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5 things: Developmental special duties

Dec. 5, 2013 - 03:08PM   |  
Airmen selected for special duties, such as military training instructor, will spend two to four years in their new assignments and earn up to $450 per month in special-duty pay. (Alan Boedeker/Air Force)
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Last month, about 1,000 staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants got word that they are the first airmen selected to fill developmental special duties.

Until now, the Air Force has relied on volunteers to fill special-duty roles, but it has struggled to find enough willing airmen. In July, the service switched to a nomination process.

The newly selected airmen were chosen from a pool of roughly 7,500 nominees to serve as military training instructors, recruiters, first sergeants, noncommissioned officer honor guard members, professional military education instructors, career assistance advisers, technical training instructors, NCO Air Force Academy military trainers, military training leaders, and Airmen or Family Readiness Center NCOs.

“They are the best of the best — the first to be handpicked for these roles,” Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody said in a Nov. 12 roll call message. “These airmen will now be in a position to leverage their proven performance across the force. A nomination to a developmental special duty is an honor.”

Here are five things you should know:

1 When the assignments begin. The 1,000 selected airmen will begin permanent change-of-station moves and any required training between April and September 2014.

The assignments will last between two and four years. It is possible to serve another stint in special duties later, but airmen must spend at least four years in their regular jobs after finishing a special-duty assignment so they don’t get rusty.

2 How were airmen chosen? In September, commanders nominated their best performers to serve in these jobs. Commanders and enlisted leaders at the base level then evaluated their airmen. The usual assignment rules applied, such as overseas returnee priority, time on station and assignment eligibility.

Once selected, airmen have 45 days to fill out the application to make sure there have been no changes in their status, and leaders still recommend them, Chief Master Sgt. Sandy Pfeffer, the Air Force’s first sergeant special-duty manager, wrote Nov. 12 on Facebook.

Leaders will review fitness records, enlisted performance reports and other records before final approval, Pfeffer said.

3 What’s in it for me? Airmen earn up to $450 per month in special-duty pay, depending on the assignment. Promotion points are not awarded for these assignments, but Cody said special duties can be looked upon favorably at promotion time.

4 How will training work? The length of training will vary depending on the job. In most cases, the Air Force Personnel Center said, training will be conducted as part of an airman’s transfer to the new duty location.

But a handful of special duties, such as career assistance advisers, are local and won’t require a transfer. Training for those duties will be conducted on a temporary duty, or TDY, status, depending on when seats become available.

5 When is the next round of selections? March. From now on, commanders will nominate their best performers to serve in special-duty assignments every March and September.

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