Tag Archives: ots

Rabbi Elie Estrin Commissioned as Air Force’s Only Bearded Chaplain

Rabbi Elie Estrin (previously discussed here) recently graduated from Officer Training School, officially making him an officer in the Air Force Reserve — and the Air Force’s only chaplain wearing a beard:

During the five week Commissioned Officer Training Course, Rabbi Estrin ate Kosher MRE’s (ready-to-eat meals) and said that staff were fantastic about facilitating his required accommodations, some of which included his adherence to Shabbat and the 25 hour fast of Tisha Be’av, a day which commemorates the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem.

(Chaplain Menachem Stern currently serves in the US Army with a beard.)

Religious beards mark one Read more

How can I prepare for my Academy/ROTC/OTS interview?

If you want to be a pilot, you need to get into one of the officer accession programs: USAFA, ROTC, or OTS. These all have application processes that will eventually require an interview. (This interview is not the same thing as “talking to a recruiter.”) Your basic qualifications (GPA, extracurricular activities, etc.) will stand on their own merits. The point of the interview is for an officer to get a sense of your “potential in terms of motivation, goals, leadership ability, communication skills, adaptability, and other qualities.” You need to approach that interview like it’s the most important job interview you’ll ever do. Your interview for Home Depot may determine whether or not you work this summer. This interview helps determine what you could be doing for the rest of your life.

For USAFA and ROTC, the application/interview will only get you into the program. Two to four years later, prior to your graduation, you will compete for pilot slots among your peers. There is no interview process then; it’s just a big computer in the sky determining who is the most qualified. (Part of that determination, though, is the input of your unit’s commander. They will rank their cadets at some point; if you’re at the top, it’s more likely you’ll get your choice. If not…) The down side of this means you will have a commitment in the Air Force before you know whether or not you’ll be a pilot.

For OTS, it’s possible that you could be offered an OTS slot with a guaranteed job, contingent upon your completion of OTS three months later.

The ROTC and USAFA processes can actually be begun online, and you should never have to talk to a recruiter.  For OTS, there does not appear to be an online option, and the listed point of contact is “your local recruiter.” Walk into their office and ask for an application to OTS. There’s no need to let them try to talk you into anything else, nor do you need to convince them of what you want. Just ask them how to start the application process. [If they’re honest, they’ll be more than willing to help you get what you need, and it shouldn’t be a problem.] You can call them back later if you have questions on the form, and you’ll probably have to go back for your interview.

“Tips” for the interviews:

  • Get a haircut.
  • Wear reasonable clothing (or your JROTC uniform, if it is appropriate).
  • Sit up straight.

Have ready answers to the questions you know he’ll ask: (Write the answers to these questions out and practice delivering them. They don’t need to be memorized, but you need to have coherent, well thought-out answers that you can clearly communicate.)

  • Why do you want to be in the Air Force? Why not the Army/Navy/Coast Guard?
  • Why do you want to be an officer? Why not enlist?
  • What do you want to do in the Air Force?
  • Do you know what pilots do in the Air Force?
  • You want to fly the F-22? Why? (Better have something other than “its cool.”)
  • Do you plan on having a family? How many kids?
  • Do you know how long pilots are deployed in the Air Force?
  • Do you know what the AF is doing right now? (Hint: Read the news.)
  • If you can’t be a pilot, would you be happy doing something else in the Air Force? What would that be?
  • What do you think of dropping bombs and shooting missiles…at people?
  • Do you want to stay in and make it a career?
  • Where do you want to be in 20 years (a general officer, etc.)?

How do I become a fighter pilot through OTS?

Apply for OTS when you have your degree or it is essentially assured (i.e., the summer before your senior year of college). You will be required to take the Air Force Officer Qualification Test (AFOQT) and the Basic Aptitude Test (BAT). A complete medical will follow. On the application there is a “yes/no” box next to a question that asks “if accepted for other than a pilot training slot, will you accept a commission?” If you really only want to be a pilot, then you should check “no.”

You will also need to get recommendations from at least 5 people not related to you that can attest to your character and desire to be in the military. You will be asked to appear in front of an interview board of officers. Good grades and desire/experience in aviation may work to your advantage. One applicant got his answer about a week after the interview. He was accepted for an OTS class date a month after graduation with a guaranteed pilot training slot–solong as he graduated on time.

Air Force Selects Only 87 Officers for Flight Training

In March, the Air Force announced it had selected 87 company grade officers for Undergraduate Flying Training (UFT). UFT in Air Force parlance includes training for pilots, UAV operators, systems operators, and Air Battle Managers.

The Air Force does not release the numbers of total applicants, though it seems reasonable to conclude a few hundred applied. As the selectees were divided into a further four groups, only one of which was pilots, it seems the pilot track in the Air Force remains quite difficult to enter from active duty.

It can be done, as Read more

OTS, ROTC, USAFA Grads, Airman Killed in African U-28 Crash

Update: The military has said enemy action was not involved in the U-28 crash.

A U-28A — an AFSOC version of the Pilatus PC-12 — went down over the weekend during a mission from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti (in the horn of Africa, for those unfamiliar).  All four aircrew were killed.  The least amount of deployments among the crew was 3 (in 5 years).

Of the three officers, one was from ROTC, one from OTS, and one was a 2009 USAFA graduate.  That represents all 3 possible commissioning sources in the Air Force in one loss.  While there are often good-natured rivalries among OTS, ROTC, and USAFA, risk and sacrifice know no bias.

Captain Ryan Hall…was a U-28A pilot on his seventh deployment. Read more