From the Basics

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

Behind the gates of Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, at Air Force Basic Military Training, a military training instructor’s job is to develop the next generation of Airmen to be ready to support and deliver 21st century airpower. Now two of those Airmen in the 157th Security Forces Squadron are operating alongside the drill instructors who trained them.

Master Sgt. Kelsey Hannafin, the unit training manager for the 157th SFS, and Tech. Sgt. Andrew Rothstein, a flight chief with the 157th SFS, served nearly four years as military training instructors and refined the next era of U.S. Air Force Airmen, including Senior Airmen Matthew Black and Kyle Marsh.

“Before leaving for BMT I knew there were two MTIs from Pease,” said Black. “I was looking out for them and any clue that they were from New Hampshire, then I realized how big basic training was and the environment. I was sure I would never see them.”

For the entirety of BMT, Rothstein was an instructor for the flight next door to Black’s. Neither knew they shared the same unit and Air Force specialty.

“When Sgt. Rothstein came in on Sundays, he would talk about going home to watch football,” Black remembered. “Little did I know he was rooting for the Patriots.”

They laughed and Rothstein added he was surprised to hear he would be working with someone he instructed.

“Every flight you train, you just hope that you did your best and hope they took away all the good things,” Rothstein said. “You want to set them up for success as best you can. He’s worked hard and turned out to be a great troop.”

Hannafin led a flight down the hall from Marsh during his time at the 331st Training Squadron.

“I watched the progression of his training but waited until after graduation to tell him I was from the 157th,” she said.

“It’s special getting to see them operate in the Air Force and move on to be Senior Airman and Staff Sergeants,” she added. “It’s definitely a crazy experience but a really good one.”

The pairs said they felt lucky to come back to Pease and work alongside one another nearly three years later.

“Master Sgt. Hannafin has been supportive of training,” Marsh said. “And also still very much an MTI, always critiquing my uniforms.”

“It’s unique to come back to Pease and work with Sgt. Rothstein,” Black added. “Other trainees don’t necessarily get the opportunity to share career experiences and everything and that’s pretty neat.”

While the former instructors’ years at JBSA-Lackland flew by, they left a lasting impression on hundreds of future Airmen and continue to lead the next generation.

“It has a surreal feeling like; ‘Did I really do that?’” said Hannafin.

“It was a whirl wind and to be back here doing security forces at Pease, it almost feels like I never left,” she added. “But then you see all of the people that changed, all of the Airmen that came in and all of the Airmen you trained, operating and working toward becoming NCO’s or maybe even an MTI and it’s really humbling.”