By Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
A new briefing on Schriever Air Force Base highlighting opportunities to move from the enlisted corps to the officer corps received a large turnout Friday.
The briefing is the brain child of 2nd Lt. Jason Gabrick, a prior-enlisted U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, who originally started briefing academy options at the First Term Airmen Center. After inquiring about what other programs might be available to enlisted members, he found much of the information was spread out and sometimes difficult to obtain.
“It’s important to get the information about these programs out there,” said Gabrick. “Between the various programs within Officer Training School, ROTC and the Academy, there are so many different routes to commission that it can feel like an information overload when you’re deciding what’s right for you.”
To combat that information overload, Gabrick put together Stripes to Bars, a program that brings all that information to one place. Attendees are provided the chance to find a path that best fits them, if there is one, and then split off and ask questions after the main portion of the brief.
“Stripes to Bars was designed to be a panel-like briefing where prior-enlisted company grade officers from every commissioning source could share their experience as well as the particular requirements of the different avenues available to the enlisted corps,” he said.
The experiences of the 16 company grade officers making up the panel were motivators to 44 attendees. Of those, 30 were first term Airmen.
“It’s one thing to read about a program on some sheet of paper somewhere,” said Gabrick. “It’s another thing to have someone standing in the same room who has accomplished what you want to accomplish.”
One of the briefers who volunteered their time was 1st Lt. Adrian Law, a prior-enlisted member who spent 10 years recruiting, prior to commissioning through Officer Training School.
“Sometimes knowledge is half the battle,” he said. “We were able to provide and clarify information that may have not been otherwise available. Seeing 40-plus outstanding enlisted Airman seeking out knowledge regarding commissioning was great and we may see a number of those individuals commission at some point.”
Law also explained that some programs are better suited for individuals than others due to age and family restrictions and pay considerations.
“I really appreciated the face to face communication,” said Staff Sgt. Sharri Peters, who attended the briefing. “Each individual provided detailed and personal information that the websites could not. This allowed me to mentally put myself in their shoes to see if one day it would fit me. Like every program they all have their transitioning phases and, needless to say, pros and cons to follow.”
The Stripes to Bars brief will take place quarterly based on expressed interest. The next briefing is slated for the end of June this year. For more information, contact Gabrick at 567-5040.