Officer Training School is a United States Air Force commissioning program held at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. It is a part of Jeanne M. Holm Officer Accession and Citizen Development Center, formerly the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools. The Holmes Center falls under Air University. Air University, in turn, falls under the MAJCOM Air Education and Training Command. The Holmes Center is also in charge of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. The current Commander, Holmes Center(Holmes/CC) is Brig Gen (Select) Teresa A. H. Djuric. The current OTS Commander is Colonel Laura J. Koch.
OTS is usually the second largest commissioning source in the USAF, coming in under ROTC and above the United States Air Force Academy.
OTS is divided into Basic Officer Training (BOT) and Commissioned Officer Training (COT).
Interested applicants typically contact Air Force recruiters. Recruiters will provide application details; they will also schedule applicants for the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT). The test covers numerous batteries, assessing math, verbal, and analytical skills, as well as measuring pilot and navigator potential. To have a reasonable chance at acceptance, either AFOQT scores, college GPA, or previous pilot skills must be noteworthy. Applicants will be given an opportunity to apply for Air Force career fields that correspond with the applicants' expertise or desires. Applicants will be interviewed by active Air Force officers and will receive a medical examination. Applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection by their recruiter. Applicants will enlist via the Delayed Enlistment Program, and will be assigned a class date. BOT is very competitive, with recent boards having selection rates below twenty percent. It is the commissioning source which is used to balance out officer manning as deemed necessary by the Air Force.
BOT is a 13 1/2-week course for college graduates(prior and non prior) pursuing a commission in the USAF or the USAF Reserve. BOT classes are staggered to start approximately every six weeks. During this overlap, the Upper Class officer trainees (OT) are responsible for much of the in-processing and administration of the Lower Class OTs. The class is organized into the OT Wing, OT Squadrons (currently there are three: the Gold Hawks, Hoyas, and Tigers), and OT Flights (one or more per squadron depending on class size). BOT classes are designated by the fiscal year of their graduation (e.g., 04-08 was the eighth BOT class to graduate in fiscal year 2004; 05-01 was the first BOT class to graduate in fiscal year 2005). Upper Class Trainees are given ranks from OT 2nd Lieutenant to OT Colonel. Lower Class Trainees do not have ranks but are referred to as OTs.
Typically, personnel applying to BOT have baccalaureate level degrees in either technical or non-technical fields. Technical fields may include Computer Science, any ABET accredited Engineering degree, and other fields in high demand by the Air Force. Non-technical degrees are more common, and therefore applying with a degree in such a field is very competitive. Applicants can apply for rated or non-rated positions. Rated positions are flying related -- Pilot, Navigator, or Air Battle Manager. Non-rated fall into 2 categories: non-rated ops, such as Intelligence or Weather, and non-rated support, such as Maintenance, Logistics, or Communications.
Areas of instruction include military customs and courtesies, military history, leadership, officership, field exercises, drill and ceremonies, small arms training, and combatives.
The first six weeks of training are geared toward orienting the OT with Air Force standards. The focus is on physical training, drill and ceremonies, and standardization. OTs will be expected to work with their fellow flight and squadron members to accomplish specific tasks as required by their Flight Commander and OT upperclassmen. They will attend classes in an academic environment. During these six weeks a trainee is called an underclassman or a lowerclassman.
The final six weeks of training focus on developing the upperclassmen as leaders and mentors for a new group of underclassmen. During the final weeks of training the trainees attend field training exercises, projects, small arms training, and building team skills by overcoming challenges in a simulated deployment environment.
To graduate, OTs must exceed physical standards (OTs track and train to these standards), academic standards, and military bearing standards. Military bearing includes the ability to write and brief, lead the flight, and perform duties within the OT Wing.
Upon graduation, graduates become Second Lieutenants (O-1 or O-1E if prior enlisted for 4 years and 1 day or more in any branch) in the United States Air Force.
Chaplains, lawyers, and medical personnel go through COT.
Commissioned Officer Training (COT) is responsible for developing medical, legal, and chaplain personnel into professional officers by instilling character, knowledge, and motivation essential to serve in the United States Air Force. The 23d Training Squadron (23 TRS) provides a 23-training day Commissioned Officer Training course to instill leadership and officership skills in newly commissioned medical officers, judge advocates, and chaplains. The 23 TRS also conducts a 13-training day Reserve Commissioned Officer Training (RCOT) program for hard-to-recruit medical officers in the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.
OTS was organized at Medina Annex, Lackland AFB, Texas, in 1959. The first OTS class was composed of 89 trainees, including 11 women. The number of OTS graduates has varied over the years, from 323 the first year to a high of 7,894 officers in 1967. See external links for the complete U.S. Air Force OTS Fact Sheet prepared by the Air University, Dec 2006.
On July 1, 1993, Air Training Command merged with Air University to form Air Education and Training Command. Air University became a direct reporting unit under Air Education and Training Command, and Air Force ROTC realigned under Air University. In February 1997, in an effort to reduce duplication of effort and streamline administrative and reporting procedures within Air University, Air Force ROTC and Officer Training School realigned under the newly created umbrella organization, Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools. This restructuring placed oversight for three-quarters of Air Force officer production under one command, the AFOATS commander—a brigadier general.
In the 1960s, USAF Officer Training School (OTS) at Lackland AFB, TX provided a 90 day program for college graduates to obtain a commission in the Air Force. All participants had enlisted in the Air Force, or were members of the Air Force Reserve or National Guard. The OTS program consisted of physical, academic, and military training. The OTS program went through many organizational and program changes. For example, OTS from Jan to Mar 1964 consisted of 3 groups; Group 1 at the Medina Annex, and Groups 2 and 3 at Lackland AFB. Each OTS class overlapped with 2 others. During the first half of the program, members of class 64-E provided the leadership. During the second half, members of class 64-F led class 64-G. OTS was expanded halfway through Class 64-F when the number of Squadrons per Group was increased from 4 to 6. In addition, the training shifted from lectures to seminars with from 10 to 15 per seminar group. The permanent party members of OTS were Officers and Non-commissioned Officers (NCOs) that administered and conducted the training. Graduates of OTS went on to their initial units or to additional schools for training as pilots, navigators, or communications-electronics officers. All graduates were commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the Air Force Reserve. Distinguished graduates became part of the Regular Air Force within a year. Other AF commissioning programs at this time included the Air Force Academy and ROTC. OTS is now located at Maxwell AFB, AL.