Thanks for everyone’s patience when it comes to posts on the blog lately. The first few weeks of school are always the roughest, and I’m completely bogged down with meetings lately. Add a new home purchase [more on that later], renovations to oversee, and a husband out of state and you have a very busy me!
This summer I finished up my Seasoning Training, which is something exclusive to Air Force Reservists. I would assume that the Air National Guard has something similar, although they may not call it by the same name. I’ve also heard other Reservists refer to this training as a “Prog Tour,” which I’m assuming is short for “progression.” The intent of seasoning training is to help Airmen upgrade to their 5-skill level by giving them on the job training in their AFSC. When you graduate technical training, you’ll be a 3-skill level in your AFSC, the Apprentice Level. The 5-skill level is the Journeyman level and is required before you become an NCO.
Seasoning training was established to allow Reservists the uninterrupted training time they need to make progress in their career field and in their training. The USAFR recognizes that when you come back from tech school you need to apply your newly acquired skills and learn the day-to-day operating procedures of your squadron. This is difficult to accomplish exclusively during UTA (drill) weekends, hence seasoning training.
Upon returning from technical training, you’ll have a year to complete seasoning training. The funding for seasoning is separate from your Wing’s budget, so don’t be discouraged if you hear about budget woes when you get back to your duty station.
Your Education and Training office will provide you with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about seasoning training and discuss the duration of your training. Each AFSC has a specific length of time that they’re given for seasoning training. As a Personnelist, I was given ninety days. If you are curious about the length of your training, contact your Education and Training office directly. Other AFSCs can have training that is significantly longer. I believe my husband’s is in the neighborhood of 160+ days.
Depending on your Wing’s policies, you may be able to delay the start of your seasoning training and specify a start date for your training. I opted to wait until my summer vacation from school to do my seasoning training. While I was given ninety days of training, I was not able to take the full amount (due to the school year), and I only did sixty-seven. This was permissible in my Wing. I would’ve liked to have taken the full ninety days, but you may not always have the option (or the ability) to split up your training.
Seasoning training is not required, although it is definitely to your benefit. If you don’t have a civilian job to return to after tech, I’d highly recommend that you start seasoning training right away. While you’re on seasoning training you’ll receive active duty pay and benefits, including BAH, BAS, and health care. [Note that because you receive BAS, you won’t be eligible to eat in the DFAC for free. I had to pay each time I ate there.] If you don’t live in the commuting area, they’ll put you in lodging.
Seasoning training will also help you progress and earn your 5-level faster than those who opt not to do the training, which is the greatest benefit. In order to complete upgrade training, you have a beefy checklist of items that need to be mastered and signed off by your supervisor. This is most easily done during seasoning training. You’ll also get to know those in your squadron and do invaluable networking.
Regardless of how quickly you finish your training and get your checklist signed off, you may have to wait for “Time in Training.” For my Wing and AFSC, this is a year. While I was able to finish my checklist and training back in early August, I won’t officially be a 5-level Personnelist until 14 September, which is a year after my return from tech school.
Hope this information helps you Reservists out there, and further explains how you’ll learn your job once in the operational Air Force!