Asaxygirl..congrats on your commission! Woot!
I am gonna kinda meander here, speaking from our experience, so it may get a little long...
the assumption is made that enlisted members can't become officers because of personal flaws, lack of education, wrong drgree, etc.
This is a correct for the AF.
Air Force and Navy do things waaay different when it comes to getting a commission. I am reading this and thinking, WOW, that's not like the AF at all.
In the AF you are either enlisted or an officer. There are no in betweens, no way to jump from one to the other built in to the system with "time in service", no jobs which require you to be enlisted first before moving up to be an officer. You are either one or the other, period.
To be AF enlisted, you sign on the dotted line so long as you have a hs diploma (GED's are not taken 99% of the time), no criminal record, pass the physical, and score AF minimum on the ASVAB, etc.
If you want to become an officer after being enlisted, you have to get at least a Bachelor's degree, an impeccable prior service record (meaning perfect ratings
the entire time
you are enlisted), no paperwork ever (LOCs LORs or Article 15s), at least three letters of recommendation from a Col or higher (which includes the current base commander where you are stationed), plenty of community service, pass the AFOQT, and then
to the commissioning board, which turns down roughly 95-98% of prior enlisted applicants who meet all this criteria (there are only so many slots for OTS Lts, covered below).
Except for a five year span in the early 90's (when they were taking about 50% with all the above), the board tried to keep prior enlisted officers at about 2% of the new Lts commissioned a year. It is typically very difficult to be chosen, no matter how great your enlisted career.
The reason there is some angst in the AF is because it is more difficult for a prior enlisted person to become an officer than it is for a kid right out of college. (Which seems like it should be the other way round but what do I know?)
The AF takes first pool out of the AF Academy grads, they fill Lt slots first, all other military schools (no matter how prestigious)are classified as ROTC, they get next dibs on LT slots and then OTS is the third pool.
OTS is primarily for someone with a degree who didn't go to ROTC but decides they want to play, (like the medical fields which are unique all to themselves, but the rank thing still swings the same and they need military training...marching, uniform, rank structure, etc). A very small percentage of OTS cadets are prior enlisted.
So when an officer in the AF says they are prior enlisted, it says a whole lot more about them (meaning you know they at least
met the minimum requirements posted above and were an outstanding enlisted troop when tested) than say someone coming right out of college into the AF after taking the AFOQT.
And an issue between
officers in the AF is...PRIDE, because it is so difficult to get into the AF as an officer. (Not to imply the other services aren't as hard, I don't know.)AF Academy guys
think they went to the most elite AF military college in the country...and they are right. It's hard to get in, tuff curriculum, etc. And since its an AF academy
, well that automatically makes them better than all the other LTs. Right? Riiiight.
Then you get guys who come from other prestigious military schools
, but the AF considers them ROTC
. They get insulted with the title, and want as much or usually more cudos than the AF Acad. guys,,,which ain't happening...its the friggin AIR FORCE. This second group are in fact the same
as the guy who goes to any local college and takes military classes while working at Pizza Hut. They are all equal in the second pool.
That's hard for the new Lts to stomach when they have a lot of pride about their military school being the "best." But face it, military "school" isn't the real deal so the whole thing is retarded imo. (I mean rival schools? We aren't in high school anymore fellas.
Then you have the OTS guys
, specifically I am talking about those who are prior enlisted
. Most of them are way ahead of the game because of their experience, (in OTS they are squadron, wing commanders)because they don't have to learn the ropes and can help the kids right outta college learn everything they need (or try too, ha).
In fact, my husband is a buddy of an old commission board Col. He says they let 2% prior enlisted go to OTS, not because they wanted them to be officers necessarily, but because they are the biggest reason the kids (who never took ROTC and didn't know squat about the military) could make it in 6-8 weeks of training, before literally becoming a leader in the military. That, along with OTS staff which has a significant enlisted body training the cadets, help prepare the total military virgins....
The first two pools, AF Academy guys and the ROTC(other military school) guys are bragging, fluffing feathers, flashing school rings like its a football game on a Friday night.
Part of the third pool (there are ALWAYS exceptions) specifically the prior enlisted, move right past the spatting college mascots, heh, and into the job. They are often seen as "favorites" because many are given slots that are two-three pay grades higher than Lt....not the pay though..pretty smart of the AF to do that though if ya think about it..giving Lt salary for a Cpt or Major's slot.
But there aren't enough prior enlisted to threaten the officers with more rank, so usually the prior enlisted guys do it, but kinda grumble about not getting paid for the work they do....hahahaha...double edged sword.
All this stuff, causes some tension. And some very funny discourse. In general Lts don't get a lot of respect in the AF...not because they are young and inexperienced...but because they are PRIDEFUL.
They want to be in charge. Argue about who is a better leader using the college they attended as reason they should be in charge and looked up too.
Which imho is a good sign they shouldn't be leading anyone.
So commanders and other higher ranking officers take it upon themselves to shoot the pride out of um...and the more prideful they are, the bigger the fall.
When I was enlisted at every single commander's call we had a diff Lt who had to bring coffee up to the commander during our BRIEFING and quote some dead poet, at least three verses..and if they messed up...WHOA, they were reamed in front of everyone. Whatever they took the most pride in, the Academy, their college, their IQ, whatever, it was dogged to the bone.
I remember one of them was in some prestigious military school and commissioned by the President of the United States....
Didn't matter. In fact, I think he was handed his pride for four straight years...he was getting out of the AF same time I was...and he planned on being a General..told us all about it adnauseum.
Can you imagine being insulted like that when you have a "prestigious" military school under your belt/AF Academy and there are airman in the room who are literally 18 years old and right out of high school laughing at you?
Prior enlisted Lts almost always are exempt from this...not because they are prior enlisted and therefore untouchable, but because they are usually smart enough to remember this happening to their Lts, and know the whole pride thing is an issue that is handled in a cut throat kinda way.
So if ya ask me...and ya didn't, the biggest problem with LTs in the AF is not their inexperience, its pride...you can't be a good leader when its all about you.....and if they aren't LUCKY enough to have a commanding officer break their pride, they usually don't make it and end up not being promoted or resigning their commission. Because once they are a 6 year captain, pride usually is a career ender (unless you are in a field the AF really needs and can't kept filled, then you can be a little cocky..which is why so many pilots get away with murder and are considered the "top" of the officer food chain. That's a whole nuther blog.
What really is RICH to me and makes me laugh out loud....
More Lts are commissioned into pilot training
from regular Joe colleges who happen to have an ROTC program than from any other single institution of training...and they are the most looked down on by other LTs in the beginning (they don't usually brag about their Joe Normal local college and many don't have a college ring...heh)...BUT the highest ranking Jobs in the AF...are reserved for PILOTS...so in the end, they get the last laugh, and the best rank.
Cracks me up.
So I know you care NOTHING about all that...heh...sorry I am on information overload and wanted to share.
As far as officer's being good or not...I think that rolls both ways. Enlisted or officer, the rank and the job is only as good as the individual serving. I don't think its appropriate to bash an officer for being an officer anymore than it is to bash an enlisted man for being enlisted.
I have an enlisted gal pal who used to send me email funnies about officers all the time. Her husband is a Chief. So I sent her a funny about a Chief...she got really pissed.
Personally, I don't think she should dish it out if she can't take it.
Everyone likes to believe they are essential to the military, their job is THE job.. But the truth is, while everyone is important, there isn't a single individual in the military upon whose shoulders that service rests. We're all replaceable.
IMO when a Lt realizes that, then he's ready to be an 02.
But then..What do I know?