During this period of ‘right sizing’ the Air Force and Navy, the Army recognizes the need for our Armed Forces to retain highly qualified men and women in our ranks. Operation Blue to Green offers you an alternative to civilian life. Operation Blue to Green will allow you to continue to serve your country, to maintain the benefits of military service, and to expand your horizons by gaining new training and trying new things. It facilitates the transfer of qualified Air Force and Navy individuals to active duty in the Army, depending on your service’s willingness to release you from your current active service obligation. Selected members of the United States Marine Corp or Coast Guard, who are otherwise qualified, may be eligible for opportunities in the Army. However, Marines and Coast Guard will be required to complete their current term of active service.
- E-1 through E-4 will retain the same rank.
- Applicants in the grade of E-5 and above will have eligibility determined by Human Resources Command.
- Training – AFSCs or Rates that convert to Army Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) will only undergo the Warrior Transition Course. Retraining into other Army MOS may be possible based on individual’s qualifications and training vacancies. Those specialties that require One Station Unit Training (OSUT) will be inserted into the second week of the training. OSUT Training is combined Basic Combat Training and the MOS.
- Bonuses may be available for selected Military Occupational Specialties that convert from an AFSC or Rate.
- Assignments – may be available for AFSC or Rate that convert to an Army MOS.
- Air Force and Navy personnel will be required to attend the Warrior Transition Course. (The Army developed this course to include Basic Combat Skills. This course will substitute for the current nine-week course in use to train Airmen, Sailors, and Coast Guardsmen enlisting in the Army.)
- Officers will retain their grade and date of rank.
- Officers will receive branch specific training as needed.
The Army is seeking qualified candidates for their Blue to Green program. Opportunities exist for commissioned officers, enlisted personnel and selected cadets from the Air Force and Navy interested in continuing their service to the military in the Active Army. Requirements for joining are:
- Must be physically fit.
- Must meet Army height and weight standards
- Eight-year service obligation still applies
- Minimum term of service is three years
- Must have approved DD Form 368
The Army Way
Trainees spend the first week at WTC learning the Army’s rank structure and military courtesies, and brush up on such core tasks as teamwork development, first aid, drill and ceremony, and land navigation. The goal is to introduce those coming from other services to the Army’s way of working, and to refresh the skills of former Soldiers.
Week two is spent at the firing range, where trainees engage targets with a variety of weapons in day- and night-firing exercises.
By midcourse, trainees feel the strain of having to pass a physical-fitness test with just three weeks to prepare.
“The hardest thing is the physical part,” said SGT Jeffrey Coleman. “I exercised at home, but it was nothing like this. This reminds me that I’m not 18 anymore.”
Coleman, 36, served five years in the field artillery before entering the civilian workforce.
“I got out because my wife wasn’t comfortable with the deployments, but I always felt I was out of my element after that,” said the Desert Storm veteran. “This is where I’m meant to be — in the Army.”
Tactical training is the longest and final part of WTC. This segment is a reality-check for trainees who expect they’ll never cross enemy lines.
“We’re training students on the specific tasks they’ll need to survive in Iraq,” Hudnall said.
Skills taught to make Soldiers combat-ready include convoy and checkpoint operations, urban warfare, live-fire operations and recognition of improvised explosive devices.
Training sites mirror the operating bases Soldiers currently see in Afghanistan and Iraq, complete with convoy routes, checkpoints, media representatives and milling locals. Wrecked vehicles, telephone polls and guardrails also cover the convoy route, and scenarios are peppered with enemy ambushes and IEDs.
The final exercise takes squads through a four-hour convoy mission. They receive indirect fire during movement through an urban area, fight back, get hit by an IED, and clear and secure a building — all while treating and evacuating casualties.
“The capstone exercise is a very detailed event that pushes them to their limit — it’s a taste of reality, especially for Soldiers who will go to support units, which are just as likely to be in a firefight as any other unit,” Hudnall said. “There is no rear area on today’s battlefield, no safe zone.”
Students serve in leadership positions twice during the course. As in professional-development classes, trainees are expected to put their experience and maturity to work.
“Some of these students were NCOs when they left their prior services, or they were NCOs before taking a break from the Army,” Hudnall said. “We take advantage of that, and let drill sergeants be teachers, coaches and mentors instead of stern, authoritarian figures.”
SPC Beverly Sage jumped ship to answer the Army’s call. Today she wears combat boots instead of Navy blues, and can fire an M-16 like her life depends on it. “The Army is on the frontlines of the war. If joining means I have to serve in Iraq, I’m ready,” said the ex-sailor.
Sage’s confidence is a product of the Army’s new Warrior Transition Course at Fort Knox, Ky. The course is designed to make Soldiers of former Airmen, Sailors and Marines. It’s also an incentive for second-time volunteers wanting to rejoin the Army’s ranks without repeating nine weeks of basic training.
“We train these Soldiers with the expectation that every single one of them will see combat. The accepted generalization is that about 50 percent of them will be in combat within six months. Over a three-year period, they all will be,” said MAJ Ralph Hudnall, executive officer for 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, which trains WTC students.