TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- The 507th Air Refueling Wing here held a commissioning board for non-extended active duty Airmen Jan. 12, 2020.
Ten airmen applied for the five wing vacancies for non-rated line officer positions in the Maintenance, Force Support and Civil Engineer Squadrons.
The Non-EAD airman commissioning program is a path for enlisted U.S. citizens of high moral character and personal qualifications possessing a bachelor’s or higher degree to earn a commission in the USAF Reserve to fill vacant non-rated line positions. Other eligibility requirements include: U.S. citizenship, medical qualified or medically acceptable with waiver, and be under the age of 40 prior to graduating Total Force Officer Training, formerly known as Officer Training School.
The Non-EAD ACP is a “green light” from your wing leadership to apply to TFOT, and ultimately fill the wing’s vacant position, according to the Non-EAD ACP Process Guide dated 24 Sep 2019. Once accepted as a candidate, airmen have one year from the date of notification to complete all requirements for and obtain a date for Total Force Officer Training. After that time, members must re-apply for the program.
According to Tech. Sgt. Patricia White, NCOIC, Force Management, 507th Force Support Squadron, if members are interested in commissioning, it is in their best interest to start planning now.
“Members should review their records, prepare for and take the AFOQT and speak to leadership now about letters of reference as we do not have another board tentatively scheduled at this time,” White said.
To meet with the board, eligible members must do four things: Gain unit commander approval, take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, complete an application package, and finally, interview with the Non-EAD ACP Board at a scheduled time.
According to board member and 507th Mission Support Group Deputy commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Sorrels, the candidate’s ability to write and communicate nonverbally in their letter of intent is just as important as the board interview.
“The letter of intent is a one-page letter written by the candidate describing their military service,” said Sorrels. “I looked not only at their reason for applying but also for punctuation and grammatical errors.”
Sorrels said the interview portion is a time to look for the candidate’s ability to demonstrate their skills in leadership and critical thinking, as well as how they handle working through being nervous.
“We ask candidates questions that force them to think on their feet to demonstrate how they handle pressure,” Sorrels said. “It was less about what the answer was and more about the logic of how they came to that conclusion. It was very impressive to see the amount of talent we have within the wing.”
Three of the ten applicants offered their advice to airmen who are interested in pursuing this program.
Master Sgt. Jerad Fritze, 35th Combat Communications 1st Sgt., said he has met various other boards before and prepares himself by using sample questions to build a script of his answers, and of course to make sure his uniform is ready.
“Take every opportunity you can to enhance your career,” said Fritze. “It’s better to try and not succeed than to not try at all.”
Tech. Sgt. Audreann Wallace, 507th Force Support Squadron NCOIC of Customer Support, said this was her first time to meet a board. Wallace said she prepared for a year and a half, including six months of studying for the AFOQT and two weeks of preparing for the board interview.
“Be yourself during the interview,” Wallace said. “The board doesn’t want to hear an Air Force answer; they want to hear your truthful answer to see if you are the right candidate for the job.”
Senior Airman JD Falkner, 507th Maintenance Squadron crew chief, said that he is willing to fill any of the officer vacancies that would be most beneficial to the wing and offered some advice for future applicants.
“Relax,” Falkner said. “You’re making a bigger deal out of it than it is. If you prepared for it and put the time in, it’s not that bad.”
Applicants are not limited to applying for vacancies in their current unit, they can look at job vacancies across the command. Understand that each wing may have its own requirements for their program and it is the member’s responsibility to contact the wing and obtain the requirements for their commissioning process.
If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please visit the Career Development Section of the 507th FSS Sharepoint or email 507.FSS.Workflow@us.af.mil or call 405-239-4047.