Meet the basic trainees whose lives will never be the same once they meet their Air Force Training Instructor, Technical Sergeant Joe "Tuffy" Tofuri. A hard-nosed T.I. who conveys his years of training and experience by using creative tactics to gain the attention of his trainees
Tuffy’s Heroes is a fictionalized account of Air Force Master Sergeant (retired) Joe “Tuffy” Tofuri’s 14 years as a Training Instructor (TI) for Air Force Basic Trainees during the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. The book begins as a new flight of undisciplined and raw recruits are picked up from the airport, follows them through their six-week transformation into airmen and ends with their successful graduation. Tofuri uses this one fictional training cycle to relate some of the best stories and experiences of his TI career and legends of Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT).
Although the majority of readers will most appreciate the humorous anecdotes, the attention to detail, or just the opportunity to stroll down memory lane, the real strength of this book is how Tofuri shows the depths of commitment and genuine care that TI’s (and Drill Sergeants / Instructors from all the services) have for their charges. And although the methods that TI’s now use are different from those in the 70’s and 80’s, the difficulties, the administrative hassles, the sacrifices, the pressures, the mission, and the craft of turning civilians into highly-skilled professionals in the world’s best military (in a short amount of time) hasn’t changed one bit.
Tofuri retains his role as Master Instructor, so far from simply regaling us with funny stories about basic training, Tofuri crafts his anecdotes and their lessons with as much forethought as he did when he directed his trainees to dig graves, construct tiny crosses, and play Tapsfor the cigarette butts they carelessly threw on the ground. Even the first 20 pages of the book seem designed to be a shock in much the same way Tuffy’s recruits are thrust into their new reality when entering BMT. Expect tough language and some eyebrow-raising situations; but, like the trainees, expect to be changed by the experience and emerge better for having been the recipient of a TI’s “tender loving care.”
This book is recommended for all military personnel and their spouses, those interested in the military, trainers and first-line supervisors in any profession, and mothers everywhere worried about sending their children to basic training.