LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Leaving the military and entering the civilian world can be a hard transition for many people to make. The Transition Assistance Program is one way the military helps those leaving the service.
The Defense Departmentâ€™s TAP program was designed to smooth the transition of military personnel and family members leaving active duty. The program has two parts. First is the Transition Assistance Management Program, a mandatory briefing for all separating Airmen. Second is TAP, a volunteer program troops are encouraged to attend. Both parts prepare Airmen for their separation.
â€œI recommend everyone thinking of separation go to the voluntary TAP,â€ said James Knuckles, 56th Force Support Squadron community readiness consultant. â€œThe program has benefits like resume writing, interview techniques and benefits available to separated members.
â€œThe TAMP briefing is mandated by the DOD,â€ Knuckles said. â€œItâ€™s only four hours, and it covers a lot. However, TAP is three days and breaks things down better for those separating.â€
The program helps every Airman whether they are leaving after their first enlistment or those who are finishing up 20 years.
â€œThe program was extremely helpful toward identifying areas of concern that I had not thought of,â€ said Tech. Sgt. Ejimofor Farrow, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron refueling maintenance NCO-in-charge. â€œAreas such as life insurance, education, Veterans Affairs benefits and career preparation after the military were covered in the program. The focus on resume writing and job search tools were extremely helpful. Also being reminded of the difference between the military environment, steeped in tradition and rank structure and the civilian sector, which is most likely centered on the bottom-line principle in an economy that is shaving the fat. This was an eye opener.â€
As the job market and economy change in the civilian world, the TAP changes as well to provide the most up to date information to service members.
â€œThis was my second time through the TAP program before I retire, and I was amazed at how much had changed within eight months,â€ Farrow said. â€œAs a career NCO, you rely heavily on past military experience and consistency of regulation. While the times are changing so rapidly, policies and procedures that applied six months ago no longer apply today. It was crucial that I attend the TAP briefing which allowed me to get clarification on the policies that affect my pending retirement and the options available to me.â€
The Airmen and Family Readiness Center conducts and holds the TAP and TAMP briefings and a new class is scheduled to begin Thursday. There are also online resources available from the Department of Labor, the VA and all the military branches that work in conjunction with the programs.
â€œThe most significant element of the briefing, I thought, was establishing a relationship with the VA representative,â€ Farrow said. â€œShe was able to walk me through many of the medical forms and documentation to track missing medical records as well as prepare for the legwork involved with filing the claim.
â€œThis is one of the best military support programs that I have encountered in my career, and the knowledgeable staff members make it a rewarding and pleasurable experience. This outstanding program makes it easier to minimize the anxiety of transitioning from the military world into the civilian sector and offers the military member and military family significant tools to prepare for the change.â€