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Monthly informed decision seminar helps Airmen who face a critical decision

MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- To stay or go? It's a question that most, if not all, Air Force members may ask themselves at some point in their military career. The decision to re-enlist or separate is a heavy one, and for those weighing their options, there's help.

To assist Airmen in deciding whether or not to stay blue, the Professional Development Center offers the monthly Informed Decision Seminar, formally known as the Right Decision briefing. It's a comprehensive program designed to provide benefit and career information to first- and second-term Airmen before their date of separation so they can make an informed decision to re-enlist or separate. Once each month, Airmen are given a half-day briefing packed full of information designed to help them choose the life path, whether military or civilian, that's right for them. Facilitated by the 366th Fighter Wing career assistance advisor, the briefing includes information on a variety of subjects including educational benefits and financial planning including a civilian/military lifestyle comparison and savings and investments information. Airmen also receive up-to-date information on assignments, retraining, promotion and re-enlistments.

Several guest speakers address Airmen attending the seminar to give their perspective, including the 366th FW command chief, Air National Guard recruiter, education counselors and the Airman and Family Readiness Center. Since the seminars' debut, the majority of feedback has been positive, and there's no question the briefing is extremely helpful to Airmen - whether they decide to separate or re-enlist.

One statement from a recent feedback form read, "Even though I had my mind set on getting out, the briefing caused me to pause, and rethink my decision." By chance, I ran into that same person a few days later and he told me that after talking with his wife that evening, they had decided to continue serving as a military family in order to complete their educational goals and get better prepared financially for that "big leap" that was sure to occur upon separation. Another bit of feedback indicated that, "while I knew I was going to re-enlist, I was surprised by some of the programs and policies that impact me and my Airmen that I will share. The earnings comparison (between active-duty personnel and their civilian counterparts) was especially surprising - I had no idea how much I actually made compared to those on the outside!"

Although the decision to re-enlist or separate is a personal one that only the member can make, the goal of the seminar is to provide vital information they need to make the choice that's right for them. The information gained from this seminar, combined with mentoring from commanders, first sergeants and supervisors will give Airmen and their families a multitude of resources to assist them in making the right decision - an informed decision.

The Informed Decision Seminar is mandatory for first- and second-term Airmen, according to AFI 36-2624, The Career Assistance Advisor, First Term Airmen Center and Enlisted Professional Enhancement Programs, within 12 to 15 months prior to their date of separation, regardless of their rank or intent to re-enlist. Normally held the fourth Wednesday of the month, the next IDS briefing is scheduled for Oct. 21, and will be in the 366th FW Professional Development Center (Bldg. 2308) auditorium. Members receive notification and a personal invite when they are due to attend the workshop, but anybody is welcome. If separating, the seminar is a required item on the virtual out-processing checklist. Register online through the PDC's Community of Practice at https://afkm.wpafb.af.mil/MHAFB_PDC. For more information, call 828-1956 or e-mail michael.shelley@mountainhome.af.mil.