Being competitive among your peers

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Paulo Mendez
  • 127th Logistics Readiness Squadron
Several years ago, I posted an article about making yourself competitive for promotion and it laid out six points with short explanations of why it is important to always stand out from your peer group. It also covered topics on being a Technical Expert, Volunteering, Being dependable, Participate, Superior Military Bearing, and displaying a positive Attitude. These are sure to get you out in front and noticed by your Superiors and a good foundation to build from, but now I want to talk about the basic requirements that are mandatory to even be considered for Promotion. I want to talk about PME, PFT, CCAF, and the Air Force Core Values, the true foundation of any successful Airman.

1. Professional Military Education:
We all know that we need it in order to get promoted and it's a requirement before we can even be considered for promotion. So let's review the EPME ILE comprehensive Learning Eligibility, Phases;
A)  Phase 1 EPME, The ALS resident program delivers both basic and comprehensive learning requirements. The ALS DL course is available for ARC Airmen and meets all basic requirements.

B) Phase 2 EPME, NCOA ILE is a resident opportunity that delivers comprehensive learning requirements. This opportunity is available to Airmen, who meet minimum requirements, TIS  eligibility, and are selected for targeted development, ANG Complete & pass ALS (resident or DL), Complete & pass EPME Phase 2 DL, Minimum of 8 years and not more than 14 years  TIS, TSgts are eligible.

C) Phase 3 EPME SNCOA ALE is the advanced resident opportunity that delivers comprehensive learning requirements. This opportunity is available to Airmen; who meet minimum requirements, TIS eligibility, and are selected for targeted development. Complete & pass Phase 3 EPME DL, Minimum of 12 years TIS no more than 18. In-residence selection is extremely competitive with limited seats.

1. SMSgt or MSgts in a SMSgt position
2. MSgt until class seats are filled
3. Selected from NGB internal process

2. Physical Fitness Test:
Four major components of physical fitness are accounted for here: aerobic, body composition, crunches and push-ups. There are minimum requirements for each component that one has to pass in order to qualify. For instance, minimum for males is to be able to do 40 crunches, 33 push-ups and a mile-and-a-half run in 12.5 minutes. For female candidates, they are required 35 crunches, 18 push-ups and a mile-and-a-half run in 14.5 minutes. With the proper amount of training and discipline, most people can attain this ideal state of physical health. Below are some tips on how to train for this demanding and challenging physical fitness test: Members achieving higher than 95% stand out among their peers.

A). Aerobic: To train for the run, you can do jogging while adding sprints. Sprints are particularly important because these will help you run faster naturally. The faster you run, the less energy your body will waste to keep up the pace you need during the test. Simply perform a 50-yard sprint every ¼ mile and combine it with a 100-yard sprint to complete your run. Do some variations by running uphill, which will increase the strength in your leg muscles and aid your stamina.

B). Body composition: To get high points in this area, you need to lose weight and gain muscle. Here's how to do it - eat more protein. Eating more protein will help your body build muscle, which will then improve your body composition. Also, with added muscles, you will be able to burn more calories because of the thermogenesis that occurs when you eat more protein.

C). Crunches: Just try to do as many crunches as possible. If you have already gained weight and are having a hard time doing these, you can always start by doing a small amount of controlled movements, say 20 to 25 reps. Day by day, you can increase the number of reps. Just make sure to rest in between because if you push past your limit, you end up cheating and not getting the full effect of the exercise.
C). Pushups: The same principle applies to pushups as they do to crunches. Just try to do as many pushups as you can. If you think you can't do as many at a time, you can always start from 20 to 25 reps and then do an extra pushup each time you work out.

3.   CCAF:
It's a requirement on active duty, and it's required for the Air Force Reserve, and it's already a requirement for the Air National Guard. It was a unanimous decision of the Enlisted Field Advisory Council for this issue to move forward with the favorable endorsement of the EFAC to support a CCAF degree for promotion to E-8/E-9. The concept of The Community College of the Air Force began evolving in 1970 as a means of gaining accreditation and recognition for Air Force training. Air Force visionaries recognized the need to enhance the skills of NCOs as technicians, leaders, and citizens.

A series of conferences was held in 1971 to discuss the need for increased development of NCOs as managers of Air Force resources. The conferees recommended the founding of an Air Force community college. The college was established in April 1972. Today, the program has grown to include more than just NCOs. As an applied science degree, it means you not only have the book knowledge and book smarts, you also have the experience that goes along with it because you've actually done the job that you have your degree in. We're sorry; no CCAF degree, no promotion.

4. Air Force Core Values:
Our Air Force Core Values serve as our compass and provide the fortified foundation of our service. We abide by a Code of Conduct that captures our resolve, while our Airman's Creed highlights the strength of our diverse Airmen who fly, fight and win as one Air Force. Quotation from "The Little Blue Book".

Understanding the Core Values is relatively easy. The true challenge is to live them. It's a commitment that never ends, and one that always matters. We all have the ability to display integrity, both professionally and personally. We have all placed ourselves in a position to serve a greater purpose. And we all have the innate desire to achieve excellence. Yet there will be moments where living and acting by the Core Values will be challenging. These moments are also opportunities to prove, through our actions, that we truly embody these Core Values. In doing so, we honor the heritage and continue the legacy of those who served before us and sacrificed so much.

It is through this alignment of our actions with these values that we, as an Air Force, earn the public's trust, strengthen our Service, and accomplish our mission. These are the Core Values of our Air Force. Each of these Core Values is further defined by virtues (desired behaviors and characteristics) we must practice and demonstrate in our daily lives, showing we truly do value Integrity, Service and Excellence. Consistently practicing these virtues results in habits of honorable thought and action, producing an Air Force Professional. Air Force Professionalism is a shared belief in, and a commitment to, honorable service based on our Air Force Core Values.

 "As Airmen we step to a higher calling and hold ourselves to the highest standards. We have certain beliefs and truths that strengthen our organization and our nation. At the very heart of this is our Core Values; they are a clear illustration of the price of admission to our Air Force, and the common bond by which we win the fight, strengthen the team, and shape the future. Our values must be much more than words...they must guide us and point us to what is universal and unchanging in our profession of arms. They are the very fabric that bonds our commitment and dedication to duty, honor, country, fidelity and competence."
-- CMSAF James A. Cody
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force