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Airman First Class: Wikis

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Airman First Class insignia

Airman 1st Class (A1C) is the third enlisted rank (E-3) in the United States Air Force, just above Airman and below Senior Airman. The rank of Airman First Class is considered a junior enlisted rank, with the noncommissioned officers (NCO) and senior noncommissioned officers (SNCO) above it.

Promotion to A1C occurs upon one or more of the following: 10 months time in the grade of Airman (or earlier for airmen with specific specialties), completion of three years of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) sponsored by any of the four wings of the service, completion of two years of college-level Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), earning the General Billy Mitchell Award in Civil Air Patrol, completion of 45 or more college credit hours, or agreeing to an extended-length enlistment (normally at least six years). Those personnel who qualify for these early promotions to Airman First Class wear the insignia of this rank during their basic training graduation ceremonies at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, except for those who signed up for extend enlistment, who receive their promotions to Airman First Class after graduation from their technical training schools. Enlistees who have signed up for initial six-year enlistment periods have usually qualified and done so in return for a guarantee of up two two years of training in Department of Defense and Air Force schools in highly-technical specialties such as electronics, weapons systems, physician's assistant, or nursing. To qualify for all of this, the enlistee must have graduated from high school and scored highly on Air Force technical aptitude tests. On the bottom line, they spend up to two years in training at the expense of the Air Force, and then they pay back by serving at least an additional four years after their schooling. They also get early promotion to Airman First Class and the E-3 pay grade as additional compensation. [The U.S. Navy has very similar six-year enlistments for a) nuclear power, and b) electronics.]

Those who are promoted to this level upon completion of basic training also receive a retroactive pay increment that brings them up to the E-3 pay grade corresponding to Airman First Class, going back to day one of their enlistment. In other words, they get paid as if they had enlisted as Airmen First Class. However, if for some reason they get expelled from Basic Training, they do not receive this extra pay, and just get paid as Airmen Basic for the time that they spent in the Air Force before getting discharged.

Airmen First Class are considered to be fully adjusted to Air Force and military life, and their duties focus on efficiently and effectively carrying out their assignments and honing their job skills.

From 1947 to 1952, this rank was known as an Air Force corporal, and from 1952 to 1967 it was called an Airman Second Class.

Because of their two stripes, Airmen First Class are often nicknamed "Dragonfly Wings."

See also

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