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Thursday, January 7, 2010

OTS 50th anniversary celebration Feb. 5-7

The Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base is preparing for its 50th anniversary Feb. 5-7 and registration is still open.

They're working on putting together a weekend of festivities and opening the campus to former students, instructors and commanders who will return to Maxwell to reminisce.

The first OTS class, Class 60A, graduated in February 1960. In February 2010, a new class of Air Force second lieutenants will be graduating around the same time as the anniversary celebration.

For more information and to register, click here.

Here's my story on the anniversary planning from November. More to come.

Officials at the Officer Training School at Maxwell Air Force Base are planning for the school's 50th anniversary, which is coming up in February.

They're working on putting together a weekend of festivities and opening the campus to former students, instructors and commanders who will return to Maxwell to reminisce.

Capt. Stephen Masternak said they want alumni to visit in February "to see how things have changed, but also how they've stayed the same."

Masternak is an OTS alumnus and is now an instructor at the school.

More than a third of the Air Force's officers have graduated from Officer Training School, housed at Maxwell Air Force Base since 1993.

Officer Candidate School was established in 1942 in Florida. It was moved in 1959 to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, reorganized and was renamed OTS.

OTS came to Maxwell in 1993 as part of an initiative by then Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill McPeak to put all officer education and training programs under Air University.

The number of officers who graduate from OTS varies by year, ranging from as few as 323 when the school opened to as many as 7,894 in 1967. The size of each class is determined by how many officers the Air Force needs and the number of officers the Air Force Academy and ROTC programs are expected to produce.

OTS is one of three routes to becoming an officer. The other two are college ROTC programs and the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

OTS has two programs: Basic Officer Training and Commissioned Officer Training. The basic training is for members with no prior military service or enlisted airmen. The commissioned training is for medical, legal or religious professionals.

Masternak and fellow event planners, Capts. Casey Pombert and Eric Mason, are working to bring the first OTS graduate to become a general and an OTS graduate who spent six years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War to attend next year's events.

The first OTS class, Class 60A, graduated in February 1960. In February 2010, a new class of Air Force second lieutenants will be graduating around the same time as the anniversary celebration, Feb. 5-7.

Pombert said the ceremony on Feb. 5 will be emotional for the participants. They plan to call the names of all the OTS alumni who have been killed in action. Those names will likely be familiar to many at the ceremony, she said.

They're also hoping to link early graduates with those from different eras, including recent graduates, throughout the weekend to compare and contrast experiences.

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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 


As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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