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Guardians shaping the future of the force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kirsten Brandes
  • Space Training and Readiness Command

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- When they arrive at basic training, the newest members of the Space Force will see one of their own wearing the distinctive headgear of a military training instructor.

Tech. Sgt. Michelle Holt is the first member of the U.S. Space Force to complete the military training instructor course here. While other MTIs have transferred into the U.S. Space Force, Holt is the first Guardian to be selected for, and graduate from, the rigorous 35-day program from start to finish. Upon completion, her classmates unanimously voted for her to receive the class’ highest honor.

“Sergeant Holt is a stoic professional,” said Master Sgt. Jarmeea Otten, commandant of the Military Training Instructor Schoolhouse. “Her peers chose her to receive the Commandant’s Award because she earned their respect with her selfless actions, commitment to the success of the group, display of professionalism, and consistent positive attitude.”

Holt, a St. Louis native, spent her first eight years in the Air Force as a Space Systems Operator before transferring into the USSF in September 2020.

“I wouldn’t say I felt pressure, but I did feel a lot of pride being given this opportunity,” Holt said. “I wanted to be an MTI because I knew it would challenge me.”

Holt will be one of the few Guardians responsible for leading flights of both Air Force and Space Force trainees through Basic Military Training. Master Sgt. Phillip Lowery, Space Force’s BMT liaison officer, says that having one of their own in charge of their training has a great impact on new Guardians.

“Identity is powerful. When you’re an MTI wearing blue name tapes, the new Guardians will hang on every little word you say, because there is so much that’s unknown to them about their new branch,” Lowery said. “And, they’ll be looking to you to guide them.”

Prior to being selected as an MTI, Holt gained experience mentoring new Airmen and Guardians as the Flight Chief for Student Administration at the 460th Operations Support Squadron at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado.

“Before, my job was to guide Guardians and Airmen after they finished technical training, but being an MTI will give me the opportunity to help them develop at the very beginning of their career. I will have the chance to really instill pride and excellence in them, and be one of the first noncommissioned officers to make an impression on the,” she said.

Holt will be assigned to the 433rd Training Squadron for an additional 60 days of on-the-job training before she begins leading flights at Basic Military Training here.