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Officer Training School

To educate and train officers of character who are committed to the Air Force core values – equipped to lead and ready to win.

Personnel and resources
The Officer Training School staff consists of full-time active duty, Air Force Reserve, and Air National Guard members, including 106 officers, 42 enlisted and nine civilian personnel, as well as seven Air Force Reserve individual mobilization augmentee officers. OTS is a group-level command with three squadrons and one Air National Guard detachment that trained 3,076 officers in fiscal year 2018. OTS graduates enter the Air Force in all components: active duty, Reserve, and Guard.

The $78 million OTS complex on Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, consists of two academic buildings with auditoriums, four dormitories, dining facility, physical conditioning center, parade field, running track and sports fields. Additionally, OTS maintains an air expeditionary force garrison training site, a 200-acre field training facility, confidence course and two expeditionary assault courses.

The Air Force initiated OTS at Medina Annex, Lackland AFB, Texas, in 1959. The school subsequently moved to Maxwell AFB in September 1993 as part of the Air Force chief of staff's vision to align all officer education and training programs under Air University. Its predecessor, Officer Candidate School, was established in 1942 at Miami Beach, Florida, with the mission of training and commissioning officers from within the enlisted ranks. OCS moved to Lackland AFB in the spring of 1944 and gained the additional mission of training officers directly from civilian status in September 1951. OCS closed its doors with its last graduation in June 1963.

The first OTS class was comprised of 89 trainees, including 11 women. Accession numbers have varied over the years from 323 the first year to a high of 7,894 officers in 1967.

Officer training
The purpose of the officer training course is to train and commission new officers to fulfill Air Force active duty, Reserve and Guard requirements, in partnership with the U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. Accession numbers fluctuate in response to variations between projected and actual U.S. Air Force Academy and Air Force ROTC officer accessions and Air Force end-strength requirements.

The program consists of 30 hours of prerequisite distance learning and eight weeks of military training and leadership development for college graduates. The goal of this training is to instill high standards of conduct and provide officer trainees with the essential military knowledge and skills needed for effective performance as Air Force leaders.

Air Force judge advocates, chaplains, some health professionals (doctors and dentists and hospital administrators) and medical scholarship recipients will attend the first five weeks of the training and depart after completing all graduation requirements.

Additionally there is a 13-day Reserve Commissioned Officer Training program for extremely difficult to recruit Reserve medical officers as determined by their respective functional managers. This course is offered two times per year.

To ensure OTS graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective Air Force officers, OTS faculty members provide instruction and guidance in critical officership areas such as leadership studies, professional knowledge, communication skills, military studies and field leadership application.

The program instructs these areas concurrently, emphasizing team building, followership, and knowledge acquisition during the first half of training, followed by leadership application during the second half. Lectures, guided discussions, classroom exercises, field leadership exercises and after-hours training activities combine to provide graduates with an in-depth understanding of their roles as future commissioned officers in the Air Force. The program also features an Air Expeditionary Force exercise, a capstone field leadership assessment event, during which students demonstrate their ability to integrate and apply the communication and leadership skills learned throughout the course.

Most of these new officers attend follow-on training after OTS. Training specialties include pilot, navigator, air battle manager, space and missile operations and other career fields. The length of training varies according to the specialty.

Motto and honor code
The OTS motto is "Always with honor," reflected in the school’s honor code: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does." The code is a standard of personal conduct for each student. OTS expects each graduate to adopt the code as the ethical standard maintained throughout their Air Force careers.

For more information
For more information on Air Force OTS, visit If you are interested in a career as an Air Force officer and considering applying to OTS, contact your local Air Force recruiter via the Air Force recruiting web site If you are currently an active duty Air Force enlisted member, contact your base education office or military personnel section.

(Current as of June 2019)