BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- ("Santa visits ARPC" is a two-part feature. While events covered in Part I are factual, Part II is a fictional story intended to bring entertainment while informing our audience of some of the services offered by the Air Reserve Personnel Center.)
Kids, both young and old, from the Air Reserve Personnel Center, received a huge treat when Santa, Mrs. Claus and Sparkle the Elf stopped by for a visit here, Dec. 19.
Santa's visit was two-fold, but the first order of business was to spend time with over 50 children of ARPC families and listen to their wishes. Afterwards, Santa and Mrs. Claus got a tour of ARPC and were even put to work.
Before officials could put Santa on Reserve duty, Brig. Gen. Samuel "Bo" Mahaney, ARPC commander, accessed Santa into the Air Force Reserve. As such, Mahaney and Mrs. Claus pinned on five-star general rank in an honorary pin-on ceremony here.
"As you know, over the years, Santa Claus has helped the United States Air Force," Mahaney said. "All the way back to Orville Wright, he taught Orville Wright to fly. Then Orville Wright taught Hap Arnold to fly. And Hap Arnold was the father of the United States Air Force. Hap Arnold was also a five-star general. So, in honor of that, we wanted to make Santa an honorary five-star general."
The next step was to put Gen. Claus on temporary active-duty orders, also known as RPA orders, to support the Reserve mission here.
"Due in large part to our Human Capital Transformation effort, ARPC has inherited a number of new responsibilities that did not come with associated manpower billets," said Col. Carolyn Stickell, individual mobilization augmentee to the vice commander. "ARPC uses RPA orders to bring in reservists who can assist with this new workload and since these reservists are called to active duty via RPA orders, they are nicknamed RPAers."
In order to accomplish the mission, ARPC currently has about 74 RPAers filling the gaps until there is a permanent manpower solution. RPAers sit in almost every section of ARPC, contributing to the mission side-by-side with their civilian, contractor, active duty, Guard, and Reserve counterparts, providing seamless, total-force customer service solutions.
Once Santa's orders were processed through the Air Force Reserve Order Writing System, or AROWS-R, and approved through the Financial Management Directorate, Santa was ready for Reserve duty.
Santa's first stop was the Development Team board room where he was met by Lt. Col. John Maser, chief of the force development division. Maser's division is responsible for executing force development with the Air Force Reserve and improving the way Citizen Airmen are developed through education, training and career opportunities.
The Reserve Development Plan, or R-DP, is the vehicle that allows Reserve officers to communicate their career goals to senior leaders within their career field.
Therefore, Maser assigned Santa as a board president to review R-DPs. Members, who did not complete their R-DP, were placed on the Naughty List.
The board also consisted of Mrs. Claus and several ARPC members. Mrs. Claus, who owned the Naughty and Nice stamps, filled the role of action officer and was ready to stamp all records accordingly.
However, Santa decided to give everyone a second chance. For those who complete their R-DP before their career field manager's deadline, Santa will put those members back on the Nice List. Everyone on the Nice List will meet their upcoming DT board for their career field.
To complete an R-DP, visit myPers
and click on the vPC-GR dashboard link. Then on the "Action Requests" tab, click on R-DP or R-ODP.
"I am very impressed with the professionalism and hard work of everyone on Col. Maser's team," said Santa. "They are working extremely hard for Reserve members to succeed in their career field. I highly encourage every Reserve member to complete their R-DP. It doesn't hurt to communicate your wishes to your leaders. But if you don't complete your R-DP, then you better not cry. You better not pout. So be good for goodness sake!"
To view the DT schedule for 2015, visit myPers
and type "DT schedule 2015" in the search box.
Next, Santa walked over to the Total Force Service Center Directorate and was met by Maj. Ryan Avery, chief of TFSC-Denver operations, and Senior Master Sgt. Stacy Wilfong, branch chief of benefits and entitlements.
Here he was given the very important task of reviewing the Air Force's myPers website. "The thing I like most about myPers is that you can access this secure website from anywhere at any time. Even if you are on a sleigh ride, giddyupping, riding in a wonderland of snow," Santa said. "Or you could be at a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray. It'll be a perfect ending of a perfect day. All you need is your laptop, your username and password."
Some examples of personnel actions Airmen can retrieve, request or accomplish on myPers
Current retirement points
Copy of DD Form 214
Copy of NGB 22
Duty history change
Electronic officer selection records
Mortgage letter request
Reduced retired pay age application
Reserve development plan (Don't get on the Naughty List!)
After giving wise counsel on myPers, Santa began the task of answering phone calls in the Total Force Service Center.
Since Santa already sees and knows everything about myPers, he expected to hear from customers who needed more assistance than what myPers could provide. He was up for the challenge!
At the end of the day, Santa was pleasantly surprised. "It truly was an honor for me to help so many Guard and Reserve members who serve in the United States Air Force and sacrifice so much," Santa said. "I also want to say how proud I am of every single person who works in the Total Force Service Center who is taking care of all of these wonderful Guard and Reserve members. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. I see and know everything. And what I know is that you all are the ones who can make someone's day a little bit brighter and a little bit easier. And for that, I thank you very much!"
Unfortunately, Santa's Reserve orders came to an end too quickly. It was approaching the eve of Christmas Eve and Santa needed to get ready for his next big annual task.
To end on a proper note, the Retirements Branch processed a retirement certificate and Senior Airman Justin Restad from that branch presented it to Santa on the last day of his orders.
Santa now belongs to a faithful and honored group of retirees, who make up 78 percent of ARPC's customers. Air National Guard members make up 11 percent of the population and the remaining 11 percent are traditional reservists, individual ready reservists, standby reservists, active guard reservists, and individual reservists. In all, ARPC serves nearly 1 million customers.
ARPC officials advised Santa, as they advise all members retiring, that he could be recalled to service, either through involuntary activation or voluntary accession to fill unit and selected Reserve vacancies. So this WILL NOT be the last time Santa serves at ARPC.
Santa parted with these closing remarks, "I love the United States Air Force. My visit here has been absolutely wonderful. Beautiful people. Beautiful children. I thank you so much for having me and Mrs. Claus here. It's been wonderful and thank you for your service and your commitment."
Guard, Reserve, and retired members can call the TFSC for any personnel matter that the myPers website cannot accommodate or if members have any questions at all. TFSC's numbers are 210-565-0102 or DSN 665-0102.
Here are the menu options for TFSC:
FIRST MENU OPTIONS:
Press 3 for Air Force Reserve
Press 4 for Air National Guard
Press 5 for Retired Personnel
SECOND MENU OPTIONS:
If you pressed 3 or 4 in the first option:
Press 1 for retirements, separations, points
Press 2 for document requests like DD 214s
Press 3 for promotions, force development, joint credit
Press 4 for evaluations, awards, and decorations
Press 5 for casualty assistance, DEERS, survivor benefits, educational benefits including Post 9/11 GI Bill
If you pressed 5 in the first option:
Press 1 for combat related special compensation
Press 2 for temporary disability retirement list
Press 3 for retired from active duty
Press 4 for retired from Reserve or Guard