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VLPAD program in full motion

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala -- The first three officers for the Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty program are preparing for Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps command while attending the Academic Instructor Course at Air University.

The VLPAD program launched in early 2016, provides an opportunity for Air National Guard and Air Force Reservists to become active-duty Airmen for a period of time.

Lt. Col. Olivia Nelson, Lt. Col. William Magee and Maj. Bryan Gray are the first volunteers to go through the course and take command of their detachments.

“Officership is a big, big deal to me, and I’d like to impart that on some of the younger kids,” said Magee, an Air Reserve Technician, former high school teacher and Louisiana State University’s next detachment commander. “I’ve always been a Reservist, so I would like to kill some of the parochialisms that exist. I might as well start that with cadets so that they don’t come into the Air Force with the wrong impression.”

For three years and one day, Air Force Reserve and Guard officers can fill AFROTC openings for members of certain Air Force specialties. This first wave of commanders yields an Individual Mobilization Augmentee Reservist, an Active Guard Reservist and an Air Reserve Technician.

“I want to give back and work with young people,” said Gray, a T-6 instructor pilot heading to Tuskegee University. “The young people in our Air Force really care about the country and believe in the Constitution. I want to help mentor and shape the next generation like I was mentored through ROTC.”

During their time leading AFROTC detachments, selectees will hold the responsibility of molding cadets while they earn their college degree, preparing them for Air Force leadership, regardless if they are active-duty, reserve or guard. As the Air Force places an emphasis on total-force integration, those leading the future officers are an example of the force expanding on that front.

“The reserve component offers a way to tap into that talent pool that can fill these positions,” said Col. Shelley Kavlick, Reserve Adviser to the Commander, Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education. “The quality of the manning coming to these positions is outstanding. Their experience will be exceptionally valuable and bring a lot to our detachments. They have a lot of operational experience in several different capacities that will be useful in their upcoming roles.”

More than 78 total-force integration proposals are being pursued, including 41 recommended by the NCSAF. In fact, the Air Force has launched a series of initiatives designed to break down existing barriers to a total Air Force.

“It’s like a win on three different levels,” said Nelson, University of Southern California’s next detachment commander. “The Air Force gets a win by filling these positions. The cadets get a win through exposure to total force as opposed to just one aspect. It’s a win for the Reservists because of the command opportunities and breadth of experience.”

For more on the VLPAD program, visit the myPERS web page: https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/30624/kw/vlpad/p/16,17.