JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The Air Force Reserve has an office whose primary purpose is to provide Airmen valuable information about extending career opportunities after active duty service. The professionals working in these offices are known as in-service recruiters.
The In-Service Recruiting office at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland is run by two recruiters, Master Sgt. Tyrone Graham and Master Sgt. Zachary Nusbaum. Both members are Active Guard Reserve, or AGR, assigned to the Air Force Recruiting Service, which is located at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph.
Here are these recruiter's answers to some important questions about in-service recruiting:
Q: Why does the In-Service Recruiting office exist?
Nusbaum: I like to think of it as we have two different purposes. The first purpose is to help members who are transitioning off active duty to become knowledgeable of the options within the Air Force Reserve. We help guide members through the process of getting out of their contract early and coming over to the Air Force Reserve.
Secondly, we have a duty to our active members to bring awareness of the different programs available by meeting with the first sergeants, chiefs and commanders across the base. These meetings are where we inform all levels of the leadership of the options available to the members that are approaching their expiration – term of service or ETS.
Q: For those who say, "Yes, I want to move over to the Reserve," what is the process?
Nusbaum: The process is relatively simple. The service member would:
- Confirm eligibility for Reserve duty;
- Find a position by contacting the Air Force Personnel Center;
- Contact the gaining unit to confirm position availability;
- Complete medical documentation; and
- Complete other personnel office requirements.
Once approved by all parties involved, we reenlist the member if their military service obligation, or MSO, is less than 90 days, after which, they begin reporting to their new unit.
Q: When does the process start?
Graham: Twelve to 18 months before their ETS, the members receive notification that they need to go to the informational briefing hosted by the Education Office. This briefing brings awareness of the different opportunities available to members. In addition to our portion of the briefing, Skillbridge, the Veterans Administration, and a few other organizations brief on their programs and provide more in-depth information. Usually, this is the first time that we get in front of a service member.
Q: What are the specific programs and guidelines?
Nusbaum: The programs available are Palace Front and Palace Chase. Palace Chase is for members with a remaining military service obligation and who have completed half of their service contract. First-term Airmen must have served a certain minimum commitment. The Palace Front program is for members who have completed their MSO. All of those looking to use either program must send the paperwork through their chain of command for approval.
Q: What do you feel is the return on investment for these programs and how do you gauge when active duty members who transferred over have been a success in the Reserve?
Graham: The biggest return on investment is for the Reserve Command, where, on average, we are saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per person due to not having to expend basic training or technical training dollars. Often, we are bringing over seasoned non-commissioned officers and officers that can come in and fill deficits in a unit. We're able to bring them in as a fully qualified asset, ready to go from the start.
Nusbaum: Our primary goal is to keep someone in the same skill code, however, we do allow members to cross-train. Usually, those are unique situations where we are trying to fill the needs of the Air Force Reserve and still save money. For example, the cyber career fields have a huge deficit. If someone has a top-secret clearance, NSA clearance, and everything like that, those members are desired. The gaining unit is not having to spend the time or money on a security clearance or basic training. Those members can immediately go to technical training to cross-train into their new skillset.
Q: How does a member benefit from not separating from the military and continuing to serve in the Air Force Reserve?
Graham: This is a hard question to answer quickly. There are many benefits across the board for all members who transfer to the Air Force Reserve. We cater each engagement to each member's need and help them figure out the benefits that specifically align with their goals.
Nusbaum: I always talk to applicants about what it is like being a part of the Air Force Reserve family, the networking ability within the Reserve, the camaraderie of being in the military, esprit de corps, and being part of a family. Secondly, I talk about having the Reserve job to fall back on during the member's transition to civilian life, whether it is for a short period or until earning a full military retirement.
Graham: We [recruiters] all volunteer to be here to help people. When people meet with us, whether in our office or around the base, out in the community, or via Zoom, they see that we do care about them. We enjoy what we do and are here to help, whether a member is trying to separate and join the Reserve or not. We are here to help give them the resources they need.
The best way for a service member to contact the In-Service Recruiting office is by calling 210-671-9282 or 210-389-8922. Members are also encouraged to speak with the first sergeant in their unit.
The following members shared their experiences with the JBSA-Lackland in-service recruiters.
"The in-service process to transfer over was pain-free, thanks to an amazing recruiter at JBSA: Master Sgt. Zachary Nusbaum. After serving more than eight years on active duty in the military personnel section, I wanted autonomy to pursue my life and career goals. I joined to serve my country, and I am grateful to continue serving in a new role as a Reserve personnel officer. I was able to hone my discipline and leadership skills in the toughest of times. I feel grateful for those experiences and opportunities to serve my Airmen and teammates.” -- Capt. Maria Settanni, Readiness Integration Organization Det. 8, Stuttgart-Kelly, Germany, personnel officer and civilian emergency medical technician in San Antonio, Texas.
"This process was pretty straightforward, and being able to maintain expertise in my field, along with retaining some benefits, is pretty cool. I knew I would regret entirely separating from the Air Force after ten years of service and would miss the camaraderie. My experience in the Air Force thus far has set me up to succeed in cyber security. With the training, certifications, and experience, I have a skill set that is highly sought after, and I am very grateful to the Air Force and its people." -- Tech. Sgt. Shaun Harvey, JBSA-Lackland, cyber warfare operator and civilian cybersecurity manager in San Antonio, Texas.