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Military Training Leader of the Year humbled by award

  • Published
  • By Mike Joseph
  • JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs
When a Military Training Leader in the 37th Training Support Squadron decided it was time to make a career path change, he had no idea that he'd leave here as an award winner.

After almost 12 years as an MTL, including duties at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, Keesler AFB, Miss., and the last four at JBSA-Lackland, Master Sgt. Malcolm Summers II takes a 2014 Air Education and Training Command Outstanding Airman of the Year Award and AETC Senior MTL of the Year with him to his new assignment at Beale AFB, Calif., as a civil engineer operations manager.

"I am humbled and I truly still don't believe it," said Summers about being chosen the top MTL. "This was something I dreamed about in my younger years as an MTL. But, as you grow in rank, you learn it's about the team and their success. I give all the credit to my commander (Lt. Col. Charmine Martin, 37th TRSS commander), my teammates in the Airman Transition Assistance Flight, and my family for their love and support.

"It wasn't me who won this ... I see it as a team award," he said. "It's a testament to the amazing things ATAF has done and continues to do and Lt. Col. Martin supporting us with her time, energy and leadership to make a difference in the lives of the Airmen assigned; she's an amazing commander and leader."

Summers said when he found out he'd won at the wing level, it surprised him because "they are a lot of great senior NCOs doing great things" in the 37th Training Wing.

Summers spent the first part of the award year at the Defense Language Institute English Language Center as International Operations Squadron superintendent before moving to the 37th TRSS Airman Transition Assistance Flight as flight chief.

The flight is the 37th TRW's focal point for processing Airmen who are pending discharge from the Air Force during technical training, for reasons ranging from medical reasons to disciplinary issues to course failure.

In both positions, developing cost-cutting programs were among the highlights in Summers' award package. He served as the DLI liaison to the Royal Saudi air force country liaison officers and as an advisor to them on how to implement military training within the F-15 training project.

He taught and developed the initial training course lesson plans for the contractor staff, cutting the F-15 training project training to four days and saving $120,000. After moving to ATAF, Summers transformed and expedited the 37th TRW discharge process for non-prior service students, which saved the Air Force $1.5 million. He also developed his ATAF team implementing its Transition Education Program, helping avoid $456,000 in tuition assistance costs.

"ATAF is unique because we're processing individuals for discharge, but yet still continue to grow them as Airmen and individuals," Summers said. "We do everything we can for those Airmen who are transitioning out of the Air Force to set them up for success after they leave.

"Seven out of 10 Airmen who come through ATAF say they want to go to college. The Transition Education Program focuses on those Airmen taking the College Level Examination Program while they're still here. In six months, we had more than 1,364 college credits earned by Airmen on their way out. That's amazing."

Summers completed his re-training in early June, graduating at the top of his class in technical training school at Sheppard AFB, Texas. In a few days, the 17-year service member and his family will begin the trek to California and a new career.

"To start from scratch in a new career field is scary but exciting," he said. "I'm excited to take all the life lessons, experience and knowledge I've learned as an MTL and put it to the test."