The new restrictions on training sergeants at Lackland Air Force Base in the wake of the 'sex with recruits' scandal has left the Military Training Instructors feel cut off from the chain of command and 'terrified' of doing their jobs, according to a study of MTI's conducted by the Rand Corporation and reported by Air Force Times, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Many of the MTIs told the survey they are looking forward to transferring out of the unique duty station, and many say they are afraid that female recruits, upset at the rigors of military basic training, will file a complaint against them that could cost them their career.
Fully 65% of the MTIs said the brass puts more authority in claims made by raw recruits with weeks in basic training over the word of MTIs who, in many cases, have been in the Air Force for twenty years or more.
In response to a scandal in 2011 involving MTI's who had unauthorized sexual contact with female recruits, the Air Force took several steps. Complaint boxes are now placed prominently in the recruits barracks, and there is a special 'hot line' that recruits can call confidentially to report on the conduct of their MTI. In addition, more female MTIs are being trained, and there are new restrictions which require that all interaction between recruits and MTIs take place in public. Each new flight of recruits is also met by an officer who explains their rights to file complaints against their trainer.
In addition to the new restrictions facing the MTIs themselves, there are now requirements that MTIs report their fellow instructors if they get wind of misconduct. In several of the 'sex with recruits,' courts martial, witnesses said MTIs were aware of the activities of other instructors, but did nothing.
Fewer than 35% of the MTIs surveyed by the Rand Corporation said they believe the recruits respect their authority, which makes it very difficult for a military basic training instructor to do his or her job.
One MTI told the survey, according to the Air Force Times, that the result has been softer recruits, who are not being properly trained for rigorous and demanding service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
"I really hope I'm not around to see the next war," he said in a chilling statement.
Several MTIs expressed concerns that recruits will feel that they are being 'picked on,' or singled out for abuse in the course of the standard boot camp procedure, and will use the sexual abuse reporting system to 'get back' at their sergeant. One MTI said he was 'terrified' that he was going to be reported by a female MTI who he criticized because her hair was too long for Air Force requirements.
"These trainees know all they have to do if they don't like you is fill out negative reviews and you're in trouble," one Lackland MTI wrote. "I have heard trainees talking about it. This is crazy."