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Military Appreciation Month: Spotlight on an Airman Week 4

Airman points in the direction of a project

By Senior Airman Zachiah Roberson
319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Editor’s note: May is Military Appreciation Month, and we’ll highlight a different Airman and his or her job once per week for this month. We’re truly grateful for the hard work each Airman puts forth each day, and every job — big or small – contributes to the U.S. Air Force being the best Air Force in the world. Is there a military member you appreciate? Tell us in the comments below.

Airman 1st Class Richard Walls, a 319th Contracting Flight contract administrator at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, has been in the Air Force for nearly two years and is an active outdoorsman.

Why is serving in the Air Force important to you?
I enlisted in the Air Force with the goal of not only learning a new skill set in something I’d enjoy, but also to make a better life for my family. With the opportunities the Air Force has given me, I am very fortunate to be able to say those goals have been met.

What accomplishment as a “Warrior of the North” are you most proud of, and why?
Being that I work in contracting, no one really knows what we do. Little do they know, without the “small, but mighty” contracting flight, they wouldn’t be able to have half the things they do now. I’m proud to say that I am part of that great group.

What is your favorite part of your job?
The favorite thing about my job is definitely the camaraderie in my office. Everyone is so helpful and so giving. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of co-workers.

Who inspires you, and why?
My mom is my true inspiration. Without her, I wouldn’t have accomplished the things I have to this day. Since I was young, she has always pushed me to try my best in everything I do.

What’s the first thing that made you think Grand Forks Air Force Base was a cool place other than the temperature or weather?
Being an outdoorsman, I love the fishing, hunting and trail riding that North Dakota has to offer, despite the fact that you can only enjoy the outdoors four months out of the year.

PHOTO: Airman 1st Class Richard Walls and Senior Airman Ernest Trosen, 319th Contracting Flight contract administrators, review specifications for an upcoming construction project on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D., May 21, 2014. Walls was named Warrior of the North for the third week of May. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Zachiah Roberson/Released)

Managing debt, credit scores

By Jerry Jackson
Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Military and Family Readiness

130508-F-TG467-016Managing bills and budgets are a daunting task for people and families who have multiple credit cards, student loans and home mortgages to pay every month. These types of expenses are used by credit reporting agencies to calculate your credit scores and determine if you are a risk for all types of credit from auto loans to store credit cards.

Having a proactive plan to manage debt will help mitigate long-term financial issues that could affect your credit scores. Developing a budget and working with creditors and debt collectors will help curb the damage created by poor financial management. Here are some tips to handle overall debt:

  • Pay your bills on time, especially your credit cards and loans. These expenses, along with other monthly expenses, will result in negative entries on your credit report if they are not paid in a timely manner.
  • Limit the amount of outstanding debt you have. The amount you owe is compared to your income and the limits you are given by creditors. When you owe a lot, creditors will lose confidence that you will be able to make the required payments on time.
  • Live within your means.
  • Every budget or spending plan should contain less total monthly expenses than income.
  • Limit the amount of loans and credit card accounts you have. The more you have to manage, the greater the potential for errors and mistakes.

Have you reviewed your current credit scores lately? The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows consumers to request a free copy of their credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Credit scoring models consider the following types of information in your credit report to help compute your credit score:

  • Payment history is a significant factor, and if your credit report indicates that you have paid bills late, had an account referred to collection, or declared bankruptcy, it is likely to affect your score negatively.
  • Many scoring systems evaluate the amount of debt you have compared to your credit limits. If the amount you owe is close to your credit limit, it’s likely to have a negative effect on your score.
  • How long have you had credit? An insufficient credit history may affect your score negatively, but factors like timely payments and low balances can offset that.
  • Have you applied for new credit recently? If you have applied for too many new accounts recently, it could have a negative effect on your score. However, every inquiry isn’t counted. For example, inquiries by creditors who are monitoring your account or looking at credit reports to make “prescreened” credit offers are not considered liabilities.
  • It’s generally considered a plus to have established credit accounts, but too many credit card accounts may have a negative effect on your credit score. In addition, many scoring systems consider the type of credit accounts you have. For example, under some scoring models, loans from finance companies may have a negative effect on your overall credit score.

There are several government resources to assist people in managing their financial future. The Federal Trade Commission is the nation’s consumer protection agency that works to prevent fraudulent and unfair business practices. Service members and their families can also visit their local military and family readiness centers for individual financial counseling and basic budgeting and investment information.

PHOTO: According to Air Force Instruction 36-2906, Personal Financial Responsibility, consequences for financial irresponsibility may lead to involuntary allotments made on behalf of the creditor or garnished pay. With the help of resources such as classes and workshops held by the Airman and Family Readiness Center, counteracting and even preventing finances from becoming an issue is the first step to financial freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Monet Villacorte/Released)

May 8 recruitment tweet chat

By the Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The Air Force Recruiting Service participated in its ninth “office hours” tweet chat, #AsktheAF on @usairforce, May 8 and received 32 recruitment questions from Twitter followers. During the hour-long Web event, AFRS officials and the Air Force Social Media Team answered questions about enlistment eligibility requirements, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test scores and other career field-specific questions. In case you missed it, here are all the questions and answers from the chat.

AF recruiting

Q1: Can I get a tattoo sleeve while in the Air Force?
A1: The tattoo policy applies to getting in and while you’re in. Check out http://bit.ly/111YFdA for more info.

Q2: How closely will the USAF and RCAF be able to work in the future, with both countries flying F-35s?
A2: Unfortunately, we cannot predict future joint missions.

Q3: What’s going to happen to the A-10s?
A3: You’ll have to stay posted for more information.

Q4: What are the current honor grad requirements for BMT?
A4: You’ll need to score a 90% or higher on all testable items & be in the top 10% of all graduates.

Q5: What are the current thunderbolt PT requirements?
A5: Males-1.5 mi in 9:30 >; 55 push-ups, 60 sit-ups; 5 pull-ups. Females – 1.5 mi in 12:00>; 32 push-ups; 55 sit-ups, 2 pull-ups.

Q6: What is the average timeframe for someone in the DEP to go to basic training?
A6: There’s a 3-9 month wait time after you process until you go to BMT.

Q7: Is there any way to get a degree while going active duty?
A7: Yes, after completing BMT, tech school and upgrade training, you can take college classes.

Q8. Does the Air Force still use the MAVNI program? If so, what are languages open?
A8: MAVNI is open for French (from African countries). Talk to a recruiter for more info.

Q9: I am green card holder and 30 years old can I enlist the Air Force?
A9: You exceed the age limit, and we do not give age waivers.

Q10: What kind of nursing options are there in the Air Force?
A10: You must have a BSN to be considered, and then you’ll be placed into a specific field based on current needs.

Q11: How many students can go directly into pre-med after they graduate from the Academy?
A11: Contact Academy officials for your answer: http://bit.ly/1obC6iC

Q12: Do we need a certain ASVAB score to be selected for PJ training?
A12: For PJ training, you will need to score AFQT: 50, Gen: 44.

Q13: What are some combat related jobs I can get into after ROTC besides security forces?
A13: You can be a combat rescue officer or special tactics officer. Learn more here: http://1.usa.gov/15E3PMP

Q14: What are the qualifications to become a USAF security forces officer?
A14: Along with being selected, you need a BA, 3.0 GPA, be a U.S. citizen, & more, but OTS boards are currently suspended.

Q15: Are you allowed to make phone calls at BMT?
A15: Phone calls can be made upon arrival, at week 4 and week 7. Other than that, it’s up to your TI.

Q16: I’m from Ghana and want to know how I can apply to enter the Air Force.
A16: You must live in the U.S. for two years, have a valid visa and meet all other requirements.

Q17: What year will the F-35 enter full production?
A17: The F-35 has already been produced as a joint aircraft.

Q18. What is the TACP PAST test? Standard and SOF if possible.
A18: Please refer to the following link: http://1.usa.gov/15E3PMP

Q19: How many times do you have to pass the PAST test before going to basic and your tech school?
A19: Your recruiter will brief you on their standards.

Q20: Is a high school diploma necessary to join the Air Force or will a GED suffice?
A20: If you got your GED through an in-class program, you can enter. If you tested for it you must also have 15 college credits.

Q21: Is there any chance that the A-10 fleet will remain in active service?
A21: The A-10 remains a viable weapon system. No firm determination has been made on the future of this aircraft.

Q22: What type of jobs will crypto linguists be doing in the Air Force?
A22: You will be proficient in transcribing, recording, and analyzing voice communication signals/transcripts

Q23: Can siblings enlist at the same time?
A23: Provided both siblings are qualified, they may enlist at the same time.

Q24: I am a legal resident and 30 years old, I took the ASVAB and had a 77 on the AFQT. Can I enlist in the Air Force?
A24: Non-prior service applicants must be at least 17 to apply and in Basic Military Training before their 28th birthday.

Q25: Is the Air Force prior service program open to all military branches?
A25: Yes, it’s open to all military branches when it is active provided you’re otherwise qualified. At this time, Prior Service program is suspended with exception of pararescue.

Q26: With the rise of FBW, CPUs and unmanned crafts, how does USAF ensure stick-and-rudder skills are still being learned?
A26: Basic flying skills are taught, and based upon the type of aircraft you will rate, will depend upon the system(s) you will learn.

Q27: Is tactical aircraft maintenance a good job?
A27: If you have displayed the aptitude, it is an extremely good job.

Q28: Are microdermal piercings allowed in the Air Force if they are not visible with clothes on?
A28: Check out the FAQ about tattoos and piercings here: http://bit.ly/15KYpPs.

Q29: What are the requirements of ARC Airmen while on MPA orders to their ARC unit?
A29: This chat is for active duty AF. You will need to contact your Reserve unit for that info.

Q30: Can community college grads w/associates degrees become a commissioned officer?
A30: Must have Bachelors from an accredited university and qualifying GPA to apply for OTS.

My mother; my hero

By 1st Lt Tori Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

When people ask about your hero, your response is likely to be someone well-known and famous; someone who impacted history or led an important movement; or someone whose words you live by and use as motivation to continue on.

My hero is not as well-known and famous. My hero is my mom.

Born in a small town in Poland in the 1960s, my mom and her family lived in a small cabin with a wood stove. They used it to cook and provide heat in the winter. No stranger to hard work, she’s told me stories of tending the gardens, milking and caring for the cattle and seeing to the chickens they kept for food.

When she turned 12, my mom left everything she knew behind to come to America. She lived with a distant relative of her family, a wonderful woman we always referred to as our aunt. She learned how to speak and write in English, how to sew and make her own clothes, and eventually, how to drive.

Although she was teased in school for her accent, she persevered and graduated with her peers. After graduation, she became an official citizen of the United States, a process she started five years earlier.

A year later, in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis, she decided to join the U.S. Air Force and enlisted into the air traffic control career field. Her service stemmed from a desire to give back to the country that became her second home.

The author's mom, pictured as a Tech. Sgt. in the Air Force.

My mom served the Air Force for 21 years and retired as a master sergeant. She now works as a Department of the Air Force civilian and has been for nearly 12 ½ years. Through it all, she raised my brother and me while we moved every two years with the military. We learned about different cultures, how to work hard and contribute around the home and community, and eventually, how to give back to the country. My brother and I both joined the Air Force and have a combined 13 years of service.

An Airman reenlists her brother in the Air Force.
PHOTO: Then 2nd Lt. Victoria Lalich reenlists her brother, Staff Sgt. Christopher Lalich, at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., in 2011.

I think my mom is a remarkable woman. Her devotion and dedication to this country and her job is inspiring to me and always has been. It’s what made me want to join the Air Force, and why I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in this country and in the military. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

You know you’re in the AF when…v4

By 1st Lt Tori Hight
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The Air Force isn’t just a job to most Airmen…it’s a way of life. It’s engrained in you from day 1 of Basic Military Training and throughout the years of your career even as it fades, gets “reblued,” and sometimes wears thin — it never dies. This lifestyle means habits and quirks that made sense to others in the military will follow you throughout your life on the outside — where those same habits probably earn you a strange stare or two from the average passerby. So, let’s celebrate those quirks and habits with our fourth installment of: You know you’re in the AF when…

1) Your young children approach strangers in uniform and call them “Mommy” or “Daddy”


PHOTO: Chances are every single kid in this room called him Daddy when he walked in. Seriously, have you ever been to the child development center in uniform? It’s like an angry mob…

2) You make your bed at home with perfect hospital corners

Academy cadets stand by for a room inspection.

PHOTO: Because if you don’t make your bed with perfect hospital corners – people will die!

3) You have at least one pet with a military-related name

A retired military working dog makes himself at home.

PHOTO: Bonus points if the pet actually served in the military as well.

4) Saying sir or ma’am is automatic

A basic cadet at the Air Force Academy receives a verbal reprimand.

PHOTO: Just don’t confuse the two. You can only do so many “Ma’am you are a ma’am, not a sir, ma’am” pushups.

5) You always have a pen on you

Air Force Form 341

PHOTO: How else can you fill out your Form 341?

6) You aren’t sure what to wear to a business casual function
Air Force officers show off their 'party shirts'.

PHOTO: Party shirts anyone?

7) When the Internet is down, no one can work

An Airman inspects a computer motherboard.

PHOTO: Now…which button was it?

8) You can’t bring yourself to walk across the grass…ever

An Airman tees off on a golf course.
PHOTO: Except this grass…this is OK.

9) Your whole table orders water to drink at lunch

Airman pours water on his head to cool down.

PHOTO: Just don’t be like this guy in a restaurant. Wait staff won’t appreciate cleaning this up.

10) Ladies: you get your hair cut when you are home on leave visiting family because you can’t find anyone good near your base

Military member dontaes hair to charity.

PHOTO: Just a few inches off the bottom please…

In case this list didn’t seem complete to you, check out our first, second, and third versions. What’s your favorite military habit or quirk?