JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Transitioning from being an enlisted service member to a commissioned officer can be a challenging task, especially when you lack experience in your desired career field.
Joint Base Charleston’s Company Grade Officer’s council established an enlisted-officer shadowing program to alleviate the intimidation of starting a new career field as an officer.
The program is designed to provide the enlisted community at the Joint Base the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a commissioned officer, according to 2nd Lt. Brandon Russell, 628th Communications Squadron flight commander and a prior-enlisted master sergeant.
Russell helped come up with this idea due to prior experiences when he was enlisted as something he wished he had available to him before he commissioned.
“When I joined at 17, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I chose a job based on my recruiter’s recommendation and not from someone in the actual career field,” said Russell, a prior-enlisted master sergeant. “It’s better to give an individual some subject knowledge before they make a big decision.”
The goal of this program is to help those considering making the change from enlisted to officer make an informed decision.
Although the program has only been in existence for two weeks, Russell and the CGO council have assigned nine Airmen to shadow officers.
“Previously, I did my own research on jobs I thought I wanted, but the sites I visited weren’t very informative,” said Nicholas Henning, 437th Maintenance Squadron crew chief. “This program gives a more first-hand experience.”
Other Airmen, like Henning, hope this program pays off when they decide on a commissioned career choice.
“I’m hoping it helps me narrow things down. I had five jobs in mind and now it’s down to around two,” said Henning. “It’s helpful to have this program so people can do research on other career fields in the Air Force.”
“We’re hoping this program gives them a better idea of what they could be doing as an officer,” said Russell. “I did 15 years enlisted and I wish this program was available when I was deciding to commission.”