DSD assignment process has changed

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — The Developmental Special Duty assignments have seen a major shift in how Airmen are recruited, moving from an application-based process to a vectoring process, with supervisors hand-selecting Airmen for assignments.

However, several DSD programs have encountered some snags during the first three vectoring rounds in the last several months, with vectored Airmen not fully understanding the job requirements. In hopes of overcoming the communication issues for future vectoring cycles, Hill Air Force Base recently hosted a career day showcasing 10 DSD assignments. 

With the first vectoring cycles, the U.S .Air Force Honor Guard was being sent Airmen who were ill-prepared for the physical demands required for the position, and as a result, were sent home, according to Master Sgt. Kelly McKinley, who served with the honor guard for five years. 

Participating in the honor guard means performing up to six funerals per day in all weather conditions, McKinley explained, so Airmen must not have any back, knee, joint or equilibrium problems, and must be able to carry and hold in position an 11-pound rifle, a 45-pound flag or help carry a casket that can weigh up to 800 pounds. 

“It is an extremely physical job, having to stand for an amount of time without moving, and one of the things people don’t realize is all of the marching involved, sometimes up to 4 miles a day,” said McKinley. 

As a result of the career fair, McKinley was able to discuss the honor guard job requirements with supervisors and Airmen. “Now we can make sure they have the right individuals for the right jobs,” McKinley said. 

Master Sgt. Nicole Davison, Flight Chief for the 368th Recruiting Squadron, who set up the Hill AFB DSD Career Fair said the same thing of recruiting. 

“You don’t want to send someone to recruiting that is introverted or has poor time management because you would be setting them up for failure. They need to be outgoing and self-starters,” Davison said. “The intent of vectoring is to find the best of the best, so it is more streamlined now. This career fair is meant to help better educate our supervisors and Airmen for the qualities we are looking for in these specialized duties.”

Since the process is still fairly new, Davison hopes to start implementing DSD career days at Air Force bases across the nation. “We figured if we were having these different issues, then others probably are, too. Because this process is so new, we have to work out the kinks, and this way, we can help educate everyone to make better decisions for their careers,” Davison said.

Master Sgt. Shannon Maycock, with the 75th Comptroller Squadron, attended the fair in hopes of getting answers to questions her fellow Airmen have about certain DSD opportunities. “People have general ideas about these career options, but they may be inaccurate, so we are here to learn more accurately what they entail,” Maycock said. 

In addition to Recruiting and Honor Guard, other DSD assignments represented at the fair were Career Assistance Advisor, Professional Military Education Instructor, Air Force Enlisted Aide, Airmen and Family Readiness Center NCO, Military Training Instructor, First Sergeant, Field Training/Tech-School Instructor, and Military Training Liaison. 

To learn more about various DSD career options, contact Davison at nicole.davison@us.af.mil.