The morning of March 11th was exceptionally beautiful, and it was day that was two and half month in the making. Officer Training School (OTS) at Maxwell AFB in Alabma is not your typical commissioning experience, and I’ll start by saying I’m glad I got to be a part of it.
Most of the Officers in the Air Force Commission through the Air Force Academy or ROTC, and the smallest portion comes from OTS. What is unique is that all three are taught the same curriculum, just with slight variations in the amount of time and how they teach it. The Air Force Academy and the ROTC have more time, among college courses, to infuse the professional military education. While OTS doesn’t have college courses, we have to drink from the firehose.
There is no time to groom or nurture. Officers, more importantly leaders, are produced in a short 67 days. OTS has been around for quite awhile and has produced thousands of Officers, so while 67 days may not seem like enough time, I assure you they utilize every waking moment judiciously.
My favorite part about OTS is undoubtedly is the people. The Air Force has knack for getting some of the sharpest people in the country. With my 7 years prior service, its invigorating and exciting to see the people that I will be serving and leading with. One of the most interesting dynamics that the other commissioning sources don’t see as much is the blend of prior service with non-prior service. Us prior service folks are naturally bias from our enlisted ways, and not that it is in a bad way, but we learned just as much from them as they learned from us.
Our Flight Commanders (Instructors) are also some of the most passionate Officers I have ever met. They know our time there is short; They are quite skilled at giving the crucial feedback to adjust on the fly. Their efforts always seem to be largely overlooked and without fanfare, but I know their guidance will have a lasting impact on my career.
March 11th was a day that seemed so far away. I started going back to school in the summer of 2013, applied for a commission in the Fall of 2014, was accepted in the Spring of 2015, and finally attended OTS in January of 2016. March 11th is a milestone in my pilgrimage toward the pursuit of my wings. This milestone is not taken lightly, because regardless of how my story unfolds, I will always be an Air Force Officer. My job will always be to lead Airmen, regardless if its from a cockpit, a desk…or even a classroom.
Next up is Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training at Sheppard AFB, TX!
Does anyone know how to make good jalapeño popcorn?!
(Featured photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force)