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Enlisted Reserve Orientation Course sets up new reservists for success

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo
  • 403rd Wing Public Affairs

The 403rd Wing hosted its first Enlisted Reserve Orientation Course graduation for seven Airmen Sunday.

The wing originally established the 403rd University in January 2022 to assist wing Airmen and civil servants in reaching their personal and professional goals, however, the EROC, which began beta testing in June, is for enlisted members new to the Air Force Reserve.

“The EROC provides initial information that helps set these Airmen up for success in their Reserve careers,” said Senior Master Sgt. Monica Garcia, 403rd Wing Inspector General Inspections planner and 403rd Wing Professional Development Council president, adding that the EROC and 403rd University fall under the umbrella of the Wing’s PDC.

The EROC is part of the Air Force’s Airmanship series. Recruits are introduced to the Enlisted Airmanship Continuum at Basic Military Training, known as Airmanship 100, and this series is reinforced to Airmen attending technical school, Airmanship 200. The series continues for active-duty Airmen at their first base. Airmanship 300 is offered through the First Term Airmen Center curriculum, and is a prerequisite for Airman Leadership School, the Airmanship 400 level course. This series continues throughout an Airman’s career culminating with Airmanship 900, the Chief Leadership Course.

“The intent is to mimic the First Term Airmen Center course active-duty Airmen receive at their first duty station,” said Garcia. “The Reserve doesn’t have a program like that for new Reserve Airmen, so the intent of this course is to provide something similar to help them navigate the start of their careers.”

“There is no ‘How to be a Reservist” course,” said Chief Master Sgt. David Jackson, 403rd Wing command chief. “Airmen join the unit, attend newcomers where they turn on the firehose and throw a bunch of stuff at them about the wing and being a reservist, and then they are sent to their work centers. The EROC goes more in depth on programs and benefits to assist Airmen new to the Air Force Reserve.”

Airmanship 300 covers topics such as diversity and inclusion, Airmanship, ethical decision making, financial management, and Reserve specific administrative requirements. They also learn about base resources such as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, Military and Family Readiness Center programs, and mental health advocacy.

The first course started in June where Airmen spent the entire Unit Training Assembly in class. EROC instructors met with these Airmen presenting subsequent course material to them the first period of the Sunday UTA. In all, Airmen completed 25 hours of curriculum in six months. The course is not yet mandatory, but highly encouraged for new Air Force Reserve enlisted Airmen, said Garcia.

Senior Airman Richie Gehrett, 803rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, who is an insurance adjustor in civilian life in Nesbit, Mississippi, was one of the graduates. He joined the Air Force Reserve at age 39.

Gehrett said he thought about joining when he was younger but kept putting it off and then one of his friends joined. After discussions with his friend, he decided to visit a recruiter before he was too old to join. The age limit to join was 39, however in October, the Air Force upped the age limit to 42 for new enlisted and officer recruits.

“It’s a new challenge and the Reserve has great benefits and health care,” he said.

He enlisted in August 2021, attended BMT in February 2022, and graduated from technical school in October 2022. This summer he was on duty for four months completing upgrade training and took part in the EROC.

“It cleared the muddy waters of understanding the ins and outs of the Reserve, such as where you can go and who to speak with, which can be confusing,” he said. “The course highlighted major benefits; things you know about but don’t necessarily understand, such as education programs--tuition assistance, and the GI Bill. It also covered career development and setting goals, like where we are now and where we want to be in the future.”

Prior to presenting the graduates with their certificates, Jackson encouraged the Airmen to share their EROC experience and their knowledge with their co-workers and fellow Airmen. He also encouraged everyone in the audience to do their part as leaders to grow the force.

“As reservists we have limited time here, and it’s about taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to make it a value-added weekend,” he said. “These Airmen want to actively participate at the Unit Training Assembly, learn their jobs, and enhance their skillsets so they can be valued members to their work center and be mission capable Airmen when they deploy. As leaders, we owe them that opportunity and programs such as EROC help Airmen with their transition into the Reserve and throughout their careers.”

In addition to Gehrett, the following Airmen graduated from the inaugural EROC: Senior Airman Jonathan Brown, 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Senior Airman Mirian Ndu, 403rd Force Support Squadron, Senior Airman Kaelynna Quitugua, 403rd FSS, Airman First Class Vaneisha Dorsey, 403rd Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Senior Airman Jasmin Donahoo, 403rd Operational Support Squadron, and Airman First Class Tyler Williams, 403rd Wing Staff Agencies.

Wing members interested in joining the PDC and assisting with the EROC and 403rd U, should contact