalism. She takes a lot of pride with the dog teams. You can see how she truly does care about Airmen. I think there will be an impact with her leaving, and it'll be one we'll notice."
Mansour explained how she'll miss being in security forces, but is looking forward to the journey to come.
"I have no idea what to expect as an MTI, and so I am a little nervous about it," Mansour said. "At the same time I'm super excited, and I can't wait to get my hands on the material and just dive in and go for it.
"I'm excited to step out of my career field and see another aspect of the Air Force and how it operates, because my world's been nothing but cops and dogs," Mansour continued. "I want to see how the rest of the Air Force is, especially at that level.
"MTIs are at the forefront of the Air Force, and are the welcoming party of a trainee's experience. To see that in action is going to be extremely interesting. I can't wait."