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Dagger Point: New changes to the special duty program

"I really like the portion where the supervisors are required to approve the military tuition assistance because it encourages supervisors to get involved and be aware of what their Airmen are doing.  I also appreciate the fact that tuition assistance will be denied to individuals with UIFs, referral EPRs and those on control rosters.  Tuition assistance is a benefit and it encourages the Airmen who are consistently doing the right thing to focus on the whole Airman concept." - Master Sgt. Angela Womack, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) First Sergeant.

Master Sgt. Angela Womack is the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) First Sergeant. She began her 18-year career as an Aerospace Medical Technician. In addition to holding a variety of positions in the medical career field, she has also served as the Professional Military Education Instructor for Airman Leadership School and the Family Readiness non-commissioned officer-in-charge for Wright-Patterson AFB. She became a First Sergeant in 2010 and arrived here in July after completing a short-tour at Kunsan AB, South Korea as the First Sergeant for the 8th Maintenance Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Heather Redman/Released)

11/20/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Master Sgt. Angela Womack is the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) First Sergeant. She began her 18-year career as an Aerospace Medical Technician. In addition to holding a variety of positions in the medical career field, she has also served as the Professional Military Education Instructor for Airman Leadership School and the Family Readiness non-commissioned officer-in-charge for Wright-Patterson AFB. She became a First Sergeant in 2010 and arrived here in July after completing a short-tour at Kunsan AB, South Korea as the First Sergeant for the 8th Maintenance Squadron.

Question: What are some of the new changes to the special duty program?

Womack: I would say that the major change is that the program is going to allow leadership and commanders to nominate their top performing Airmen for the special duty positions.

Question: What are some of the special duty assignments and how many are there?

Womack: There are 10 special and T-prefix duties that have been identified as enlisted development positions. A few of them are training instructors, airman and family readiness noncommissioned officers, enlisted accessions recruiter, professional military instructors and honor guard noncommissioned officer positions.

Question: Do you think that the changes are positive?

Womack: I think that the changes are definitely positive. We're going to start noticing a little more who our superior performers are -- those who not only excel at their specialty but also at positions outside of it. I think if you are going to stay in the Air Force and make it a career then you should be interested in this program. The Air Force is moving in a positive direction to select those who truly want to make a positive impact on our future Airmen.

Question: Having done quite a few special duties yourself what has been your favorite and why?

Womack: Without a doubt it's been my current position as a First Sergeant. Having the opportunity to help Airmen and their families with situations and being able to see the impact I've made on them is what makes it so rewarding. At a previous base, one of the sections went out as an office for lunch and returned and noticed that one of the Airmen was acting very strange, which was very different behavior for this person. They then noticed that this Airman was missing and had not been seen for awhile, and located him while he was attempting to harm himself. I was able to intervene and be there with the Airman as he received medical attention as well as during his journey to reintegration into the work place.

Question: Do you have any advice for Airmen on the special duty program?

Womack: We all have our own comfort zones and at times we may not want to step outside of them, but just remember that being selected by your leadership for these positions is an honor and truly shows the faith that your leadership has in you. We also must remember that "Service Before Self" tells us that professional duties take precedence over personal desires.

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