Round the Reserve: New AFSC Merges Certain Gunners, Engineers, Loadmasters|
Posted 9/28/2012 Updated 9/28/2012
from Various Sources
Air Force Reserve Command
9/28/2012 - Citizen Airman/Oct. 2012 -- Approximately 925 enlisted aviators will find themselves with a new Air Force specialty code Oct. 31.
The new career field, 1A9X1 special missions aviation, will merge aerial gunners, flight engineers on vertical lift aircraft, such as the HH-60 Blackhawk and CV-22 Osprey, and loadmasters on AC-130 gunships and other non-standard aircraft used by special operations forces.
"The new career field was created to balance and sustain the career enlisted aviator force and create a larger pool of qualified personnel to perform the duties required to meet the needs of current and future Air Force missions," said Chief Master Sgt. Douglas Massingill, the career field manager for career enlisted aviators.
Master Sgt. Matthew Ardis, career enlisted aviator in-service recruiter, expanded on that point.
He said merging the career field of aerial gunners, which typically overflows with new applicants, and the career field of certain loadmasters and flight engineers, which often suffers from manning shortages, results in the sustainable balance of which Massingill referred.
The merger won't be too drastic for most of the affected Airmen, Ardis said, since many gunner duties already overlap with those of engineers and loadmasters.
"Flight engineers have been working guns since the guns have been on the aircraft," Ardis said.
The learning curve might be slightly steeper for loadmasters, but Ardis said he expects them to catch on quickly because, while they may not typically fire aircraft guns, they still have familiarity with their basic function and operation.
The requirements for Airmen or new recruits interested in joining the special missions aviation career field include the ability to:
* pass a class III flight physical;
* score at least 60 on the mechanical portion or 57 on the general portion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test;
* lift 70 pounds; and
* obtain a secret security clearance. (Air Force News Service)
New Civilian Pay System on the Way
All Air Force civilian employees are slated to be using a new, standardized Air Force pay system by June 2013.
The Automated Time Attendance and Production System will standardize the pay method across the service. The system has already been implemented at Air Force Global Strike Command and Air National Guard bases.
According to Doug Bennett, associate deputy assistant secretary for Air Force financial operations, the system will be implemented service-wide in eight waves during the next year and is meant to save time so personnel can focus on accomplishing the Air Force mission.
"It allows folks to focus on the mission and allows the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff of the Air Force to make informed decisions about where we need to spend our money," Bennett said.
Along with better accountability and efficiency, the system also eliminates paper use. Currently, many Air Force civilians manually report their hours using a paper-based system, Bennett said. ATAAPS will allow a user to enter his or her time and have the supervisor approve it electronically, providing an audit trail while increasing the accuracy of financial statements.
"It's a lot easier to trace timecards when they are centrally located," said Benjamin Yarish, Air Force financial management information technology portfolio manager.
According to an Air Force study, 50 percent of Air Force civilian timecards were not properly approved by supervisors or entered into the Defense Civilian Personnel System in a timely manner. These inaccuracies have resulted in overpayments, underpayments or, in some cases, no payments, according to the study.
"This standardized system will provide transparency and auditability," said John Koski, director of Air Force information systems and technology.
"When your boss spends two hours every other week signing timecards, that's time that person isn't making sure that aircraft are being repaired or ready to fly," Bennett said.
The Air Force is not the first service branch to use the system.
"This system has been around for about 10 years," Yarish said. " Army is already using it. Navy is looking to use it. Therefore, its track record provides confidence to use the system Air Force-wide." (Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo, Air Force Public Affairs Agency)
Reservists May Apply to Attend Academy, Prep School
Air Force Reserve enlisted Airmen who are interested in earning a commission by attending the Air Force Academy or Air Force Academy Preparatory School may apply through the Leaders Encouraging Airmen Development program.
Each year, a total of 170 slots for direct entry to the academy and prep school are split evenly between the active and reserve components. This year, 50 Airmen were offered appointments. Airmen have until Dec. 31 to submit an application for entry next fall.
Applicants must be under age 23 by July 1, 2013, for entry into the academy or under age 22 by the same date for entry into the prep school; single; U.S. citizens (or able to obtain citizenship prior to entry); and have no dependents.
Anyone wanting to apply must submit an Air Force Form 1786. The form, along with a commander's endorsement, must be mailed to HQ USAFA/RRS, 2304 Cadet Drive Suite 2300, USAF Academy, CO 80840-5025.
For information, check out the academy's admissions website at www.academyadmissions.com, the admissions Android/iPhone app or the academy's admissions Facebook page (www.facebook.com/academy/admissions). Also, interested enlisted members may contact Capt. Christopher Goshorn at 719-333-2233 or via email at email@example.com. (Staff reports)
Wingman Toolkit Website Up and Running
The new Air Force Reserve Wingman Toolkit website is up and running. The site has a new look and new tools but the same mission as the old Wingman Project website: to provide Citizen Airmen and their families with everything they need to be resilient wingmen.
"The Wingman Toolkit is your training center for being a more resilient wingman," said Lt. Col. David Ubelhor, chief mental health consultant to the Air Force Reserve Command command surgeon. "The newly designed website features loads of local, category-specific resources centered around the four pillars of comprehensive Airman fitness: physical, mental, social and spiritual."
Also featured on the website is an interactive ACE training guide, where Reservists can learn the suicide-intervention method to ask, care and escort. In addition, there is a Pardo Push section on the site.
"We've chosen the Pardo Push to exemplify what it means to be a good wingman," Ubelhor said. "And we're fortunate to have on our AFR team retired Air Force Col. Bob Pardo. In March of 1967 during a combat mission over the skies north of Hanoi, Vietnam, Colonel Pardo accomplished an amazing feat of heroism to get his wingman to a safer place."
Ubelhor said he is excited about the new Wingman Toolkit website and is eager to see it grow in the future.
"We are always looking for input from Citizen Airmen around the country, and there's a place on the Toolkit for Reservists and their family members to submit articles, recommendations, stories and ideas on being a good wingman."
The colonel said people who want to submit something can simply click on the "Add to the Toolkit" binder in the bottom right corner of the website.
The new website is accessible to all Airmen as well as their friends and families. Check it out today at www.AFRC.WingmanToolkit.org. (Staff reports)
Hotel Tax Exemptions Could Help Save Millions
During a time of increasing Department of Defense budget constraints, the Air Force continuously looks for innovative solutions that save money and positively impact the mission.
Air Education and Training Command's financial management office said Air Force travelers could help save millions of dollars by taking advantage of tax exemptions while using the government traveler's card at hotels in select states.
Those traveling to Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas or Wisconsin and staying in off-base lodging are exempt from paying state sales tax for the hotel room. Visit
https://smartpay.gsa.gov/about-gsa-smartpay/tax-information/state-response-letter for a list of states hyperlinked to more information about the tax exemptions.
Temporary duty budgets are shrinking throughout the Air Force. As a result, the demand for online meeting capabilities, such as Defense Connect Online and video teleconferences, is increasing to save money. However, there are times when using web-based capabilities or video teleconferences are not the best methods for conducting a meeting.
"When that's the case and TDYs are required to fulfill the mission, we can do more to stretch our dollars," said Judy Griffis, a financial specialist with AETC.
For a TDY to San Antonio, there are three taxes that are added on to room rates: 6 percent room state tax, 9 percent room city tax and 1.75 percent county tax. Since the lodging rate for San Antonio is $106 per day, travelers are potentially unnecessarily paying $17.76 in taxes daily for their hotel room. Those kinds of expenditures can add up quickly.
Griffis gave a few tips on how to save money when staying in off-base lodging in the states mentioned above:
* When going to a location that offers the state tax exemption, use it.
* Print out the form from the website or, better yet, embed the form into your orders, just like you embed your receipts into your voucher. This will give you access to the form from anywhere.
* Give the tax-exempt form to the hotel clerk when you check in.
* Last but not least, support a cost-conscious culture. (Staff Sgt. Clinton Atkins, Air Education and Training Command public affairs, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas)
Civil Engineers Help Rebuild Tennessee School
Members of an Alaska Reserve civil engineer squadron traveled to Tennessee in August to help rebuild a school that was destroyed by a tornado in 2011.
The Reservists installed lighting units, rewired the facility to meet code, hung sheet rock and painted the interior of the Riverside Christian Academy's field house in Fayetteville.
This service project was part of Air Force Reserve Command's Innovative Readiness Training program that provides an opportunity for unit members to get hands-on training in their career field.
"As a CE unit with a deployment mission, we don't get many opportunities to actually do our jobs," said Senior Master Sgt. Mary Beth Eassa, operations management superintendent for the 477th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson, Alaska. "Projects like these help us stay proficient in our jobs."
Of the 19 CES Airmen who participated in the project, all were traditional Reservists.
"We appreciate the precious time that employers allow our members to serve our country," said Lt. Col. Michael Forcht, 477th CES commander. "In return, employers gain a more experienced technician, and some deserving organization gets a helping hand and an opportunity to see our professionals at work."
While the IRT projects provide Airmen with a way to hone skills and give back to the community, they also offer an opportunity to improve unit cohesion.
"(These projects allow our Airmen to) work as a team in and out of their career fields and often with personnel from different bases," Forcht said. "Gaining this team experience develops trust among squadron members, leverages experience and training opportunities from other units, and allows noncommissioned officers and officers an opportunity to develop leadership and management skills. These skills then can be utilized to their fullest during our deployments." (Capt. Ashley Conner, 477th Fighter Group public affairs, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson)
Defense Department Implements New Policy for TDY and PCS Cancellations
Effective Oct. 1, any travel authorization that includes air travel must be approved and ticketed at least 72 hours in advance of the scheduled flight departure to prevent airline reservations from being cancelled. This is due to a new policy instituted by the airlines under the fiscal year 2013 General Services Administration City Pair contract.
Under the new policy, if an authorizing official does not approve an authorization within 72 hours of departure, the airline reservation will be cancelled and the traveler will arrive at the airport without a ticket or a reservation in the airline's system. This applies to all city pair and non-contract government flights that are either booked through the Defense Travel System or a commercial travel office.
Those travelers making travel plans within 72 hours of departure must have their authorization approved and tickets issued within 24 hours of creation to avoid cancellation. If making plans within 24 hours of departure, authorizations must be approved and ticketed at least six hours prior to flight departure time to avoid cancellation.
If airline reservations are cancelled, a traveler will be notified via email or phone by their commercial travel office.
Arriving at the airport without a ticket can impact mission and travel funds, and put unnecessary stress on travelers. If this occurs, travelers are not advised to re-book at the airline counter. Often, counter agents are not familiar with GSA's City Pair Program and may book travelers on a full-priced fare at a much higher cost.
To re-book a flight, travelers should follow their normal ticketing process. Travelers should take their travel itinerary with them to the airport. If a reservation has been cancelled, the itinerary will provide contact information for the commercial travel office as well as reservation details to aid in re-booking.
In the current fiscal environment where it is necessary to be conservative with travel budgets, monitoring the status of travel documents and ensuring travel authorizations are approved is the best way to avoid unnecessary costs and stress associated with re-booking travel.
Following are some tips for travelers:
* Monitor the status of your travel authorization. If your trip is approaching and your
authorization has not been approved, contract your authorizing official immediately. If your AO is unavailable, contact your defense travel administrator.
* Ensure your DTS profile is current. Often, travelers forget to update their profile with the government travel charge card expiration date if they received a new card. Without a current card in your profile, a reservation cannot be purchased.
* Take your travel itinerary with you to the airport. If your reservation has been cancelled, the itinerary will provide contact information for your CTO as well as reservation details to help you re-book. (Air Force News Service)