By Billy Blankenship, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published November 01, 2021
Air Force Noncommissioned Officers (NCOs) will have the opportunity to directly influence the development of future officers with the release of a new Special Duty.
The new Special Duty Identifier 8B300, ROTC Training Instructor, places NCOs as enlisted mentors at one of the service’s 145 Reserve Officer Training Corps detachments.
Currently, only NCOs in the personnel and administration career fields serve at detachments. The new training instructor position allows enlisted cadre to be a deliberate part of the detachment mentorship team and opens the duty to all career fields.
“We wholeheartedly believe expanding the applicant base will provide cadets with firsthand observation of what the enlisted force is capable of and their vital role in the world’s greatest Air Force,” said Chief Master Sgt. Nichole Dunton, the senior enlisted leader at Headquarters AFROTC. “AFROTC is the only officer accessioning source that does not utilize its noncommissioned officers in a training role. Opening the applicant base to other career fields provides diversity, inclusion and experiences that will enhance the overall training of our cadets and improve cadet and officer and enlisted cadre interaction.”
Selected NCOs will engage with cadets in and out of the classroom, enabling them to shape the future officer corps.
“Aside from the new nomenclature and a more active presence in the classroom, other duties of an 8B300 will include serving as the detachment key enlisted leader and advisor to the detachment commander on cadet academics, professional development programs, military training and discipline,” Dunton said. “They will also be charged with promoting the health, welfare and morale of cadets, while providing oversight for a myriad of administrative tasks, such as enlisted commissioning program students, cadet contracting, commissioning, and extended active duty programs while at the detachment. They will also fill a leadership role while supporting AFROTC field training.”
The new position gives cadets insight to different enlisted career fields as they progress through the commissioning program. Having NCOs with various backgrounds and experiences will aid in guiding them through their available career options. “We are looking for unique and diverse expertise and skillsets. The varied eclectic and multifaceted enlisted capabilities benefit them while in the AFROTC program, and will follow them into their Air Force and Space Force careers,” Dunton said.
Beta testing was conducted last year to conceptualize the new opportunities for NCOs and detachments. AFROTC sent eight enlisted members already working in the field through the United States Air Force Academy’s Academy Military Training (AMT) course, which prepares enlisted members to serve in leadership roles at the academy. Adopting similar principals, but molding for AFROTC specific needs generated the 8B300 opportunity.
“Through the 8B3 beta test, I feel like I have been given the opportunity to sharpen the tip of the spear,” said Master Sgt. Tony Thomas, a graduate of the beta test and current sub-region superintendent for Detachment 605 at North Carolina A&T State University. “I am in direct contact with and mentor cadets that will be future Air Force and Space Force leaders. I have the chance to share my experiences with them and mold them into leaders that I will be proud to serve with. As an ROTC Training Instructor, I have the ability to provide young adults with the tools that shaped my career and guide them on their journey to become the best person and the best Airman or Guardian they can be. It all started with a simple question, ‘why not.’”
The Air Force Specialty Code 8B300 will be included in the Air Force Enlisted Classification Directory to be published on Oct. 31, 2021. It will detail eligibility criteria and application requirements for fall 2022 reporting dates. Airmen with questions before applying can contact the 8B300 special duty manager at (334) 953-2278 (DSN 493) or email at AFROTC.SEL.WORKFLOW@US.AF.MIL.