In the military, Mustang is a term used for someone who is commissioned after being enlisted. It’s not a walk in the park for enlisted Airmen to earn a commission. In fact, there are various steps needed to be taken prior to applying to a commissioning program.
One of the first steps is to attend a commissioning briefing.
“At Luke we hold a commissioning briefing once a month,” said Jennifer Reyes, 56th Force Support Squadron intern counselor. “There we address all the basic aspects of what it takes to become an officer as well as the different programs available.”
It is also recommended to review Air Force Instruction 36-2013 for detailed information about eligibility requirements depending on the program and what waivers may be required. Furthermore, the Air Force officer qualifying test must be taken in order to gauge one’s skills.
“The AFOQT measures one’s knowledge and abilities in five areas,” Reyes said. “The areas are pilot, navigator-technical, academic aptitude, verbal and quantitative. Applicants should study prior to taking the test, since it can only be taken twice in an Air Force career.”
An applicant should also notify the chain of command of his pursuit to become an officer in addition to doing the research and taking the test.
“It’s essential to tell your chain of command because they can assist you with getting volunteer opportunities, put you in for packages and connect you with a young lieutenant to act as a mentor,” said Sandy Cooper, 56th FSS guidance counselor.
More than just having the desire to become an officer, one must possess the desire and ability to excel in all endeavors.
Some things to consider are enlisted progress reports, awards such as senior airman below-the-zone, airman of the quarter and volunteer experience, Cooper said.
“The board also looks for leaders,” she said. “So it would look great on a package if a person led a volunteer opportunity or planned some type of event benefiting a local community. Additionally, taking a lead position in programs such as Airmen Against Drunk Driving shows an officer in the making.”
One Luke Airman explained why he chose to transition from enlisted to officer.
“Two things prompted me to pursue commissioning: my ambition and the feedback of others,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Kevin Rash, 944th Fighter Wing chaplain. “I wanted the opportunity to serve at a higher level. I reverse engineered a commission and got to work.
“Secondly, I listened to the leaders in my life who encouraged me to pursue commissioning,” he said. “Several individuals independently told me I should become an officer and a few specifically encouraged me to be a chaplain.”
Educational achievements are also vital to an effective package.
“Having a college major that is competitive can be imperative,” Cooper said. “It’s best to choose a degree that the Air Force needs such as engineering, finance, foreign area studies and languages.”
Although it may seem like a daunting task, Cooper is here to help.
“Once Airmen have attended the briefing, I am here to assist and provide guidance along the way,” she said. “I recommend Airmen meet with me once a month to ensure they’re heading in the right direction.”
Rash advises Airmen to have a plan and work toward their goal.
For more information, call the education center at (623) 856-7722.