Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School
A Promising Start
What is known as the Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School (PAFOCS) of today stemmed from a long colorful evolution as embodied by its graduates or alumni who became officers of the Philippine Air Force occupying varied positions in different fields of specialization as military pilots, maintenance officers, air weapons controllers, special operations officers, intelligence officers and many others. Some alumni have already went out of the military service as commercial pilots, immigrants to other countries, entrepreneurs and private citizens.
The PAF Aviation Officer Candidate School (PAFAOCS) was established in June 16, 1998 by the PAF leadership at that time with the intent of training cadets to fill up the officer requirements of the PAF, an enhancement to the Aviation Cadet Program of the PAF, and as a supposed precursor to the establishment of the ever elusive Air Force Academy. The training was designed for a 12 month period for cadets to become commissioned officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As commissioned officers, they will be further trained in the various fields of specialization within the PAF.
Three classes that were trained in the PAFAOCS were procured and appointed as Aviation Cadets or "ACs". The pioneering Wings of Vigilance Class of 1999-A, Wings of Conquest 1999-B and the Wings of Integrity 2001-A. The cadet training system to include uniforms, customs and traditions used were handed down mainly from the Aviation Cadet Program minus the flight line (flying training) traditions. Not to mention the same hallowed training grounds of the long blue cadet line.
The Winds of Change
Two years after the first two classes graduated from the PAFAOCS, while the Class of 2001-A were in the middle of their cadet training, a series of orders, circulars and directives were issued by the General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines renaming the school to Philippine Air Force Officer Candidate School (PAFOCS). The orders included the nullification of the designation of the said 3 classes as Aviation Cadets with their subsequent "retroactive" designation as Officer Candidates or "OCs". The 12 month training curriculum remained the same, many of the training customs and traditions continued but this time major changes to the uniforms were undertaken supposedly to create a distinct identity for the new PAFOCS trainees.
The said renaming of the school was in consonance with the deactivation of the centralized AFP Officer Candidates School in Tanay, Rizal in 1997 and its subsequent distribution to the three major branches of the AFP – the Army OCS, Navy OCS and Air Force OCS.
Three other classes underwent training as Officer Candidates in PAFOCS and became officers of the PAF. Namely, the Wings of Chivalry Class 2001-B, Wings of Allegiance Class 2003 and Wings of Valiance 2005.
A Past Relived
PAFOCS procurement of Officer Candidates went into a hiatus since 2005. Then in 2008 another major change took place with the introduction by the AFP GHQ of a new 15 month training curriculum under a new program called PAF Regular Officer Procurement Program (PAFROPP). The first 12 months of the curriculum are basically the same to that of the Officer Candidate Program. The trainees under the program are designated as Probationary 2LTs or “probies”. A handful of training customs and traditions remained but the uniforms have all changed.
Two classes have graduated from the ROPP and became officers of the AFP namely, the MANDAYAN Class of 2009 and SINAGLAHI Class of 2010. Currently, PAFOCS is training the ROPP MABALASIK Class of 2011 set to graduate on July 2011. Recently, PAFOCS recieved the ROPP Class of 2012.
The new PAFROPP in PAFOCS also became an embodiment of the previous ROPP which filled up the officer requirement of Air Force from mid 70’s to early 80’s.
Widening the Horizon
The concept of Officer Candidate was expanded to include all trainings and programs of aspiring qualified citizens to become PAF officers. The Probationary Officer Training Course (POTC) of the PAF Air Reserve Command was transferred to PAFOCS to standardize the PAF officer training. Two POTC classes have graduated in PAFOCS namely, the MANDIGLAS Class 2009 and the KAMPILAN Class 2011.
The PAFOCS also conducts the Pre-Commision Course of the National Defense College's Masters in National Security Administration Program. The course is aimed to provide civilian students with the basic fundamental knowledge of the roles, duties and functions of members of the Armed Forces. The MNSA RC-46 finished the course in 2010.
The continuing saga of the PAFOCS Alumni is a reflection of dynamism while gaining a wider perspective. Its graduates goes beyond barriers of petty differences. It is in this context that the PAFOCS Alumni bind themselves together to exemplify unity in diversity.
The PAFOCS Alumni Association has been building its pillars since the early years of their Alma Mater's existence. Today, the PAFOCSAA has continued and will continue to anchor to its proud roots - their binding thread - their Alma Mater called PAFOCS.