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At a career crossroad?

CAAs can help you

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jeffery Weaver, left, 36th Aerial Port Squadron commander, re-enlists Senior Master Sgt. Lanisha Metz and Master Sgt. Steven Carlos, both assigned to the 36th APS. Courtesy photo.

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JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD - Wouldn't it be great to have a resource in your unit or group who can answer your questions about your Air Force career. Questions like, When can I re-enlist? How can I cross-train or get a special duty assignment? How do I gain retainability so I can deploy or promote?

Great news, you do! That person is called a Career Assistance Advisor (CAA).

These positions are appointed as an additional duty at the unit, group and wing levels. The 446th Airlift Wing has six CAAs.

"There are so many ways we help airmen during their Air Force careers," said Master Sgt. Minette Mason, who is one of two CAAs for the 446th Mission Support Group. "But the one thing we want airmen to know is that they can come see us any time and sooner is better when you are up against a re-enlistment deadline."

When approaching re-enlistment, Mason suggests airmen see a CAA at least a year in advance, but preferable 14 months.

About 14 months before an enlistment ends, an airman should receive a Selective Re-enlistment Program, a letter from their unit. It is at this time that an airman would want to speak with their unit or group career advisors to discuss options.

"When airmen wait too close to the end of their term and do not realize the long process that comes with career changes, that's when it becomes difficult to help because we are trying to outrun the clock on a Reserve schedule," said Mason. "During the time we missed with the pandemic, so many airmen came to the end of their term and were then faced with having to make snap decisions and were not able to pursue other options because they waited too long to act."

Mason currently supports 740 Reserve citizen airmen in the mission support group.

"I love this job; it reminds me of the Professional Military Education instructor position I had while I was active duty," said Mason. "Having connections with all the people is very rewarding; I like being able to help so many airmen and also learning from each of their experiences."

If you need assistance, you can contact Mason at 253-982-7485 or the other five CAAs below during UTAs:
446th Operations Group - Master Sgts. Syneva Staley and Christopher Hooper at 253-982-1169/4412
446th Maintenance Group - Senior Master Sgt. Sherri Nordin at 253-982-2377

You can also reach the 446th Airlift Wing career advisor, Master Sgt. Michael Sheehan, at 253-982-1326 weekdays and UTA weekends.

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