May 3, 2012

More than recruiter’s assistance

Commentary by Airman 1st Class Shane M. Phipps
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho — Within the military, we are expected to put the needs of the service before our own. Often this means spending significant time not only away from loved ones, but the places we call home as well.

The Air Force however, offers a program which enables us to have the best of both worlds. As a second-time participant in the Recruiter’s Assistance Program, I can attest to the fact that you as well as the Air Force are equally benefited.

Many people are under the misconception this program is a one-time opportunity offered to only entry-level Airmen. This is incorrect.

In fact, according to, “The Recruiter Assistance Program is an active-duty leave program run by Air Force Recruiting Service,” and the Air Force grants up to 12 days of non-chargeable leave, including one weekend, in accordance with Air Force Instruction 36-3003. RAP is open to all Airmen interested in participating and having a positive impact on recruiting.

An Airman can participate in RAP once a year as long as their supervisor approves their leave, their commander approves their eligibility and recruiters need assistance.

For me, having the rare opportunity to represent the Air Force in my home community was an appreciated advantage of the program, but what I will never forget are the eager faces of my future wingmen. Seeing the palpable enthusiasm to simply secure a job in this struggling economy, and the electrifying pride to be dedicating their lives to something greater than themselves reminded me of what I had forgotten.

After a little more than a year of being an Airman, I had forgotten what made the Air Force so special to me. It’s the diversity of countless individuals with different cultures and backgrounds banding together to achieve common goals. It’s the simple beauty in a group of people putting service before self because they humbly believe the needs of the group are more than their own.

RAP is more than just an assignment; it is a chance for us all to go back to where it all started and be reminded of why we decided to join the greatest Air Force in the world.

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U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Luke Johnson

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