Robins TAP Office guides Airmen at career crossroads

  • Published
  • By Kisha Foster Johnson
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs Office

To stay, or not to stay in the Air Force, is the question that brings Airmen to the Transition Assistance Program office at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

The Military and Family Readiness Center oversees the program. TAP is mandatory for all service members who have at least 180 continuous days or more on active duty, including the National Guard and Reserve.

“We provide counsel for those who know what they want to do or who are on the fence,” said Tiffany Franklin, Robins TAP manager. “However, if they press the proverbial button to retire or separate, then that generates a checklist for them to start virtually outprocessing, and our office is on that checklist.

“It’s a by-law requirement for all service members who are separating or retiring from the military,” she continued. “Years ago, there was a high rate of suicide and unemployment, high bankruptcy and homelessness among veterans. Congress said this must stop and created TAP to help all aspects of getting out of the military. We offer resources and classes that will help the service member and family members.”

In 1991, the National Defense Authorization Act established TAP to reduce any hardships of service members transitioning from military to civilian life.

“I wanted to gain knowledge regarding benefits and career assistance to ensure I had a smooth transition to the Air Force Reserves,” said Tech. Sgt. Ashley Scott, noncommissioned officer in charge, 78th Medical Group Clinical Dentistry and Dental Logistics.

After nine years of service, Scott is ready for a new personal mission.

“My goals are to further my education after my upcoming completion of my master’s degree. Additionally, I am seeking to secure a career in the field of management,” she said. “It feels great. I’ll be transitioning to the reserves, so it will be nice balancing my military and civilian life.”

According to Franklin, service members must initiate TAP between 18 and 24 months from the date of separation or retirement.

The TAP components include:

-Step 1: Initial Counseling - This first step is an individual appointment where members’ goals and transition needs are discussed and assessed.

-Step 2: Pre-Separation Counseling/Briefing - Provides information on entitlements and benefits members may be eligible for and reviews the transition process.

-Step 3: Transition Workshop - All members complete at minimum, the 3-day Core Curriculum, which includes: DoD Day — Managing Your Transition, Military Occupational Code Crosswalk, Financial Planning for Transition.

-Step 4: Capstone - The Capstone is an individual appointment where members’ career readiness standards are reviewed and documented.

“Transitioning out of the military can be extremely stressful for the service member and their family,” said Franklin. “We have people who are trying to decide if they want to get out. There are a lot of things individuals must consider before making the leap. For instance, do they need to obtain certifications and experience to gain a new job outside the military? This is the type of introspection needed before parting ways.”

Scott said the TAP office has been very valuable.

“I would say weigh your options, make sure you have a plan, visit the in-service recruiters, and visit the Military and Family Readiness Center for guidance,” said Scott. “The MFRC has been extremely helpful during my transition. Their entire staff is amazing at what they do.”

For more information on TAP, call 478-926-1256.