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Becoming an Air Force officer: OTS

Becoming an Air Force officer: OTS

The Total Officer Training Board schedule for fiscal year 2019 is available. Officer Training School is a group-level command that trains more than 2,000 officers in a fiscal year and upon graduation, individuals earn a commission. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Senior Airman Arielle Vasquez)

Becoming an Air Force officer: OTS

Officer Training School cadets in OTS class 16-07 take the oath of office during their graduation parade at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, June 17, 2016. For nine weeks, cadets are evaluated on their leadership potential, moral standards and academic strengths. (US Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)


For those interested in submitting an Officer Training School package, the fiscal year 2019 board dates have been posted.

OTS is a group-level command that trains more than 2,000 officers in a fiscal year and upon graduation, individuals earn a commission. While stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, for nine weeks, trainees are evaluated on their leadership potential, moral standards and academic strengths.

Before one can reach this stepping stone, each candidate must go through a selection process. The preparation involved for an OTS package may surprise some.

“OTS is a lengthy application process,” said Scott Hardin, education services specialists with the 21st Force Support Squadron. “The Air Force Form 56 is the actual application form candidates would complete. A big part of my role is to make sure members interested in OTS among other programs, are aware of what is available and also knowing where to get accurate information to complete their packages.”

Several components make up an OTS package to include passing the Air Force Qualifying Test, providing Enlisted Performance Reports, service records, letters of recommendation and memorandums.

According to 2nd Lt. Michael Kilbourn, deputy flight commander with the 50th Contracting Squadron, several updates have been made to the selection process since he submitted an OTS package in 2015.

“One of the significant changes made was separating boards for active duty members, civilians and Reservists,” he said. “You now compete in a pool of similarly stationed applicants. Before, there was only one opportunity for everyone from different venues to be considered simultaneously. Also, in the past there was an age cap to commission by the age of 35. Now, they are eligible if they commission by the age of 39.”

Even before Kilbourn was selected for OTS, he paid it forward by helping other enlisted members with their packages and continues to do so.

“I’ve seen how the process has changed over the past couple years,” he said. “Any commissioning process is a challenge and I wanted to guide others. The first person I helped was selected and at that point, we saw that there were universal principles that could be applied across the board.”

While the OTS application process may be lengthy and even daunting to some, Hardin shared advice for those who would like to pursue this path.

“The key is having accurate information before you start to put in hard work,” he said. “Often times, people do not have the necessary information until it is too late. Something I recommend is for members to also inform their supervision of their plan to apply to OTS. It is crucial they receive support and input throughout the process to become even more competitive.”

Kilbourn also had advice to share with Airmen, looking to become officers.

“For those who are preparing their packages or who would like to in the future, the first step is making sure you seek candid feedback from your rater to see where you stand and continue to do so at each level,” Kilbourn said. “Use your chain of command. Applying for OTS is such a comprehensive process and entails so much effort and support from your leadership before anything else happens. From there, the members need to be familiar with the criteria and deadlines in order to have the most up-to-date information.

“It’s important to keep your eye on the prize throughout it,” he continued. “When they cross the finish line, it’s amazing to think how life-altering it is and seeing them serve in a greater capacity.”

Earlier this year, the FY18 active duty officer selection board results were announced.

The most recent Front Range enlisted members selected for OTS are:

Senior Airman Patricia Barrientos     21st Medical and Dental Squadron Clinic

Airman 1st Class Adena Broxton      21st Space Wing

Tech. Sgt. Matthew Kendall              25th Space Range Squadron

Master Sgt. Trevor McAffee              561st Network Operations Squadron

Tech. Sgt. Andrew Taurianen            Air Force Technical Applications Center

The next Active Duty application is due by Dec. 12, 2018.

For more information on the OTS application process, visit TFOT Program Guide or the Active Duty Basic Officer Training Program Site 



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