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21
May

Getting Ready for OTS

A long time ago someone took a lot of my posts and combined them into an all-encompassing prep document.  It also includes things like the general schedule, tips, or other resources.

I have the word document but it is 20 mb so I chose not to link it, but if anyone ever wants to update this hit me up and I’ll send you the download link.

Again, there may be some overlap between this and many of my blog posts, but this document is more portable.

Click Here to download the file.

21
May

TFOT Updates

The purpose of this post is to consolidate updates to the Total Force Officer Training (TFOT) course.  I am trying to keep the first section as a summary to consolidate what we know, and the second section for the actual first-hand accounts.  Either way, we will know a lot more once the classes start in June.

Summary:

  • Classes 17-05 and 17-06 (April to June 2017) are the last classes under the old format.  The old format started with Total Force Indoctrination Training (TFIT) and ended with TFOT.
  • TFIT was 5 Training Days (TD), TFOT was 42 TDs for a grand total of 47 TDs (9.5 weeks).
  • The new course will be implemented for 17-07 and 17-08 (June – August 2017) and later.
  • The new course is dropping TFIT but will keep TFOT.  TFOT will still be 42 TDs (closer to 8.5 weeks).
  • What cadets learned during TFIT is not being removed, it is being incorporated into the TFOT curriculum.
  • The ropes course has been removed.

Click Here for the specific FY2017 TFOT class schedule dates.  Click Here to see my page with all of the schedules.

First-Hand Accounts

Det 12, Class 17-05:

As per the MTI’s, they’re getting rid of splitting up TFIT/TFOT.  They’re not getting rid of the skills you learn at TFIT (marching), but it will no longer be two separate programs.  The material taught at TFIT will likely be shortened by a few days.

They’re making the program as a whole 1-2 weeks shorter.  They are cutting out a lot of the downtime and making some of the lessons computer-based.  From what I understand, Cadets will likely be assigned a few of those tests before they arrive at OTS.  The MTI’s have said they may also put together a how-to marching guide/video for Cadets to look at before they get here.  The ropes course will be removed, as it was too expensive to maintain.

We phased up incredibly quickly here, and that seems to be to our cadets correcting one another.  Key areas of interest are giving greetings of the day, saluting, moving with a sense of urgency, keeping bearing, standardization, and generally looking out for one another.

20
May

Civilian Select Example – 17OT01

This person was selected during the 17OT01 board for a Non-Rated slot.  This is his entire application with the exception of his personal statement, which he asked me to remove.  All PII has been removed and I have posted this with his permission.


Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_01Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_02Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_03Scanned DocumentNon-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_05Scanned DocumentNon-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_07Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_08Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_09Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_10Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_11Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_12Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_13Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_14Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_15Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_16Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_17Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_18Non-Rated-APP-redacted_Page_19

20
May

Shift Work Summary (Security Forces, Comm, Space)

I have received several questions about the Security Forces career field (31P).  This particular response was an email I sent to someone who was prior Army, and he asked me for general information as well as how I thought AF Security Forces related to the Army.  Here was my response.

Hands down, the quality of life in the AF vs. Army will be light-years better IMO.  A lot of it will depend on your career field because there are a lot of career fields such as Finance, Contracting, Personnel, Services, etc. which will pretty much always work Monday through Friday, 0730 – 1630.  Officers may put in a little more work hours in these career fields but a lot of that is under your control.  For example, if you really want to get a something done or you suck at drawing the line or with time management, some officers may stay until 1730 or 1800 (or later).  IMO, this is completely avoidable in most cases.

There are other career fields where you may be prone to shift work for the first few years, but as an officer you will typically advance to the support staff.  Jobs like maintenance, Security Forces, perhaps Logistics, perhaps Comm, or other ops related (non-rated) positions which support a 24/7 mission will be shift work.  In general the Air Force doesn’t like to work 12 hour shifts but there are often times when it is necessary.  For any given four year tour in space, our shift work guys may be working 12’s for two years and 8’s for the other two.  It really depends on the overall ops tempo, what is going on in the world, and what career field.  My squadron has been working 12’s for the past 8 months but after that we are switching to 8’s.  Like I said it is case-by-case.

In general the rated career fields such as pilots, navigators, ABMs, etc. are going to deploy the most and have the highest ops tempo.  I’m not really sure how much these officers deploy though as far as length.  I think it is closer to 4-6 months with a lot of time in between vs. 6 months on/6 months off.  This would be a good question for the Facebook group.

I have been to four AF bases and at every base I have worked shifts for about one year then switched to some sort of M-F job.  I am probably luckier than most though, but you have to remember I was there as an enlisted Airman, not an officer.  At my first base I was on flight for about two years.  I was Security Forces so we as a squadron worked 24/7.  My schedule was three days on where we traveled out to the missile field, and we worked 12 hours shifts.  This wasn’t bad because there was no extra BS before or after the shift.  When you shift started you were wearing your uniform and you were the one that responded to alarms, but your shift was basically always over at 12 hours.  On the third or fourth day we traveled back to base and we were off for 3-4 days, then we did it all over again.  Sometimes while we were back on base we worked from 0800-1400 for training on one day but that wasn’t bad.  After my first two years doing this,  I was hired for a M-F and got all of the federal holidays and a few MAJCOM down days off as well.  Christmas/Thanksgiving, Memorial, Independence were all four day weekends along with a few others, and the other holidays were three day weekends.  My duty hours there were 0730-1630, later on same days, earlier on others.  During this period we did not deploy at all at our squadron.

At my next base I was on shift work for another two years and our schedule sucked.  I was still Security Forces and our routine schedule was six days on, three days off, eight hour shifts.  We had to arm up and de-arm before/after shift so the 8 hour days were more like 10 hour days.  What made it bad though was whenever we had an “op” going on we switched to 12’s (really 14) and many people lost their days off.  This was probably the worst schedule of my career.  After those first two years I was hired for another M-F 0730-1630 job like above, but sometimes we had to support the ops so we worked the 12’s during that week.  We rarely lost our weekends though so that made it better, but it was still a lot of hours.  At this base about half of the people did one short deployment in the 2-4 year tour (the length of tour overseas there depended on rank).

I retrained to comm after that so I spent about six months training to be in the new career field.  After training I went to another job which worked 24/7 but we did eight hour shifts.  Comm was different in that our eight hour shifts were actually eight hours, so it was awesome.  We worked two day shifts, two swing shifts, two mid shifts, and four days off then it rotated back again.  It sounds crazy but this was my favorite schedule of my career.  I did that for another 18 months or so then I was hired for another M-F job (this was a trend for me).

Now that I am a space officer we are working 12 hour shifts in my squadron, but it isn’t too bad.  We work three days on, three days off, 6-6.  Our shifts are basically done after the 12 hours so it is not bad at all.  My typical day was to get up at 0430-0500, be at work for shift change at 0530, and work all the way until 1730.  While on shift I work in an air conditioned building and the only downside is that I can’t have my phone.  I use computers to communicate with satellites, downloading data and making sure they aren’t broken.  During my shift if I have nothing going on there are two of us, I am free to go to gym or get lunch as long as nothing is going on.  I have random tasks I have to do but I have down time where I can surf the web, work on admin stuff, or just BS.  At 1730 they arrive for shift change and I am usually walking out at 1745.  I usually get home around 1830 or so because I have a 30 minute commute.  I do this for three days, then my three days off are typically untouched.

At my squadron we have other positions and officers, and some of them work a little more just because they like to, but most of the M-F officers still work from 0730-1630.  Some of the alternative positions are 4 on three off around 0600-1530, it just depends.

I have had a lucky career so my story isn’t the best but also not the worst, so take that for what it is.  We usually don’t have any trouble taking leave when we want and generally the work in the isn’t bad at all, especially if you aren’t on the flightline.


30
Apr

FY2018 TFOT Schedule

Here is the official TFOT class schedule.  It was posted on the Air Force Portal on May 11, 2017.

NOTE:  These are the TFOT class dates, NOT the TFOT board dates.

TFOT
Class# Start Date Grad Date Training Days
18-01 12-Sep-17 9-Nov-17 42
18-02 19-Sep-17 17-Nov-17 42
18-03 9-Jan-18 9-Mar-18 42
18-04 17-Jan-18 16-Mar-18 42
18-05 28-Mar-18 24-May-18 42
18-06 10-Apr-18 8-Jun-18 42
18-07 19-Jun-18 17-Aug-18 42
18-08 26-Jun-18 24-Aug-18 42

I counted out the business days for each start/grad date and they varied from 42 to 44.  Once I accounted for federal holidays and typical MAJCOM four-day weekends (e.g., Independence Day, Memorial Day, etc.) the number of Training Days (TD’s) was 42 for each class.  This is also roughly 8 1/2 weeks.

Source Image From Facebook:
FY18 TFOT Class Dates

TFIT Removal Letter:

Alternate source links:

UPDATE:  5/14/2017 added official FY2018 memo.
28
Apr

MyPers – Active Duty Personnel Services Delivery Memorandums (PSDMs)

Active duty TFOT board results are usually posted on the MyPers Personnel Services Delivery Memorandums.  This is also where they post ALL board results to include weapons school, commander slots, IDE/SDE, etc. so you can find some really useful information here.  They usually don’t post the results here until the official public release date.

Civilian results can happen a few days before or after the active duty public release.  For 17OT01 the active duty CC notification for results is 28 April, but the public release is 2 May.  Civilian results go from AFRS to Recruiters to Applicant so it should happen around the same time but it may not be exactly the same time.  A lot of it also depends on the recruiter.

Here is the MyPers link for Active Duty.
20
Apr

Civilian LOR/Personal Statement Example – 17OT02 Pilot Select

Here is another LOR and Personal Statement example submitted for your benefit.  I will call him Thomas Eaton, and he was a 17OT02 civilian pilot select.


 

 

 

 

18
Apr

Going from Non-Select to Select (From a 17OT02 Select)

This is one of my follower’s story in his own words.  He was a civilian select from the 17OT02 board.


Find a Google Drive here with tools and resources mentioned within this document: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0ByhsA4Q1GurkXzRuYXQ4XzAteFE?usp=sharing


BOT Profile – Going from non-select to select

It took 18 months to go from the time I started the process to become an officer to the time I was finally selected.  I applied to three different boards.  For the first I was a non-rated non-select.  For the second my recruiter messed something up and my packet never made it to the rated board.  For my third I was selected as a Civilian RPA Pilot.  Between boards I didn’t retake any of the tests, receive any more awards, or do anything super special.  The only two things that I did different was get six hours of flight time and pour over my BOT profile.  Here is what I learned and did.

First, for a reference, my scores (click for larger image):

I don’t mean to boast, but those are good scores.  But remember, I was not selected my first time.  You’ll hear about the “whole person” concept over and over.  Scores don’t mean everything; they are just a small portion of your whole packet.

I received feedback from many people about my first application.  The thing that was said the most was that I was too wordy, and didn’t say a lot with the words that I used.  There was too much fluff.  You can see that when you compare the “Career Achievements,” “Personal Achievements,” “Personal/Outside Interests,” and “Work Experience” portions of the application.  Remember that the board members are looking at hundreds of applications.  If yours is too wordy, they will just start glossing over it without really reading it.

When I revised my “Career Achievements” and “Personal Achievements” sections I made sure that every line was short and concise, and I packed as much into it as possible.  Luckily I was prior National Guard, so I had a few awards that I could put on there.  I also made sure it looked like I was constantly “achieving” something, no matter how big or small it was. There was not a year that went by where I didn’t have some kind of “Achievement.”

When it came to the “Work Experience” portion, I again was plagued with having too much fluff and not enough substance.  I had heard about the Air Force Tongue and Quill guide, and I decided that I was going to follow the bullet statement part of that perfectly for my work experience.  Bullet statements are like a math formula. It goes:

  • Action verb
  • Accomplishment
  • Connection
  • Impact Element

See Chapter 19 of The Tongue and Quill for full instructions.

Air Force e-Publishing Link:
http://static.e-publishing.af.mil/production/1/saf_cio_a6/publication/afh33-337/afh33-337.pdf

Since the formula for building bullet statements is the same, I made myself an Excel spreadsheet Bullet Builder tool.  You can find that tool in the Google Drive.  This tool built every single one of my bullets for my work experience.  I tried to make sure I had at least two per job.  The Tongue and Quill have a list of action verbs that can be used, so I borrowed directly from there.

Below is an example of before and after I used The Tongue and Quill:

After:
It just feels like the second example just has much more substance to it.


Personal Statement
The last major part of the application is the Personal Statement.  This is probably the most important part to the whole thing.  For my first application, I wrote it like I was writing a school essay; lots of fluff and little direction.  They ask for why you “desire” to become an officer.  I believe that is a trap.  They don’t necessarily care about your desires.  They care about what you are going to bring to the Air Force.
I read lots of personal statements between my applications, because I wanted to be as perfect as possible.  Some people rewrite what is in the achievement and work experience sections, just in an essay form.  I didn’t like this approach very much.  I wanted it to be more like a story with feeling.  If I could move the reader in some way, then I was tying an emotion to my application.  Positive emotion is good when trying to be memorable and get good ratings.  This is what I did:
First, I talked about why the military and why Air Force. There are lots of branches, why did I choose the Air Force.
Second, I wanted to show my leadership potential as early and often as I could in my personal statement.  I used examples of me leading as much as I could, even using the word “leadership” multiple times.
Third, I wanted to show that I embody the Air Force Core Values.  I found a guide called “The Little Blue Book” (find it in the Google Drive) that explained what every single value means to the Air Force.  Without looking too obvious, I hit on how I live each core value, and how they are a part of me.
This may not be a perfect way to write a personal statement, but it worked for me.
Lastly, this may go without saying, but proofread the crap out of the whole application.  Have others do the same.  Have your annoying grammar Nazi friend look at it.  It’ll help.  After all that, I still found a mistake after I had submitted my final application.
Conclusion
You can do this, I know you can.  I did.  Many others have too.  If you were a non-select before, getting selected later is so much sweeter, because you understand the pain of not being selected.  Good luck!
18
Apr

Civilian Applicant Profile/PS Example (17OT02 Pilot Select)

A follower submitted his application for your benefit.  He is a civilian pilot select from the 17OT02 board.

 

 

 

 

 

 
14
Apr

FY17 Officer Selection Boards — UPDATES!!

FY17 Officer Selection Boards — UPDATES!!


 

NEW!! NEW!!

17OT01 Non-Rated Officer Selection Board


– Commander Release will be 28 April 2017 – PSDM 17-30 now posted on the myPers Messaging (SECURE) page: https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/34175  ONLY COMMANDERS HAVE ACCESS TO THIS MYPERS MESSAGING (SECURE) PAGE

– Public Release will be 2 May 2017, 1400Z (0900L) – PSDM 17-30 WILL BE MOVED TO THE PSDM (PUBLIC RELEASE) PAGE ON 2 MAY, AT 0900L.
PLEASE DO NOT CALL AFRS TO INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR STATUS OR ACCESS TO THIS PSDM!!

17OT02 Rated Officer Selection Board

– Released via PSDM 17-25.

17OT03 Active Duty Applicant Officer Selection Board – 15-19 MAY 2017
AD Applications are now in the process of being QC’d.  Incomplete, Duplicate, and/or Late applications will be rejected and NOT meet the 17OT03 AD Board.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL AFRS TO INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR APPLICATION!!

– Applications which are incomplete, duplicate (see NOTE below), or received after the Cut-Off time/date, will be rejected and returned to you and will not meet the 17OT03 Board. Rejected/Returned Applications can be re-submitted to the NEXT Active Duty Officer Selection Board in July 2017 (17OT05).

17OT04 Civilian Applicant Officer Selection Board – DOES NOT APPLY TO ACTIVE DUTY APPLICANTS


17OT05 Active Duty Applicant Officer Selection Board – 17-21 JULY 2017


17OT06 Civilian Applicant Officer Selection Board – DOES NOT APPLY TO ACTIVE DUTY APPLICANTS


17OT07 Active Duty Applicant Officer Selection Board – 18-22 SEPTEMBER 2017

—————————–
NOTE:  Applicants can only have one active application with AFRS at any given time. Each applicant can apply for up to three Boards, if eligible. If non-selected after the third Board, the applicant can reapply again after 12 months has transpired from the release date of the last Board. If applicants wish to meet consecutive active duty boards within a FY, they need to list all board numbers in the Profile Header, (Boards 17OT03/17OT05/17OT07). Applications will automatically rollover to the next consecutive boards within a FY, if applicant is still eligible.
Rollover will not occur into a new FY board schedule, applicants will need to resubmit their Application following the most current Line Officer Accessions Total Force Officer Training (TFOT) Program Guide for Active Duty Airmen.

Officer Selection Boards are subject to be cancelled once our accessions targets are meet.


17OT01 Non-Rated Officer Selection Board
– AFSC matching for almost 700 selects is now underway – please be patient.  Anticipated release is now 28 April 2017.  PLEASE DO NOT CALL AFRS TO INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR STATUS!!
 
17OT01 Non-Rated Officer Selection Board
– AFSC matching for over 1,000 selects is now underway – please be patient.  Anticipated release is now 28 April 2017.

17OT02 Rated Officer Selection Board

– Released via PSDM 17-25.
 
17OT03 Active Duty Officer Selection Board – AD Applications are now in the process of being QC’d.  Incomplete, Duplicate, and/or Late applications will be rejected and NOT meet the 17OT03 AD Board.   PLEASE DO NOT CALL AFRS TO INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR STATUS!!

– Applications which are incomplete, duplicate (see NOTE below), or received after the Cut-Off time/date, will be rejected and returned to you and will not meet the 17OT03 Board. Rejected/Returned Applications can be re-submitted to the NEXT Active Duty Officer Selection Board in July 2017 (17OT05).

17OT04 Civilian Applicant Officer Selection Board – DOES NOT APPLY TO ACTIVE DUTY APPLICANTS

17OT05 Active Duty Applicant Officer Selection Board – 17-21 JULY 2017

17OT06 Civilian Applicant Officer Selection Board – DOES NOT APPLY TO ACTIVE DUTY APPLICANTS

17OT07 Active Duty Applicant Officer Selection Board – 18-22 SEPTEMBER 2017

17OT03 Active Duty Officer Selection Board – Cut-Off for AD Applications is midnight (Central Time) on 17 April 2017.  
– Applications which are incomplete (missing items), will be rejected and returned for correction(s) and will not meet the 17OT03 Board. Rejected/Returned Applications can be re-submitted to the NEXT Active Duty Officer Selection Board in July 2017 (17OT05).

– Applications received after midnight (Central Time) on the Cut-Off date (17 April 2017) will be rejected and will not meet the 17OT03 Board.  Rejected Applications can be re-submitted to the NEXT Active Duty Officer Selection Board in July 2017 (17OT05).
—————————–
NOTE:  Applicants can only have one active application with AFRS at any given time. Each applicant can apply for up to three Boards, if eligible. If non-selected after the third Board, the applicant can reapply again after 12 months has transpired from the release date of the last Board. If applicants wish to meet consecutive active duty boards within a FY, they need to list all board numbers in the Profile Header, (Boards 17OT03/17OT05/17OT07). Applications will automatically rollover to the next consecutive boards within a FY, if applicant is still eligible.Rollover will not occur into a new FY board schedule, applicants will need to resubmit their Application following the most current Line Officer Accessions Total Force Officer Training (TFOT) Program Guide for Active Duty Airmen.

Officer Selection Boards are subject to be cancelled once our accessions targets are meet.