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Officer Training School to celebrate 50th anniversary

Officer Training School to celebrate 50th anniversary

Officer Training School to celebrate 50th anniversary

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The first week of February 2010 will mark the 50th anniversary of Air Force Officer Training School opening its doors, and the staff and students at OTS are planning a celebration.

"The commander of OTS would like to invite interested former OTS students, staff and their guests to attend our 50th anniversary celebration Feb. 5-7 at Maxwell Air Force Base," said Capt. Eric Mason, an OTS flight commander involved in the project.

Capt. Steve Masternak, another OTS flight commander helping with the celebration, said OTS Commander Col. Laura Koch wanted former OTS graduates to have the opportunity to return to OTS to see how things have changed since they were officer trainees.

"We will commemorate 50 years of excellence and the graduation of the class 60A, which was the first class to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School," he said.

Capt. Casey Pombert, OTS student commander, said the school will "start gearing up for the celebration" after the holidays, and the officer trainees, who will arrive in January, will be involved in the anniversary celebration. She said they will participate in the Retreat ceremony, campus tours and, to a smaller extent, in the Gala Dinner on Feb. 6.

"The Retreat ceremony will be pretty emotional for both the OTs and former OTS graduates because we will announce the names of all OTS graduates who have been killed in action. That will make an impression on cadets and bring back memories for OTS graduates, as they may remember some of the names from their classes," she said. "We are also working on a panel discussion segment that OTs will be involved in. Former OTS graduates will mentor students by telling stories of their experiences at OTS."

Captain Pombert said a 5K run, a golf tournament and dedication of the Commissioned Officer Training student dormitory, and possibly the Basic Officer Training student dormitory, will be part of the 50th anniversary celebration.

"We have also invited OTS graduates who reached the rank of general, to include Lt. Gen. Norman Wood of the class of 61A who was the first OTS graduate to be promoted to general, and some former OTS graduates who became Vietnam prisoners of war," said Captain Mason. "We would like to get their memories of their time at OTS."

The Air Force Officer Training School began at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in 1959 with 89 trainees in the class of 60A. The school was a 90-day program of physical, academic and military training designed to transform active duty, Reserve and National Guard enlisted personnel into quality commissioned officers.

In September 1993, OTS moved to Maxwell-Gunter as part of the Air Force Chief of Staff's vision to align all officer education at Air University. OTS merged with the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps in 1997 under the new Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools, and in 2008 AFOATS became the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development. In August 2009, the Air National Guard's Academy of Military Science relocated to OTS from McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tenn., to solidify OTS as the total force training location.

For more information regarding OTS's 50th anniversary celebration, visit the anniversary Web site at www.au.af.mil/au/holmcenter/OTS/50aniv.asp.