One thing I didn’t really talk about is the wing boards. According to the syllabus when I went through everyone was required to fulfill a graded leadership position. The leadership positions you could perform ranged from cadet leadership positions to the MARE (EMLEX) or AEF. In general, you are given a job and you are graded with your ability to execute that job. The job had a specific “staff adviser” which acted as your supervisor as you carried out the duties of the job. This is also the person who gave you your pass/fail grade.
Since Week 0 and Week 1 were so chaotic my class in the 24 TRS established temporary cadet wing leadership positions when they identified a suitable cadet. The initial positions were as follows. Keep in mind all positions were essentially band-aid fixes until the positions could be properly boarded during the first round of wing boards. Our wing boards were toward the beginning of Week 2.
- OG/CC – In charge of making sure cadets were always where they needed to be. Basically wherever the schedule said we had to be, this person ensured we were there.
- MSG/CC – Responsible for ensuring we had the right equipment for wherever we had to be. Also oversaw DFAC operations.
- HAWK/Hoya/Tiger/Spartan-1 – Operationally they made sure the cadets in their student squadron were where they needed to be IAW the schedule. Administratively they took care of all paperwork and other required issues which came up until all flights were established and the Flight/CC took over.
- Stand-O – They were in charge of standardization and ensuring all cadets were clear on dorm inspection requirements.
The wing boards were the formal process for selecting the above and several other graded leadership positions. The list of graded leadership positions is provided in a regulation you are given upon arrival at OTS. In general each Flight/CC nominated one person to be boarded and for us 16 people competed in the boards for 12 positions. The actual board was a formal military board in which you entered a room and answered whatever questions the board wanted to ask you. We were boarded in two groups (first 8 or 10 cadets then second 8 or 10 cadets.) You were graded on how well you adhered to board protocol, your compliance with regulations, and your answers. We had two rounds of boards but I heard Det 12 re-boarded the positions every week.
It is up to you to decide what type of graded leadership you want to tackle. My personal advice is to pick something that will challenge you and help you become a better leader, but not something you are completely unprepared for. You also want to complete your graded leadership position sooner rather than later. In general I recommend everyone go for one of the boarded cadet wing leadership positions during the first round if they appeal to you. If they do not, the cadet wing leadership is required to fill non-boarded but graded cadet leadership positions. Go for one of these positions because they are more diverse and provide more options.
The two other types of positions are Emergency Management Leadership Exercise (EMLEX) and AEF which is 3-4 day “deployment” exercise. Our EMLEX was a Major Accident Response Exercise or MARE. They tried to have the Guard personnel fulfill these positions because the Guard often actually responds to these situations. Basically they established an Emergency Management organizational chart in advance and on game day the cadet wing responded to the emergency. The people in the graded leadership positions were graded and everyone else played the part. The last one is AEF which was the same basic idea. The top AEF positions were boarded but everyone else was appointed prior to deployment. Once we deployed the leaders were graded and everyone else played their part.
The main thing you don’t want to happen is to reach the end of the course and know you still need a graded leadership position. Many of our cadets didn’t finish their position until AEF week which was close to the end of the course. If they had failed something already it put a ton of pressure on them to pass. While other cadets were chilling because they met graduation requirements already, they were stressing out about passing their position.
I wouldn’t worry too much about passing or failing your graded leadership position. If you give it your best effort and use the tools at your disposal, you will probably pass. If you are struggling listen to the feedback from your instructor or peers, work harder, and power through it. There were a few people who failed their position but they were all given the opportunity to try again with another position.