Successful flights, educational plans take similar skills

  • Published
  • By Daniel Scott Eucker
  • 62nd Airlift Wing, Force Development Flight
 Successful flight missions don't happen by chance. They take careful aircraft maintenance, mission planning, accurate flight plans, and crew coordination in flight to meet the demands of a dynamic environment.

Achieving voluntary educational goals takes similar attention-to-detail skills. With the newly released Air Force Tuition Assistance guidelines for fiscal year 2014, Airmen and their first-line supervisors will need to ensure their planning and crew coordination with each other are equally dedicated and proactive.

Whether you are just starting to capture your educational goals and degree plan in the updated version of the Air Force Virtual Education Center system, or on final approach to earn your Community College of The Air Force associates degree, or higher, I highly encourage you to use all available means at your disposal. Your school administrators, our talented McChord Field counselors and the tutorials posted in AFVEC are available to help you plot and officially file your course to make the most of your TA benefits.

Do not assume your supervisor (or your significant other, for that matter) can read your mind. Let them know how important reaching your next educational checkpoint is, and be prepared to articulate what you are doing to balance your academic goals with completion of career development courses, professional military education requirements, and the mission.

Supervisors are now fully integrated in the TA request coordination process to ensure you are eligible, that you meet Air Force standards, your request is reasonable, and that the timing does not conflict with the mission or your other career development needs.

Supervisors, you should be realistic, fair and consistent when reviewing every TA request. You're not expected to be a guidance counselor, but setting a good example, and being readily accessible for your Airmen to discuss their educational plans will go a long way to set them, and you, up for success.