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DD368 from Active Duty to NG AOCS - Timeline?

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  • DD368 from Active Duty to NG AOCS - Timeline?

    I'm currently an Active Duty Staff Sergeant assigned to the Military District of Washington (MDW). I just hit my 8 year mark and will ETS in late 2015. I have a job lined up that starts in October 2015, and would like to commission into the PA NG and complete all required training (hopefully AOCS/BOLC) before I start. Therefore, I will be requesting a DD368 Conditional Release from my unit to separate early in order to complete the commissioning process in the NG. I wonder if someone can help me with the following questions:
    -In order to attend AOCS in early 2015, when would I need to start the application process for a NG commission?
    -Is there a board review similar to the USAR, and if so, when does the board meet?
    -How difficult is it to obtain a preferred branch? I spent three years in the Cav and would like to go back to Armor; there is a Cav unit in PA. Is preferred selection a feasibility?
    -Will I enlist under a 09S contract THEN submit a packet, or will I submit the packet, then enlist only if selected?
    -Finally, for those who may be familiar with the DD368 process, do you have any insights on various challenges involved with the process?
    As far as getting a packet together, I have a close working relationship with my command & security office, and plenty of on-site clinics to facilitate a spur-of-the-moment commissioning physical, so I have no doubt that I could put all the paperwork together from my end within two weeks or so.

  • #2
    Folks I accidentally posted this thread twice due to connection issues - my apologies to the Mods.


    • #3
      I highly doubt you will require a DD368 to go from active to NG. I have done it from NG to active and seen people do it from active to active (enlisted Marine accepted to AD Warrant Officer). I think when its time to ACAP, that you also start talking to an PANG recruiter. You have lots of time.


      • #4
        Like Chief, I have not heard of 368's being used to leave AD status early...although I can't discount the possibility.

        You can simply enlist into the PANG (in whatever MOS you hold) and then express an interest in OCS via the State's OSM office. The OSM will determine your suitability from the minimum Federal commissioning standards and whatever (if any) vetting they perform locally. Don't get wrapped around the axle with a "09S contract". That is really a non-prior service process. All you need to do is enlist in the PANG and start communicating with the R&R OSM office. I can't speak for how PA does branching. Some states use a OML, others use a first come first serve basis...again, the OSM can answer those questions. Don't worry about Chapter 2 physical, or performing anything other than source paperwork for the AD community. PA, like every other state, has a system in place. Just make contact and go from there. It's not as complicated as you might think.


        • #5
          Perhaps there's another solution to consider. With your chain of command's permission, you may attend traditional National Guard OCS (18 month part-time program) while currently on active duty. Our OCS is a school in ATRRS, like any other. Since most of the work happens on the weekend, it may not affect your duty schedule (although depending on your job, it might). Depending on how the schedules work out, this may be your best option for the smoothest transition. If you complete OCS while still on active duty, you would get an NGB89 (certificate of eligibility) and defer commissioning until your ETS (for up to 24 months). While this sort of thing isn't common, it isn't unprecedented either. Some National Guard AGR Soldiers do this, in order to make themselves eligible to apply for a projected warrant officer vacancy.

          Alternately, you could simply request an early release from active duty in order to pursue your life's plans. With the drawdown happening, you may find it easier to get an early release than in the past. You wouldn't have a DD368, which is a conditional release, you'd get an actual release. For best results, coordinate with PAARNG, and ensure the transition point transfers you to the PAARNG, and not to the IRR, or discharges you completely. Otherwise, it's more paperwork nuisances.

          Since PAARNG has such a big force structure, they've got pretty much every branch. The questions remain of where those positions are (because do you want to drive 400 miles to drill?), and whether you'll get one (since they have plenty of other new lieutenants every year from other sources). That's a question for PA's OSM.

          Others have mentione the chapter 2 physical. Also look at your security clearance (if you have one), as well as your awards and other records to ensure they are accurate and complete. It will get 100 times harder to fix once you separate.


          • #6
            That is interesting information that the LTC provided. I never heard of that even being an option to attend traditional while on AD.. Excellent info.


            • #7
              Thank you all for the feedback; I appreciate the time and effort spent answering my questions.

              Chief - I previously hadn't heard of anyone using a DD368 for leaving AD either, but both the NG and Reserve recruiters I spoke with stated that it would be used for my packet. Also, I saw another forum post where a seemingly credible source said despite the fact that the discharge is under another program (per AR 635-200: Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations), the DD368 would still be used to process the commissioning application. That being said, I was hoping to leave AD 12 months in advance so I could try to knock out OCS/BOLC and still retain my current civilian job timeframe, which is October 2015. Another option available to me is to apply to WOCS; my current MOS is 35L which is a feeder MOS. What are your thoughts on Warrant vs. OCS in the Guard?

              Mongoose - Thanks for the feedback. My recruiter did assure me that he could enlist me under an OCS contract, and I would basically drill until my school date. If this information is true, I would prefer to go that route instead of a simple enlistment, especially since I probably can't DD368 unless it is for the purpose of commissioning.

              LTC Ritchie - Thank you for the feedback sir, I've read some of your input in these forums over the years, and kind of wondered if you were still around here to answer questions; glad to see you indeed are. Attending traditional OCS while still AD is a fascinating option, which I didn't know was a possibility. Would it therefore be a possibility to attend AOCS while active duty? If my command is unwilling to release me 7-12 months early, perhaps they would be amenable to a compromise and let me attend 8 weeks of training. Also, is there typically a long waiting list for BOLC slots? I would hope to complete all requisite training as quickly as possible, if I'm accepted for a commission. Also, in talking to my recruiter and from what I've read, I'm under the impression that AOCS candidates need to attend four monthly drills to prep for AOCS. Therefore, if I were to register for AOCS, I would need to be out of AD and in the NG four months prior to the AOCS start date - can you clarify and/or offer any insight on this? Finally, you mentioned that I would simply be released from AD rather than conditionally released; can you elaborate on this? Based on everything I've read and heard, a conditional release form would need to accompany any commissioning packet I submit.

              Thanks to each of you again for your feedback; I look forward to learning more about the ARNG.


              • #8
                Scout, I am active duty (Title 10) like you and PCSing this week. I became a Warrant on Active and do not know the pros and cons in the NG. You will have to contact the WO Strength Manager on your eligibility for their WO program. I was NG for six years but returned back to active and will be retiring on active duty. I have a couple of my NCOs that are ETSing next year and they will only get an early out for school and whatever they have for terminal/transition leave. Perhaps, you can kill two birds with one stone but I highly doubt about the AOCS option because who will pay for that? Your unit won't. I think traditional will make the better sense; or even what Mongoose stated which was to wait until you already transferred over to the PANG as an enlisted. I would really like to meet or hear someone who went traditional that was still on title 10 active duty. Especially if you are a Soldier stationed at Bragg and want to join the California Guard. Can you do traditional at a state that you are currently stationed in with the notion that you will be an officer at another state? I know PA is much closer to DC but many times, you have to show up on Friday night at 1930 to start.
                Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; November 24th, 2013, 01:24 PM.


                • #9
                  1. The Chief mentioned the likely objection to your commander sending you to ARNG AOCS, named who will pay for travel & TDY? For traditional OCS, it would basically come out of your hide, and be "free" to the unit (although you should insist that your command issue you a Permissive TDY order on a DA30, to account for your presence at the school, in case of a tragedy).
                  2. Becoming a WO has several advantages, inasmuch as you know your career field before you start the process. The 35-series WO field is very understrength across the Total Army, so I'm confident without even looking that you'll have a vacancy in PA, a state with three maneuver brigades and a division HQ. As a lieutenant, you have no guarantee of your branch. The WO field is much more straightforward, and you'd be filling a hard-to-fill position.
                  3. The Guard runs a part-time WOCS program as well, which is a bit shorter than OCS, so the suggestion on completing that while still on active duty remains valid.

                  I recommend that you run through this scenario with the OSM in Pennsylvania, to align the timelines. You can also get a predetermination from the MI Branch Proponent, to demonstrate your eligibility for appointment in any of the 35-series WO MOS for which you wish consideration (you may apply for more than one, if you meet qualifications).


                  • #10
                    Thanks Gentlemen,
                    Warrant sounds interesting and is something I'll consider, but I think OCS would end up benefitting me more in a long-term sense. I'm going to explore this option of doing traditional OCS while still on active duty, and will sit down with my command in the next few weeks to discuss my options regarding early separation. I'm in a joint agency and my director is a CW3, and the commander is USAF so it's a very unique situation. Hopefully, in the event that a DD368 is required, a USAF officer's signature will suffice.

                    I do have three more questions, if you all would indulge me: First, is a direct commission completely out of the question for the NG? I spoke with a Reserve career counselor who offered to process an ODC packet for me, and I wonder if there is an equivalent in the NG? Second, in order to attend AOCS in early 2015, when would I need to begin the paperwork/application process, and if selected for AOCS, could I possibly defer enlistment to my school date? Finally, what is the timeframe of the part-time WOCS program, and is there a RC WOBC program as well? My biggest concern with attending 4+ months of school is that after October 2015 I'll have a good year or so where I won't be able to leave for more than maybe two or three weeks at a time due to my civilian career. Thanks again.
                    Last edited by ScoutsOut; November 24th, 2013, 04:12 PM.


                    • #11
                      I have not heard of a WOBC site for a reserve component. My advance course starts in six weeks and its half full with NG and AR Warrants. You can email the proponent Chief on the WOCS recruiting website but again I doubt it. I think you should research that DD 368 to leave AD earlier. Because if that was the case, many enlisted would use it as a loophole to leave active service. You have a an AD obligation that you signed up and need to fulfill it. If that is the case, get it signed and submit a AOCS packet now. IMHO, I think it will be a no-go. What is your degree in (e.g. medical, law) to try to seek a DC route? It is good to have a back-up plan but you should just choose one and I think that traditional option is a good bet.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the feedback. I think you are correct, practically speaking - it is probably unrealistic to expect my command to grant an early discharge. However, I'm almost certain it is permissible from a regulatory standpoint. Also, I don't think too many people would fall into the category of being eligible for a commission and using DD368 as a loophole for early discharge. I think my position is a bit unique in that I've decided to leave active service, but simply want to leave several months early to complete commissioning training before my job starts. I certainly want to fulfill my commitment but the way I see it, I'm not actually asking for less time serving - I just want to transition and use some of the time I would have been on active duty to complete the 7+ months of requisite officer training. Even those who simply commission while active duty get to attend the training, and it counts as active service time toward retirement, so I don't feel like I'm balking or failing to keep my word to the Army. In regards to the DC route, I have degrees in Intelligence, Political Science, and am graduating in a few weeks with a Master's in Legislative Affairs, so technically none of these would help me with my goals of going back to Armor. However, from what I understood regarding DC, it's basically a program to commission folks who have been trained/have experience in leadership; I'd still need to complete BOLC and become branch qualified, which (to me) negates the requirement to have substantive officer-level experience in the field.

                        I want to quick present my research regarding the DD368/early discharge as an option because my perception may indeed be flawed and I don't want to waste my time on this if I'm wrong and it's not a viable option. Here are the three main reasons I believe I can discharge early to seek a commission in the USAR/ARNGUS:

                        1. Per AR 635-200: 16–2. Discharge for acceptance into a program leading to a commission or warrant officer appointment a. Soldiers may be discharged for the purpose of entering a program leading to a commission or warrant officer appointment in any branch of the Armed Forces. This includes— (1) Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). (2) Officer Candidate School (OCS). (3) Other officer accession programs of the USN and USAF that require enlistment in those branches of the Armed Forces. b. Discharge may be approved upon presentation of documentary evidence from the proper authority showing that the Soldier has been accepted for an officer commissioning or appointment program, subject to discharge from his/her Army enlisted status.

                        2. Per DOD-I 1205.5: "4. POLICY. It is DoD policy that: a. A Military Service, or two Military Services in the case of an inter-Service transfer, other than those governed by Reference (d), may approve the request or consent to transfer of a Service member with a remaining military service obligation (MSO), pursuant to sections 651, 10145, 12104, or 12208 of title 10, United States Code (U.S.C.) (Reference (e)), if any of these conditions are met: ... (2) Both Military Services approve of the transfer." (Satisfied through the DD368 process)

                        3. I spoke with recruiters from both the NG and USAR and both of them stated a DD368 would be required to process my application. The NG recruiter stated it would work it's way up both chains of command (NG and my active chain), and if approved by both, he could enlist me under an OCS contract. The USAR career counselor (a MSG) stated it was possible to apply using a DD368 from active duty (he had to check before he gave me an answer).

                        I do realize this sounds unprecedented and far fetched, but per the regs and what the recruiters are telling me, it sounds like a viable option. Can anyone shed light on whether or not I'm barking up the wrong tree, or so to speak? Nobody I've talked to has heard of this option at all, but my research is showing me that if I can obtain a command endorsement at the LTC or higher level, it is absolutely a possibility.


                        • #13
                          When I graduated WOCS, I was given my DD 214 and it listed the AR and reason you cited (Accepts Commission or Warrant in the Army) but remember I was continuing on in active service. In your case, I know, it won't be a break in service but you will serving less days than if you were to remain on active to your ETS. Again, to go into the Guard, they may be a relative NGB regulation that can stipulate the same as AR 635-200 but as I stated, I have never witnessed that before. Before I left the Guard to AD, I already possessed a Bachelors degree with a focus in IT and now have attained a Master's in IT (I am a Signal Warrant) and even though I am old; I would doubt that someone who is much younger and possesses the same would be able to DC into Signal from active to RC. Have you gone to your local ACAP office and spoken to the NG/AR transition rep about your ambitions? He should know if its a viable plan. I do wish you luck on trying to get this to work within your specific timeline. And not to cut down those recruiters but sometimes recruiters provide info on a process that is essentially not the case. My suggestion is to ask if they have actually processed someone who has done what you want to do or if they know someone who did.
                          Last edited by Chief Kemosabe; November 24th, 2013, 08:33 PM.


                          • #14
                            First, is a direct commission completely out of the question for the NG?
                            Yes. The NG rarely uses the DC route and when they do, there are quite a few stipulations. The very few DC NG officers I have meant stated it took longer to process their DC packets then it did for me to complete the traditional OCS program.

                            For a number of reasons, the USAR tends lean on DC approach more for officers.

                            Second, in order to attend AOCS in early 2015, when would I need to begin the paperwork/application process, and if selected for AOCS, could I possibly defer enlistment to my school date?
                            First, thereís no guarantee you would attend AOCS. Unless itís changed, you could enlist in the NG within 30 days of your ETS date. Since from your earlier post that youíve already done 8 years, you would need to do this as you would have no IRR time. If you were to separate, you would have a true break in service and it could be harder to get back in.

                            Finally, youíre confusing Reserve Officer on active duty and Reserve Officer in a drilling status. The two are not interchangeable are a throwback to an earlier time. Active duty commissioned officers now receive Regular Army status instead of Reserve Officer status.


                            • #15
                              We have had cases in which a new WO1 received constructive credit for certain portions of 25-series WOBC based on his civilian credentials. In those cases, he did not attend certain phases of the WOBC, because he already had a Cisco certification or something of that nature. Perhaps that's what others consider an RC version of WOBC.

                              As others have commented, the National Guard does not direct commission many basic branch officers. The basic question to answer is, "why not just send him to OCS?" Unless we have a compelling case, the DC goes nowhere. I had a Soldier who was a VMI grad (and thus had largely completed the training requirements for ROTC), E6, combat arms, Iraq vet. His DC packet took a year. As others have stated, it's often quicker to complete OCS than get a direct commission. While that's inconvenient for you personally, I would hope that such a stringent requirement would give you some confidence in the institution, and the seriousness with which it takes this process.