Air Force programs help Airmen earn commission Published May 11, 2009 By Senior Airman Nichelle Griffiths 36th Wing Public Affairs ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The Air Force encourages its Airmen to excel on all levels including education - so much so, that it's a requirement to be able to advance in rank. Education is important throughout a member's career no matter if it's four years or 20. Education is essential for Airmen in their careers in the Air Force making themselves marketable for future endeavors. "Furthering your education contributes to members being effective communicators, leaders and managers," said Celestin Babauta, Andersen Base Training and Education Services team chief. On top of the education benefits offered through Veteran Affairs tuition assistance and the Montgomery G.I. Bill, the Air Force provides enlisted Airmen with the opportunities to receive a commission in becoming an officer. Airmen can explore their options through a number of different avenues including the Air Force Academy, Officer Training School, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and Airman Education Commissioning Program, to name a few. "They are all good programs, and I highly encourage our Airmen to take advantage of these great opportunities. Not only are you able to complete a degree, but you continue to serve as a commissioned officer," said 1st Lt. Cherry Padilla, 36th Force Support Squadron manpower and personnel flight commander. These programs are highly competitive but open to all interested Airmen. Consideration for acceptance is based on a number of factors including military performance. "I was commissioned through the Airman Education Commissioning Program, and like all officer commissioning programs, you must submit a package," she explained. "The great thing about this particular program is that you retain all the benefits afforded to an active-duty member. However, your primary focus is to complete your degree. All commissioning programs are very competitive, but if I can do it, anyone can." According to the Jeanne M. Holm, Officer and Accession and Citizen Development Center, nearly 80 percent of all officers entering the Air Force enter through AFROTC and OTS under the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools. The development center provides leadership and direction for officer training and recruiting, commissioning programs at OTS and AFROTC detachments at more than 140 universities, Airmen interested in commissioning programs are encouraged to go to the Air Force Portal at www.my.af.mil and navigate to the Virtual Education Center link or contact the base education office at 366-3170.