Long overdue post on what I’ve been up to with my military career! If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know I’ve kicked around the idea of commissioning and I’m finally throwing my hat into the ring. The program I’m about to describe is Reserve specific – if you’re Guard or Active Duty, please speak with a member of your leadership or Military Personnel Section (MPS) to determine the pathways available to commissioning that are applicable to you. The Deserving Airman Commissioning Program recognizes enlisted Airmen that show potential for leadership opportunities through commissioning. When applying for DACP, it is expected that you have already earned your bachelor’s degree. You also must take your commissioning oath before your 35th birthday. If you aspire to be a pilot or a navigator, you must commission by your 30th birthday.
Here’s a general timeline of how the process occurs, to the best of my understanding at this time:
Submit package for DACP [more on this in a bit].
Meet the DACP board.
Upon approval of DACP board, the package is sent to the Numbered Air Force (NAF) and then to the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) for subsequent approvals.
Member completes statements of understanding if all approvals have been gathered.
Given an available slot in your unit, leave for Officer Training School. I am unsure of whether you attend the officer’s version of technical training immediately following OTS.
Return to your unit as a Second Lieutenant and begin training/working in your new squadron!
The DACP board at your unit determines if you are commissionable, but the NAF/AFRC determine your ultimate fate. In my particular Wing, you can apply once a year if you do not successfully make it through the process one year.
The package for my Wing consisted of the following items:
AF IMT 24 – Application for Appointment as Reserve of the Air Force or USAF without Component
The last five EPRs (Enlisted Performance Reports), if applicable. [In my case, as a SrA, I haven’t had any yet.]
Cover Letter, “Why I Want To Be An Officer.”
AF IMT 56 – Application & Evaluation for Training Leading to a Commission in the United States Air Force
Losing Commander’s Letter of Recommendation
Official Transcripts – sent directly to your MPS from your college/university.
Records Review Listing – you’ll request this from your MPS. [They kept mine on file and included it in my package.]
Official scores for your Air Force Officer Qualification Test (AFOQT). My Wing requires a Verbal score of at least 15 and a Quantitative score of at least 10.
Fitness standard memo from your Unit Commander – verifying a current passing PT score.
Any applicable waivers. [They actually have “Moral Waivers,” if you have anything unfavorable in your past that might need explanation in order to be considered.]
Overall, the package isn’t too difficult to put together. The Chief of Career Development in my MPS was very helpful in showing me how to fill out the forms, which can be daunting. There were a number of fields that I found out I didn’t need to complete. I was also able to view the package of a colleague, which was much appreciated. I had the most difficulty with the cover letter, of all things. I feel as though I said it best in a tweet at the beginning of this month – I know that I’ll have a fulfilling and successful career regardless of whether I’m an enlisted or a commissioned member of the Air Force. So, why this path? I mulled that one over for quite some time.
All of that being said, I meet the board during my December UTA, bright and early on Saturday morning! I’m feeling much more confident about this board than the last since this is done in an interview format where they’ll be looking at the “whole person.” I feel as though I have a strong package, and I generally do well with interviews. I have to meet the board in service dress, which means I’m breaking out the brand new maternity service dress. I’ve got to shine if people are going to see past the blueberry muu muu. 😉
All in all, I’m beginning the process even though I’m not even able to do PT again until 18 Oct 2013. I can only imagine that my OTS date if chosen, wouldn’t be until after that time. My window of opportunity is limited, as I turn 32 in December, so I can’t wait forever. We’ll see where my Air Force journey takes me next!