People First

Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.

Art contest to display talent

The Air Force Services Activity aims to showcase and celebrate the artistic talents of Airmen and their family members via the 2017 Air Force Art Contest.

“AFSVA wants to find ways to recognize our Airmen and families’ talents,” said Jonathan Grammer, AFSVA director of programs. “We have phenomenal artists and photographers within the Air Force, and hosting these types of contests is a way for them to showcase their works. Last year, the art contest was a huge success with more than 2,000 works of art submitted. We are looking forward to seeing this year’s entries.”

The contest, is open to Airmen and their families, including children ages 6-17. The call for entries will run through Nov. 30.

Last year’s second-place winner in the adult accomplish category was Josh Pugeau with his “Rhino” charcoal. Pugeau, a civilian missile inspector with the 709th Maintenance Support Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, said his art is a great stress reliever.

“Once I start, I get very focused on what I’m drawing, and at least for that moment I’m not focused on anything else,” Pugeau said. “Sometimes when I’m really getting into a drawing, hours seem to just pass by. When I am done, my mind always feels refreshed and cleared.”

Blended retirement system
training now available

The Defense Department will implement the new Blended Retirement System next year. While no one needs to make a decision until Jan. 1, 2018, all Airmen should take advantage of training and informational resources to research their options during the remainder of 2017.

Airmen eligible for the new Blended Retirement System began receiving email notifications in February from myPers to ensure they receive correct information regarding their benefits to make the decision best suited for their individual needs.

The opt-in course is designed to provide sufficient information for eligible Airmen to make an educated decision about their retirement system. However, Airmen are highly encouraged to discuss their personal situations with a personal financial counselor at the Airman and Family Readiness Center. The Blended Retirement System Opt-in training is available on Advanced Distributed Learning Service under the “Selected Force Training” drop down menu.

Officials release Handbook 1
Enlisted promotion study guides

Air Force officials have released the 2017 Air Force Handbook 1, Airman and the Enlisted Promotions Study Guides.

AFH-1 is available at and also on every Airman’s government computer desktop. To find AFH-1 on Air Force e-publishing, search for AFHandbook1.

Individual study guides for each enlisted grade, that are created from information within the handbook, are available for immediate download at These guides aid Airmen testing for promotion beginning with the February 2018 testing cycle. A .pdf file for each enlisted grade is available for downloading in preparation for the United States Air Force Supervisory Exam or Promotion Fitness Exam.

As reported previously, master sergeants testing for promotion in the 18E8 promotion cycle will still use the 2015 version of the senior master sergeant study guide as study reference material.

“The publishing of the new Air Force Handbook 1 is the first step toward revolutionizing this product for our Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Juliet Gudgel, command chief for Air Education and Training Command. “As AETC moves forward with the Continuum of Learning, we need to look at how this product is delivered to the force. In order for our Airmen to be successful, we need to find a way to modularize AFH-1 so that it is portable from any device and from any location.”

BECA offers HS students
study-abroad opportunities

The State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs offers study abroad scholarships for high school students.

Students aged 15 to 18 are invited to apply to study abroad for one academic year, through any of three programs.

The Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange Program is an opportunity for students to live with a host family in Germany, attending a local high school and learning the German language and culture. The application period is open through Dec. 11, 2017, and 250 scholarships are available. For more information, visit

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad offers merit-based scholarships for students to study in one of 13 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Balkans. The application period is open through Dec. 5, 2017, and 65 scholarships are available. For more information, visit

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