Wing career advisor helps Airmen succeed

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Katrina Heikkinen
  • 434th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Where do you see yourself in your Air Force career in six years? 12?

Many Airmen reach a point in their Air Force career where they are required to make a life-altering decision that will impact the future of their career in the military.

For Master Sgt. Deborah Sweet, who was recently named the 434th Force Support Squadron wing career assistance advisor, she feels like it is an area where she can help.

In an effort to improve Air Force retention, the 434th ARW reinstated the career assistance advisor position – a full-time position Sweet will hold for approximately three years.

“This [position] had gone away for a while through a man-power study,” Sweet said. “The refocus on manning created the identification that this is a very critical position and is needed because we need to have Airmen making informed decisions before they decide to separate [or reenlist].”

Sweet advises and manages multiple programs, all aimed at assisting Airmen with making informed decisions regarding their Air Force career, including career and retraining, bonus and incentive and retirement.

According to Sweet, Airmen are required to meet with a career assistance advisor upon in-processing [to the unit], out-processing and up to 14 months prior to their expiration of term of service [ETS].

“The Air Force needs to have experienced people ready and available to do the mission,” Sweet said. “We can’t just keep turning positions over and not identifying why people are leaving. We have to be a ready force and the only thing that makes a ready force is a ready and well-qualified force.”

Sweet previously worked as the 434th Maintenance Group’s career assistance advisor as a traditional reservist prior to assuming her new role.

Sweet says the most common appointments include Airmen considering reenlistment or separation from the Air Force, potential opportunities for retraining into different career fields and bonuses.

“As I go through the interview process with Airmen I discuss things that may be beneficial to that Airman – or something that could be holding them back,” she says. “Airmen might have a tuition assistance problem or need help with transportation. Offering options and information to Airmen often helps Airmen solve their own problem.”

“It’s a joy [for me] that people want to still serve their country and have a passion for that and believe in their mission and my role is to really enable them with a path to make that happen,” she concluded.

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.