DACP assists enlisted reservists

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Heather Skinkle
  • 940th Wing Public Affairs
Most enlisted service members are content to work up through the lowest ranks to the senior enlisted tier. A small percentage however, around 20 percent according to the Air Force Personnel Center, choose another path and seek an Air Force commission.

The Deserving Airman Commissioning Program is a wing sponsored program that helps qualified enlisted members transition into a vacant officer position within the wing and sometimes externally.

"The program is a benefit to members," Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Krause, 940th Wing career assistance advisor chief, said. "It prepares them to do well during the interview."

Before reservists can start compiling a commissioning package and interview, their first step should be reviewing the basic eligibility criteria. Reserve Airmen must be at least 18 and under 35 years of age at the time of commissioning, have a bachelor's degree or higher, and be a U.S. citizen.

If a member is eligible, they can then start gathering specific qualifying documents for their commissioning package. The member needs their commander's recommendation along with additional letters of recommendation, a letter of intent, resume, a passing Air Force Officer Qualifying Test score, and their last 5 enlisted performance reports.

At this stage, the wing career advisor assists reservists with any questions they may have and explains the commissioning process.

"We aren't just there to push a member's paperwork through, we're here to counsel people about their options," Krause said.

Sometimes those different career options include considering how job skills in a member's current career field translates into a parallel career.

"Most people get tunnel vision and figure if they are enlisted maintenance, for example, then they should focus on becoming a maintenance officer," Tech. Sgt. Joshua Bates, approved DACP candidate, said. "But Airmen need to think outside of their current career fields and not be afraid to try for a position outside of their comfort zone."

A reservist may not only go into another career field as an officer but they may also take on a more leadership role, which can broaden a reservist's career opportunities, in and out of the military.

"There's potential to be a leader no matter your rank in an organization, but I'm at my 10 year mark and I wanted to challenge myself by leading from the front," Bates said.

The program focuses on vetting enlisted reservists for internal wing positions but the member may seek jobs elsewhere on the Reserve Management Vacancy System on AFPC, Krause said.

"The DACP won't find a job for you," Bates said. "The member needs to be proactive in finding a position and interviewing for it, because once approved by the board, they only have two years to be hired into an officer position."

One of the final steps of the commissioning process is the interview board, which consists of senior enlisted members and field grade officers who question the candidates about their qualifications and why they want to commission.

"The interview is stressful," Bates said. "I answered positively and spoke less about being a capable worker and more about ways I could be an inspiring leader," he said.

Krause says being approved by the board isn't a guarantee for finding an officer position, but more of a stepping stone for reservists to show prospective gaining units that they qualify and have their senior leadership's approval to commission.

"Once the DACP board approved me it was much easier to find a position," Bates said. "It's going into an interview with your wing commander's backing."

Krause said the wing has held four boards since 2012 and has commissioned eight people. Another DACP board is slated for May 2015.

Krause urges members interested in more information on the Deserving Airman Commissioning program to contact him at 530-634-1945. Also service members can review all the eligibility requirements referenced at AFI 36- 2005.