Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Form 53

Just got done filling out my Form 53. For those of you who don't know, the Form 53 is the form that AFROTC cadets use to list their preferred AFSC (Air Force Specialty Code, same thing as an MOS; basically, your job in the military) and, after they get their AFSC, their preferred base assignment. Of course, all of this is quite subject to the "needs of the Air Force," so you may or may not get what you put on your sheet. This of course is also subject to your performance grades wise and other wise, which are reflected in your GPA, your commander's ranking, and your commander's endorsement (or lack thereof) of your first AFSC choice. Here's what I put down for AFSCs:

14NX – Intelligence

31PX – Security Forces

21RX – Logistics Readiness

35PX – Public Affairs

13MX – Air Traffic Control

21MX – Missile Maintenance

In my case, between a low GPA, a low commander's ranking (due to several reasons, not the least of which is the low GPA), and an almost certain lack of a commander's endorsement on my first AFSC choice due to low grades, my chances of getting anything on my sheet are slim to none. Intel is a relatively large number of accessions this year, but it also is the first or second choice of a lot of people. Security Forces does not have a large number of accessions, and Logistics Readiness is medium sized at best. The other three are extremely small and were put down because I wouldn't hate getting assigned to them and to maximize my chances of getting one of the top three.

The thing that, while not pissing me off, is somewhat galling is the fact that I'm being punished pretty heavily for changing majors so late. First, since the GPA for the Form 53 was cut off after last semester's grades, the GPA being used for classification actually will have more semesters as an engineering student than what I'm actually getting my degree in, political science. While there's nothing that anyone can do about that, it does just seem fundamentally wrong. Going along with that, my GPA overall is a 2.9. My GPA as a political science major is a 3.3. However, none of that will be taken into account. Like I said, I'm not pissed off because it's a result of choices I made and, while it may not be fair, life isn't fair.

What does piss me off is the AFROTC recalculation of GPAs. ISU has particular standards that they use to calculate what does and does not go on your GPA. Things like transfer credits and retakes are what this covers. For example, if you're like me and you retook a class, the old grade is wiped off your GPA and the new grade is put in place. However, AFROTC has its own standards, so to use the retake example, both grades are factored equally into the GPA. In my case, what this means is that a 2.9 GPA, that, while not stellar, is at least respectably close to the 3.0 informal cutoff used to determine "bad" GPAs from "good" ones, is instead for the purposes of AFROTC a 2.78, which is somewhere between "marginal" and "bad." (But at least not below minimums.)

On top of all that, my three semesters as an engineer gave me enough technical credits to be qualified for a Comm job, which I really do not want. Typically Comm is where people are sent who are qualified but who miss out (for whatever reason) on the jobs they wanted on the Form 53. Not to slam Comm officers, but I really don't want it and my chances of getting sent there are pretty high.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, because there are a lot of people I know who aren't going to get to commission period, so I'm lucky to have made it this far. Still, it's always a little depressing to get the smack down that occurs when what you want and what is realistic start to rapidly diverge.

However, nothing is set in stone and even if something bad happens, it's not like I don't have a history of taking bad news from the Air Force, so that won't be anything new.

However, if I get personnel or *shudders*, services, otherwise known as the "here's your towel/would you like fries with that/how was your stay" AFSC...

Better Army Strong (and stupid) than a true (ch)Air Force job!