Airman First Class
Airman first class is the third enlisted rank (E-3) in the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...
, just above airman
An airman is a member of the air component of a nation's armed service. In the United States Air Force and the Royal Air Force , it can also refer to a specific enlisted rank...
and below senior airman
Senior airman is the fourth enlisted rank in the United States Air Force, just above airman first class and below staff sergeant. It has a pay grade of E-4...
. The rank of airman first class is considered a junior enlisted rank, with the non-commissioned officers and senior non-commissioned officers above it.
Airman first class is a rank that has also been used by the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, although it is not currently in use. In documents about the history of U.S. armed forces, you will frequently see this rank abbreviated as ARM1c.
Promotion to airman first classPromotion to airman first class occurs upon one or more of the following:
- Completion of 10 months time in the grade of airman (or earlier for airmen with specific specialities)
- Completion of three years of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training CorpsJunior Reserve Officers' Training CorpsThe Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a Federal program sponsored by the United States Armed Forces in high schools across the United States...
(JROTC) sponsored by any of the four wings of the service
- Completion of two years of college-level Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)
- Earning the Billy Mitchell Award in the Civil Air PatrolCivil Air PatrolCivil Air Patrol is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported, non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force . CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds, lifestyles, and...
- Completion of 45 or more college credit hours
- Agreeing to an extended-length enlistment (normally at least six years).
Those personnel who qualify for these early promotions to airman first class wear the insignia of this rank during their basic training graduation ceremonies at Lackland Air Force Base
Lackland Air Force Base
Lackland Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located west-southwest of San Antonio, Texas. The base is under the jurisdiction of the 802d Mission Support Group, Air Education and Training Command ....
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...
, except for those who signed up for extend enlistment, who receive their promotions to airman first class after twenty weeks after graduation from basic military training or graduation from their technical training schools, whichever comes first. Enlistees who have signed up for initial six-year enlistment periods have usually qualified and done so in return for a guarantee of up to two years of training in Department of Defense and Air Force schools in highly-technical specialties such as electronics, weapons systems, physician's assistant or nursing. To qualify for all of this, the enlistee must have graduated from high school and scored highly on Air Force technical aptitude tests. On the bottom line, they spend up to two years in training at the expense of the Air Force, and then they pay back by serving at least an additional four years after their schooling. They also get early promotion to airman first class and the E-3 pay grade as additional compensation.The U.S. Navy has very similar six-year enlistments for nuclear power, and electronics.
Those who are promoted to this level upon completion of basic training also receive a retroactive pay increment that brings them up to the E-3 pay grade corresponding to airman first class, going back to day one of their enlistment. In other words, they get paid as if they had enlisted as airman first class. However, if for some reason they get expelled from basic training, they do not receive this extra pay, and just get paid as airmen basic for the time that they spent in the Air Force before getting discharged.
Airmen first class are considered to be fully adjusted to Air Force and military life, and their duties focus on efficiently and effectively carrying out their assignments and honing their job skills.
Historical usageFrom 1947 to 1952, this rank was known as an Air Force corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....
, and from 1952 to 1967 it was called an airman second class.
- Cadet airman first class
- U.S. Air Force enlisted rank insignia
- United States military payUnited States Military PayUnited States Military Pay is money paid to members in the United States Armed Forces. The amount of pay may vary by the member's rank, time in the military, location duty assignment, and by some special skills the member may have.-Pay versus Allowance:...