JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – Should you WEAR it or RAP it? Well, that all depends.
The We Are All Recruiters (WEAR) and the Recruiter Assistance Program (RAP) are two similar but different programs available to Airmen. Both programs are managed by Air Force Recruiting Service.
WEAR is a permissive TDY program open to active duty Airmen. Participation in the WEAR program is limited to events where Airmen are directly speaking to potential applicants or influencers about Air Force opportunities. The WEAR program events can range from public speaking engagements to coaching sport camps.
“The event I participated in was the Montana Intensive Wrestling Camp in Kalispell, Mont.,” said Capt. Zachery Lord, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center program manager. “It was a great opportunity to do something I love while promoting opportunities in the Air Force.”
He was able to go to an area of the country that has limited military presence and represent the Air Force in a positive light at no cost to the Air Force, he said. It also kept him involved in the community and helped sharpen his coaching skills.
“On a daily basis I coached kids from the age of six or seven through high school in wrestling,” he said. “I told my story of how I got where I am and gave some perspective on being in the Air Force and some of the opportunities I’ve had and places I’ve been. I advised one high school kid on the Air Force Academy process, and told others about the different job opportunities and the Air Force Elite Athletes Program.”
Airmen who wish to take PTDY under the WEAR program must submit a request package to AFRS Public Affairs. The package must include a WEAR request memorandum and an endorsement letter from their commander, which can be found on the AFRS website, www.rs.af.mil. All portions of the package must be submitted on their unit’s letterhead and include signatures.
“The WEAR program is a great opportunity for Airmen to get out and inspire future Airmen,” said Brig. Gen. John Horner, AFRS commander. “Since we can’t have Air Force recruiters everywhere we would like, WEAR helps the Air Force gain a positive influence in communities we may not otherwise have a presence in.”
WEAR requests are considered by the AFRS commander on an individual basis. Airmen who submit a WEAR request will receive an approval or disapproval notice via email. Airmen should allow at least 15 business days for their application to be considered.
RAP is a non-chargeable leave program open to permanent party Airmen as well as Officer Training School and technical school students. Airmen participating in the RAP directly assist the recruiter and should expect to work a full eight-hour day in the recruiter’s office or with the recruiter in the community.
“There seems to be a lot of confusion as to who can participate in RAP,” said Staff Sgt. Darby William Larvenz, AFRS enlisted standards noncommissioned officer. “I have had permanent party Airmen tell me that their commanders have denied their RAP since they are not technical school students. This isn’t justifiable because permanent party Airmen are encouraged to participate in RAP as well.”
To apply for RAP, permanent party Airmen must submit an application to the recruiting squadron in the area they choose. OTS and technical school students can apply for RAP through their school personnel section or military training manager and are limited to assisting recruiters near their home of record.
“Technically there is no limit to the number of times an Airman can participate in RAP, but it shouldn’t be abused,” Larvenz said. “Airmen and their chain of command should use their best judgment as to where they draw the line between proper utilization and abuse of the RAP.”
Airmen are expected to make a contribution in engaging with high school and college students through question and answer sessions, presentations or provide testimonials of their Air Force experience.
“The WEAR and RAP programs aren’t intended to be free leave programs,” Horner said. “It’s a privilege to be able to participate, so we expect Airmen who participate to display a professional military appearance, positive and enthusiastic attitude and exemplary conduct at all times.”
Airmen who participate in WEAR or RAP will not receive reimbursement for travel, lodging, meals or other expenses. Factsheets for WEAR and RAP can be found at the AFRS website www.rs.af.mil.