|Future commissioned officer...or official tour guide?|
December's UTA marked the convening of the Deserving Airman Commissioning Program Board (DCAP).
Where I was told that being round and in a small tent I wouldn't fit in any of the newer uniforms. [Editor's Note: This is what happens when you leave your draft unattended and your DH gets at it.] My appointment was at Saturday at 0830, and required service dress, which is fodder for another post!
Prior to the weekend, I looked into the AFI in preparation for laying out my blues. Good thing I did, too! Apparently maternity service dress requires the long-sleeved shirt (I wasn't issued a maternity one) and a satin tie tab (which I already owned, thanks to the Awards Banquet). After some problem solving with a pregnant Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO), I realized I could wear my non-maternity long-sleeved shirt without issue. I rocked the blueberry muu muu that morning, and had a number of fun conversations about my stylish attire.
I arrived at the board location the Air Force standard of ten to fifteen minutes early, only to find that aside from one other board member, no one else was there. We took a seat at the conference table and relaxed for a bit while we waited. Finally, the rest of the board members and the MPF personnel in charge of the board filtered in. I gave them some privacy while they reviewed my package and I took the time to center myself.
The board consisted of five officers, all O-5 and above. Our board chairman was the Vice Commander of the wing. They try to get representation from each of the groups in the wing, so there was someone there from the Aeromedical Staging Squadron (ASTS), the Maintenance Group (MXG), the Misson Support Group (MSG), and the Operations Group (OG). Fortunately, I was well-acquainted with all but one of the officers present, so I felt fairly comfortable and at-ease. I can't stress enough how important it is to get involved in your wing through volunteer work, as well as seizing opportunities to further your training and networking. Make sure that people know your name, and for positive reasons.
When given the signal, I entered the room and gave a reporting statement to the board chairman. I was a little shaky on that part, only due to the lengthiness of the wording. Luckily I didn't break from my position of attention and I completed it without losing my military bearing. After being given permission to sit, I continued to sit at the position of attention, just as I was taught at BMT. Remember those BMT skills and procedures!
The board members each had a prepared question, during which they took notes on my responses. There's no time limit given to respond, so I was able to think before speaking and give a thorough, thoughtful answer. The questions were as I imagined for something like this. I didn't write them down for you after my interview, but you can get the gist from the examples below.
- Why are you ready for commissioning at this stage in your life/career?
- What are your strengths as a leader? What are your weaknesses?
- What do you consider to be the greatest accomplishment in your life and how did you learn from that accomplishment?
- Describe a time in your life when you faced a challenge as a leader and what that taught you.
After the board members made it through their five prepared questions, they were free to ask additional questions of me. I was asked what my preferences were for career fields as an officer. Be cautious about how you answer this. The question was originally proposed to me as which ones did I not want to do, and I truthfully said that I wasn't closed off to any opportunity, but that my preference was toward logistics or maintenance. Lastly, the board ended in a typical fashion for any interview - by asking me if I had any questions for them. Make sure you come prepared with a question! I let that one slip my mind, so I had to try to think of something on the spot.
I left the board feeling strong about my performance, thanks to their positive feedback during the process. I tend to do well in interviews, and coupled with my strong package, knew that I had made a solid case for myself.
So, what were the results?
Well, if you're a fan of my Facebook page, you've already read that I was indeed successful in receiving approval of my nomination for commissioning!
What happens now? I have a year to find an available officer slot in my wing, interview for that position, get the A-OK from that commander, pass a commissioning physical, and secure my school dates for OTS. If I go beyond that year, I'll have to begin the process again from scratch.
Thank you for all of your encouragement during this process!