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Airman trains as military training instructor

Air Force Senior Airman Tav Leggett practicing drills.By Andre’ Sanders

LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – The daughter of a Ville Platte couple, like most men and women who have survived the trials and tribulations of military basic training, left with a certain awe and respect, and more than just a little fear of the larger-than-life drill sergeant who tormented her for six weeks. But, unlike most of her peers, Air Force Senior Airman Tav Leggett is looking forward to repeating the experience.

Leggett, daughter of John and Brenda Leggett, Ville Platte, has returned to the place where her military life began, this time with a vastly different result. She is learning to be the Air Force’s equivalent of an Army drill sergeant, at the Air Force Military Training Instructor Academy here.

A four-year Air Force veteran, Leggett must now prove she can effectively teach Air Force policy, conduct, character and rules of personal appearance to basic trainees. The performance objectives include military drills, dormitory instruction, lecture presentation, control of a marching flight, command voice, the obstacle course and physical conditioning.

"I’ve always liked a good challenge," said Leggett, a 1995 graduate of Pine Prairie High School. "I grew up playing sports and I’m competitive by nature. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re really made of, Photo of instructor preparing a student to align troops.this is the place to find out.

"I always strive to be the best at whatever task I undertake and the MTI course is no different for me," she said. "I draw upon my personal pride in the product I put out. In this case, the product is myself and the young men and women I will mold into airmen during basic training."

Every hour of the 14-week curriculum is focused on one purpose – giving Leggett and her 11 classmates the training needed to turn a civilian into an airman in six short weeks of basic training.

"When I graduate from the course and become a military training instructor, I will set the example for my trainees," said Leggett. Photo of student demonstrating how to inspect."My goal is to instill in each of them pride for their country and the Air Force. Most of the young people coming into the military today have no sense of patriotism. I want to change that."

Leggett isn’t too far removed from the raw recruits who will soon be placed under her command. She graduated from basic training herself in February 1997.

"I remember loving the level of discipline expected of me in basic training," said Leggett. "I enjoyed being challenged on a daily basis. I always knew I would come back to basic training as a military training instructor."

Very soon, Leggett’s role will change from student to teacher. Every six weeks, she will face 40 new recruits who must be molded into airmen. Just as the MTI trainers are pushing their students to find the perfect balance between physical performance and mental sharpness, Leggett will demand the same of anxious recruits who must pass by her to enter the Air Force.

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