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Wing Commander Q&A: Course 14/15, Blended Retirement System and Turkey

  • Published
  • By Col. Laura Lenderman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing Commander

Here is the next round of Q&As from my most recent Commander’s Call.

I posted these responses and previous Q&A to our wing Sharepoint site and our public website,, for future access and review.

Please keep the questions coming!




Are there any improvements coming for Course 14/15 since the fail rate is so high? Are there any home base courses available?

Great question! Air University consistently reviews distance learning course materials and corresponding test questions and adapts materials and test questions based on course analysis which includes reviewing commonly missed questions/subject areas. The challenge Air University faces with the current fail rate analysis is that many service members are enrolling and immediately attempting to “test out” of the course without having studied the course materials. The process of “trial and error” testing is skewing the fail rate data. Following the initial test failure and a commitment to study, the preponderance of enrollees successfully complete the course.

In addition, effective July 1, Air University deactivated Course 14v6 and replaced it with the new Senior Noncommissioned Officer Distance Learning Course (SNCO DLC); activation of the new SNCO DLC was done after undergoing extensive test analysis. Airmen currently enrolled in Course 14v6 will be able to either complete the course (Sept. 30, 2017) or they can dis-enroll and enroll in the new SNCO DLC.

As for NCO DLC [Course 15], the course is continually being reviewed by Air University, and they will make course adjustments as required.

Group study for PME is allowed; however, it must be accomplished in accordance with AFI 36-2301 and Air University NCOA and SNCOA Distance Learning Student Handbooks (Academic Affairs Handbook 36-14 and 36-15). In addition, study skills courses are taught by both the Career Assistance Advisor and the Education Center.


What is your view on the blended retirement system? Do you believe it is better than the current system in place?

Thank you for your question. Beginning in 2018, the new blended retirement system will provide more options for our military members especially those that will not stay a full 20-years in the service. The new plan includes automatic and matching Thrift Savings Plan contributions as well as mid-career compensation incentives plus a monthly annuity for life.

While all service members under the current system are grandfathered into today’s retirement system, those who entered the service after Jan. 1, 2006 have the option to “opt-in” to the new system. The 375th Force Support Squadron has a dedicated team of Financial Counselors at the Airman and Family Readiness Center who can explain in more detail the benefits of the new blended retirement system. As each service member’s financial and retirement plans are unique, our financial planners are in the best position to provide financial guidance based on independent and unique circumstances. The plan does have advantages for some service members, and I would highly recommend talking to a Financial Counselor to discuss whether or not those eligible should opt in to the new plan.


What is the status of our troops in Turkey? What is being done for them? What can we do to help?

As you can appreciate, the situation in Turkey is dynamic and of concern to our military and government leaders due to the number of U.S. forces in the country and Turkey’s vital role as a regional partner and a member of NATO. Due to security concerns, the DoD announced last week that all permanent duty assignments to Turkey will now be one-year, unaccompanied tours. The DoD currently has about 3,700 service members and civilian employees in Turkey, including 2,700 at Incirlik AB. Team Scott does have personnel deployed in the area, and we have been in contact with their leadership and, as expected, they are caring for our team members. If you have co-workers in your unit deployed to Turkey or any other location around the world and you wish to help, we encourage you to work with your Unit Deployment Managers and Squadron leadership to verify their location and contact info and perhaps you could send care packages, letters, or small gifts. I’m certain that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your concerns and offer of assistance.




When will the Fitness Center upgrade be completed?

We’re excited about the new upgrades to the Fitness Center, and we appreciate your patience as we complete the final renovation projects this fall. In the near term, starting this week, contractors will begin removing the old floor, laying a new subfloor, installing the new floor, and installing new fitness center equipment. This project will be complete in mid-December.

In addition, we’re upgrading the front service counter and painting the interior/exterior of the facility. The current plan is to paint the 1st floor of the facility, and once the roof and walls are free of leaks, paint the 2nd floor. We’ve also upgraded what we offer to our customers, through a unique community partnership initiative.

Starting in October, the local YMCA will be offering yoga at the Fitness Center. If you are interested, please contact the Fitness Center at 256-1218. The cost is $10 per class, which is approx. $3 cheaper that what is being offered off-base. We are always looking at better ways to serve our customers and appreciate your patience as we work through the upgrades to our Fitness Center.


Can we bring back the Aero Club?

Unfortunately, there is no plan to bring back the Aero Club. For a number of years, Scott operated an Aero Club and was fortunate to have hangar space provided by the Wing. However, a series of events impacted the operation of the Aero Club.

In 2011, the Aero Club office space was destroyed by a wind storm. The building was on the “to be demolished” list so it could not be replaced. The next year, our only twin engine airplane was damaged beyond repair by snow removal actions. A complete study was made of the club, available resources, facilities, planes, and the financial situation.

Club membership had been declining over the last 5 years, resulting in less than 100 members. It was determined then, current membership didn’t allow enough revenue to fund club operations and keep the aircraft in repair. There are opportunities to fly at the local regional airports, and if you’re interested in more information on civilian flying programs, please let me know.