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AF gives ROTC cadets Reserve career option

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Air Force Reserve Command is opening its doors to Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets.

Now, college students participating in their school’s ROTC program have another option to serve their country. Instead of putting civilian career opportunities on hold, cadets can request to continue their military career in the Air Force Reserve.

“The Air Force Reserve is interested in men and women who want to serve their country and make a difference,” said Lt. Gen. James Jackson, AFRC commander. “As the global climate changes so do the demands of the Reserve, which is why we are opening our doors to motivated ROTC cadets.”

Currently, there are two different ways a cadet can join the Air Force Reserve, depending on their status the ROTC program.

Under the Total Force Commissioning Program, cadets scheduled to get commissioned in calendar year 2016 and 2nd Lieutenants not yet on extended active duty may request to serve their service obligation in the AFR if they are selected for assignment to a vacant Selected Reserve position.

To qualify in 2016, applicants must be projected to be Line of the Air Force officers except as Regular Air Force rated or nuclear and missile operations officer. A LAF officer typically has duties in a combat associated specialty and a rated officer normally serves in a flying related position.

For cadets scheduled to get commissioned in fiscal year 2018, the Reserve is authorized to select up to 100 ROTC cadets to be rated or non-rated LAF officers assigned to Air Force Reserve Command units. The Air Force increased the number of cadets it is sending to field training this summer as part of a Total Force initiative to grow accessions throughout all Air Force components, which means more Airmen in critically-manned career fields.

Each program has certain criteria a cadet must meet and a deadline that cannot be missed. For example, eligible cadets may apply for the Total Force Commissioning Program through the end of December 31, 2016, and their Reserve or Guard recruiter must complete an Air Force Form 1288, Application for Ready Reserve Assignment, at least 90 days prior to the projected extended active duty date.

Interested cadets can contact their local Air Force Reserve recruiter for more information on eligibility and deadlines for both programs.

Second Lieutenant Emily Rautenberg did just that, she decided to serve her country as an Air Force Reservist upon completion of the ROTC program.

“The summer before my last year in ROTC, my detachment commander mentioned the option to go into the Reserve,” said Rautenberg. “I wanted to fulfill my commitment to the Air Force and pursue a career in computer animation, and I realized I could get the best of both worlds through the Reserve.

I would definitely recommend this route to other ROTC cadets because it allows you to pursue careers in the civilian world while still giving you the opportunity to experience military life and serve your country.”

Rautenberg serves as a Public Affairs Officer at the 514th Air Mobility Wing located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

“This is a great opportunity for any ROTC cadet who may want to pursue a civilian and a military career,” said Jackson. “The skills they learn in both jobs can put them ahead of the game in the Air Force and in the private sector.”