OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Deciding your next phase in life can be a difficult decision to make. Like driving in traffic, every Active-Duty military member will one day encounter a career fork in the road.
You can either ‘cruise control’ on a familiar route by remaining in the Active-Duty lane, or merge to transition into the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve path, the latter showing ‘road work ahead’ signs as the lane turns into rocky, unpaved asphalt.
As the ‘contract term’ road ends, a commitment must be made – one that’s hard to detour from once passed. Luckily, one Airman acts as a GPS for transitioning Airmen as the sole in-service Air Force recruiter on the Korean Peninsula – who loves to help make people’s career dreams come true.
“As a reservist myself, I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of transitioning from Active-Duty status to the Air Force Reserve,” said Master Sgt. Lissy Singleton, a Pacific Air Forces in-service recruiter who entered the service as a personnelist. “My job is to recruit and assist separating Active-Duty members and inform them of the Air Force Reserve’s benefits. It’s rewarding to help other people accomplish the ability to still serve while having the flexibility and time to pursue their own personal and career goals.”
Separating members are one visit to the second floor of Osan’s building 745 in-service recruiting office away from taking the first step towards their goal. After an initial meeting, Singleton can coordinate the paperwork and actions required to best equip Airmen to make educated decisions along their transition process. Once a goal is determined, she weighs member’s options through several programs.
Palace Front allows members that have a year out separation date with matching Date Estimated Return from Overseas (DEROS) and Date of Separation (DOS) time frames to transfer to the Reserve within six months of that date. Palace Chase allows members without a separation date to leave active-duty service and join the Reserve. If they’ve completed at least half of their enlistment contract, they can transfer into certain career fields, based on manning needs.
For Staff Sgt. Barry Tuck, a former 51st Maintenance Squadron transient alert crash recovery team lead who is transitioning to be an Equal Opportunity specialist, having Singleton’s help has been life-changing.
“After serving eight years as an aircraft mechanic, I wanted a change – working in a customer service environment where I could serve others,” said Tucker. “I was committed to making a career change, and the Air Force Reserve seemed like a promising opportunity after speaking to Master Sgt. Singleton,” Tuck added. “Her friendly approach and ability to provide an easy line for communication was very helpful. I would, and have, recommended her to all of my peers that want to make a career change.”
For individuals who want to be like Tuck, Singleton is ready to step in and assist. Although she relishes the opportunity to help others on a new path, she admits the transition’s unique challenges.
“Going from Active-Duty to being a civilian is a huge lifestyle change,” said Singleton. “Everything changes, whether it’s making connections and just missing that military camaraderie -- it’s different. In the Reserve, you can still have that military connection and have time to be more family-oriented and accomplish personal goals like school that you maybe couldn’t pursue on full-time Active-Duty status.”
Interested participants looking to keep serving while attaining a new career or goal can contact Singleton at DSN 315-784-3711 or on her work cell at 010-6690-4427.