Yankee Flight Members Prepare for Basic
By Capt. Bryon M. Turner, 103rd Airlift Wing
/ Published January 04, 2009
BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- Basic Military Training is a right of passage for all enlisted members of the Connecticut Air National Guard. Members of the 103rd Airlift Wing's Yankee Flight (former known as Student Flight) benefit from the training they accomplish here before venturing off to Basic Training.
"Basic can be a real culture shock for new recruits," said Master Sgt. Michael Fennessy, Yankee Flight NCOIC. "Our primary mission is to ease the new Airmen into the Air National Guard and guide them through a smooth transition into a whole new world with its own unique customs, language and social norms."
"As people come back [from Basic Training], they have given us more information and told us what has worked and helped them," Fennessy said. "We have had some 'Honor Grads' come back and give us a lot of positive feedback relative to the training they have received here with the Yankee Flight.
In years past, new recruits would get their first taste of military life when they arrived at Basic Training and encountered their Military Training Instructors. Times certainly have changed, and for the better.
"I think it's a great opportunity. We make awesome progress, learning before we go down to Lackland Air Force Base. We're not blindsided when we get off the bus," said Jessica Derosiers, flight leader with the Yankee Flight, who joined the Connecticut Air National Guard because she "...always wanted to be in the military."
Building a sense of camaraderie with fellow members of the unit is an added bonus for Yankee Flight members, according to Fennessy.
"It's a great way to prepare for Basic, and we're meeting new people, some of which we'll actually go to basic with," said Stacia Sandone, a Yankee Flight member who joined the Connecticut air National Guard "...for a new experience, and to take advantage of the great benefits that accompany the job."
Yankee Flight members attend Unit Training Assemblies and learn the ropes from experienced troops from all ranks and areas around base. Members become well versed in customs and courtesies as well as some of the finer points of our military culture well before attending Basic Military Training.