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The Military Training Instructor Association has a champion pedigree. It was a collaboration of like minded patriotic Americans that shared a common experience: That of being a USAF MTI.

There has never been a place where instructors, past, present or future, could come together and communicate as a group. Many reunions and events have taken place in the past, but to offer a single location that was accessible to all instructors at any time was the concept of MSgt (Ret) Lee Messina III.

On 15 September 1999, MSgt Messina created a Yahoo Group on the Internet, for MTI's:

This group quickly grew as the word spread that you could communicate with other instructors, friends and coworkers from days gone by. In addition, Sergeant Messina created a complete, detailed and informative instructor web site called 'The Drill Pad'.

After Sergeant Messina created the Yahoo Club, he talked up the idea of an instructor's association. As members of the Yahoo club came up with some ideas on how to proceed with creating a new association, the members even started a 'logo' competition among themselves.

Examples of logos submitted by MTI Club members

In early 2002, CMSgt (Ret) John J. Pavey, Jr., decided it was time to make good on the association idea and began some basic research into creating a national organization that would transcend all barriers and provide an organization that all MTI's, past, present, and future could join.

After consulting with CMSgt Billy G. Blackburn, the BMT Superintendent, and securing the support and enthusiasm of the 737th Training Group, the foundation was laid upon which to build the rest of the organization. Chief Pavey recruited the help of several other club members: CMSgt Anthony Grandberry, SMSgt (Ret) Jerry Dobey, MSgt (Ret) Ken Burnham, TSgt Mark Carroll, and SSgt (Vet) Tim Johnson, asking them to assist in a variety of ways. Each brought their own unique talents and have contributed mightily in bringing this association about.

Chief Pavey began investigating the legal aspects, while Sergeant Burnham and Sergeant Johnson contacted other associations. On 29 May 2002, Sergeant Johnson secured the web address:, while Sergeant Burnham finalized the bylaws. While this was going on, Chief Grandberry and Sergeant Carroll were busy coordinating with the elements at Lackland. Sergeant Dobey in the meantime was providing invaluable insight into financial planning.

The MTIA's Founding Board of Directors

On 3 June 2002, Chief Pavey announced to the Yahoo Club that the MTIA had been legally incorporated in the great state of Texas. After much debate and consideration, it was decided that the official logo needed to be easily recognizable to any instructor, even at a distance and that left only one option: The most recognizable icon of Basic Military Training, the MTI Monument.

In it's first official act as an association, the logos shown above, were put to a vote and the logo on the right won out by a two to one margin.

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