AFI 36-2626 Airman Retraining Program is your foundational guidance for retraining eligibility. Ensure you understand career decisions that may affect your eligibility to retrain (e.g. accepting re-enlistment bonuses, rank, OCONUS assignment timing, etc).
On MyPers under the retraining tab, reference the memo: ‘Clarification of Crossflow/Retraining Policy for Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR) and Combat Support Candidates.’ This memo states that any Airmen that meet cross-training and eligibility requirements may pursue cross-training into Special Warfare operator or support career fields. This memo largely addresses candidates that were having difficulty being released from their original AFSC’s Career Field Manager (CFM) due to having their own manning issues. The memo also states that First Term Airmen may retrain as early as their 24th month of their current enlistment. Members serving in overseas assignments will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending upon their DEROS. The ‘meat’ of the memo:
“AFSPECWAR and Combat Support career fields, any Airman who meets initial qualifications will be released from their current career field to pursue crossflow/retraining regardless of manning levels within their current career field. First Term Airmen may apply for retraining under this policy no earlier than the first duty day of the month during which they complete 24 months of their current enlistment. If an Airman does not pass initial qualifications such as the Phase 2 one week pre-assessment course, or the Airman does not pass their approved Special Warfare training pipeline, the Airman will be reinstated into their prior career field without prejudice. Members serving in overseas assignments will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending upon their DEROS. Final approval of exceptions to policy will be retained at AF/A1PT.
The AFSPECWAR and Combat Support AFSCs covered under this policy are Special Tactics Officer (13CX), Combat Rescue Officer (13DX), Tactical Air Control Party Officer (13LX), Pararescue (1Z1X1), Combat Control (1Z2X1), Tactical Air Control Party (1Z3X1), Special Reconnaissance (1Z4X1), Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (1T0X1), and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (3E8X1).“
Additionally, The Air Force Enlisted Classification Directory (AFECD) contains descriptions and requirements for each enlisted career field. Some AFSCs will specifically list total service and rank requirements for retraining. Ensure you meet the requirements and plan ahead so you don’t bust any rank or time limits.
Go to MyPERS and click on the ‘Apply for Retraining’ link. Inside, go to: ‘Online myPers Retraining Advisory and Retraining Advisory Notes‘ to see how many slots are available. Note: This quota listing for Special Warfare slots in the past has not always been accurate. The career field AETC Functional is ultimately the guy that has the best handle on how many slots are available.
Next, check out the Enlisted Classification Directory (ECD) and look at the retraining requirements for the career field you are interested in as well as ECD Attachment 4 for additional requirements. Some of the requirements you’ll want to keep an eye on are ASVAB score, Time In Service limit, Rank limits, among others. The ECD is available on the AF portal by doing a simple search.
Expect to need these documents for submittal:
-CC recommendation letter
-Special Warfare Medical Physical (med reqt details on this page)
-Completed PAST Test (more info here)
-Form 125a (if applicable; see note)
Note: The Form 125a is applicable if you have attended Indoc or A&S at a prior date and failed or quit. The 125a is a record of your release from the course. To request your Form 125a from the Special Warfare Training Squadron registrar, email SWTSS.email@example.com
-Your local base career assistance adviser is your advocate for retraining. Each installation has a career assistance adviser and some have more than one. These guys have access to AFPC and AETC subject matter experts and can guide you through the process of retraining and interpreting the AFI.
-Unit First Sergeant and Chief Master Sergeants are largely put in place to assist airmen with issues that they encounter throughout their career. Many young airmen may be hesitant to reach out to their senior grade Chief and Shirt, but these guys have built local and Air Force wide relationships and know how to reach out to people directly to get things done.
–Special Warfare MilSuite (CAC Enabled Access Only). Basic Q&A information for Special Warfare retrainee candidates.
Once AFPC has accepted your crosstrain package, you can expect to receive an email notification from the career field you are applying for. Crosstrainees inherently have a higher level of discrimination placed against them. They are expected to be leaders in a multitude of disciplines- physical, mental and leading others. Retrainees will be notified by AETC when they are chosen for a class date. Due to a backlog of applicants and class size restrictions, notifications may be delayed.
NOTE: As of Oct 2020, Special Warfare no longer conducts Phase II assessments for Pararescue, Combat Control or Special Reconnaissance candidates. Selected individuals will proceed to Special Warfare Prep, and then onto A&S.
TACP Phase I
TACP candidates participate in a Phase I package review which includes a phone interview with current TACP headquarters staff. TACP candidates should prepare extensively for the Phase I similarly to how they would prepare physically for a Phase II assessment. Retrain slots for TACP are extremely limited and qualified candidates are abundant, so all TACP retrain slots are competitive. A candidate must set themselves apart from the rest by writing and speaking with precision and thought that will set you apart from the crowd. Your PAST scores must also reflect your excellence above and beyond. Questions to consider:
-What makes TACP unique that you specifically have interest in it and not other operator AFSCs?
-Why should the career field consider selecting you for TACP assessment above other candidates?
-What are your strengths and weaknesses? And how will you use these attributes effectively as a crosstrainee?