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News > Opportunity knocks for casual lieutenants at Laughlin
Opportunity knocks for casual lieutenants at Laughlin

Posted 8/25/2008   Updated 8/26/2008 Email story   Print story


by 2nd Lt. Cody D. Chiles
47th Flying Training Wing public affairs

8/25/2008 - LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Nearly 200 of Laughlin's officers awaiting pilot training or on break in training status were given a unique opportunity during a briefing in Anderson Hall Aug. 19.

According to Lt. Col. Ronald Whittle, 47th Operations Support Squadron director of student personnel, the young officers were given incentives to undertake a foreign language, an advanced degree or other developmental education while waiting for their training dates.

"This is not your parents' Air Force," said Col. Martin Schans, 47th Operations Group commander, as he outlined a revised version of the Air Force's professional pilot career pyramid in response to the holds and delays that students were facing prior to their training.

Based on the revised career pyramid, a plan was laid out by Colonel Whittle and Christine Engel, 47th Force Support Squadron chief of education and training, giving the training delay disposition that BIT and APT students were facing a positive spin.

Although the plan is not mandatory, there were strong incentives to jump on board.

"It will launch your career as an officer and professional pilot," said Colonel Whittle.

Recent Air Force pilot promotion statistics show that having an advanced degree or developmental education will exponentially improve an officer's chances for early promotion to major and above.

In addition, Colonel Schans agreed to give the APT and BIT officers enrolled in three master's courses five half days off of work every week.

Those who choose to take advantage of the opportunity will also receive some funding assitance from the military.

According to Engle, the military will pay for up to $250 per credit hour with a cap of $4,500 of tuition assistance each fiscal year.

One additional advantage of seizing the opportunity early in their carrer is that officers will not incur any additional service time.

With all the incentives laid out, representatives from Park University, Embry-Riddle, American Military University, Wayland Baptist University and University of Phoenix were on hand with information. Each explained the educational opportunities their colleges could provide including online master's programs, in-house professors and competitive tuitions.

"With opportunities like these we make the saying 'Through these doors passes the future of the United States Air Force' come true every day," said Capt. Ricardo Hiraldo, 47th OSS transition flight commander, referring to the bold lettering found above the entrance of the flying training building.

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