Choosing Your OTS Leadership Positions
When I was at OTS with the 24 TRS we had to pick two types of leadership positions. The first type was our graded leadership positions which were either boarded or non-boarded. I did a separate post about the boarded positions here and have included information about the non-boarded positions below. The other type of job was the flight-level job. This job was not graded per se by curriculum requirements, but your Flt/CC grades you and it ties into your mid-term or end of course rating.
You should be deliberate about which leadership positions you pick. The challenge will be finding a job which challenges you and helps you grow as a leader, but doesn’t over-task you. You will want to consider that some positions aren’t available until the second round of boards (AEF-related positions), and define the difference between jobs which are meaningful to you vs. jobs which will just keep you busy. This was really tough for me while I was there because we had to pick our jobs immediately but we didn’t have a lot of information or perspective about what they meant. This is why I am writing this post, and here is my advice on my recommended strategy.
I believe your graded leadership position should be something you will enjoy doing, something that will challenge you, and something that you know you can do well. I have a Type-A personality so I chose to pursue a prominent position. I have a passion for leading and working with people, so my position gave me an opportunity to do something I loved. Although it kept me busy (perhaps too busy), the lessons I learned in my graded position are lessons which have deeply impacted my life and my future career. It gave me a taste of my true calling in the Air Force, and that is priceless to me. That was my approach, but other approaches my classmates used were choosing jobs which related to their future career, or jobs which allowed them to do something that they were really interested in (such as coordinating the dining out). My main advice for this is to not skimp out on yourself, but challenge yourself.
As for the flight-level jobs, I recommend you choose something you can do quickly and efficiently. Flight-level jobs are the jobs which you will do to make the lives of your flight-mates easier. An example of this is if you have been a squadron safety rep for the past six years, safety rep would be a great choice for you. If you were an exec of commander’s secretary and are well versed in the Tongue and Quill, the forms leader would be great. If you are good at marching or memorized the D&C, drill leader would be a good choice. In short, look at your graded position as how you can better yourself, but your flight position as how you can help out your flight. The positions range from the ones I mentioned above to intelligence, morale, or security.
Graded Non-Boarded Leadership Positions
While it is obvious that boarded positions such as the Cadet Wing Commander or Tiger-1 are graded, there are a slew of non-boarded positions which are also graded. I believe the graded leadership position requirement was new to the TFIT/TFOT course layout. From what I understand from the past, everyone did their time as a lower class, then they did their time as the upper class. The upper class fulfilled their leadership requirement by leading the lower class. When I was at OTS under the new course layout, EVERYONE had to have a graded leadership position at some point during the course. Here is a rough list of the non-boarded but graded leadership positions for my class. This list is from memory so it is not all-inclusive, and I am sure it changes from class to class.
CQ – There were several positions under CQ that were considered graded. CQ is the office which is responsible for reporting accountability. Every morning and evening cadet leadership takes 100% accountability of everyone in the dorms. These numbers are sent to the staff (and OTS leadership) to ensure the senior OTS leadership knows what is going on. Some examples would be if someone had to leave to go to the ER, or took emergency leave to go home. The most important thing about CQ is to demand cadet leadership provides you with good info about accountability. For example instead of the leadership saying “everyone is accounted for”, demand they tell you “my squadron has 100 personnel accounted for.” Then once you get the numbers ensure they add up correctly and line up with what was reported the previous day. This is extremely important because if CQ reports everyone is present and there are no issues but someone took out the trash and was crushed by the trash can, CQ could be the quickest way of identifying the issue. The different positions ranged from scheduling, training, emergency procedures, and overall person in charge (chief).
Comptroller – This is the person in charge of reporting finance issues to the staff. If someone isn’t getting paid and it is causing their family at home to not be able to eat, the staff needs to know about it so they can ensure the support OTS staff is taking care of and addressing the issue.
Historian – The Wing-Level historian is responsible for compiling all of the pictures and videos for the class. Ideally all of these should be archived so the final historian can make sure a quality class video is produced. There are also squadron-level historians who did the squadron videos, but when I was there the squadron-level wasn’t graded.
Chief of Standardization (Wing Stand-O) – This person is ultimately responsible for standardization of the entire wing. There are also squadron Stand-O’s but again they weren’t graded when I was there. This person will deal primarily with the MTIs and will probably spend most of their time addressing dorm discrepancy issues. However, if the entire class is together and all the CamelBaks look different, I’m sure this person will be called out. I believe this person had to produce a letter of all things which were standardized and give it to the staff. I think there was also a graded assistant position.
Chief of Public Affairs – This person is in charge of arranging the community service projects or volunteer type opportunities for the class. It will take coordination and working with outside agencies to ensure everything is set up correctly.
Dining Out OIC – This is the person responsible for setting up the Dining Out. This job was unique because it was the same person for the entire class, to ensure continuity. It is also different because while other positions require a lot of work up front then things go smooth, this position will require a little bit of work up front then it will get crazy prior to the Dining Out. The Dining Out is also during grad week, so you may want to consider how busy you want to be when you are prepping for your family to be in town.
Fitness Officer – This person is in charge of PT at the Wing Level. I think the squadron level fitness leader positions were also graded. This person is given the exercise layout so it is just a matter of executing and sounding off during the PT sessions.
FDO – The FDO is the cadet in charge of the flight. If the Flt/CC needs something, he or she will go to the FDO. This is a great position if you love leading people but want to keep things on the small scale (leading 14 people vs. 200).
There are other positions such as executive officers, supply officers, education officers, deputy’s, Squadron 2’s, which were all graded but fairly self explanatory. I will mention many of the assistant or second in command positions are easier because most of the work goes to the top and the top doesn’t always have time to delegate it out. It just depends on what you are looking for from OTS.