WASHINGTON -- The Army is actively looking for a diverse array of Soldiers, from across a variety of military occupational specialties, to apply for career-broadening positions within the Army's Enlisted Aide Program, or EAP. The deadline to submit application packets for the competitive program is Sept. 29.

The program is open to all active-duty enlisted Soldiers from sergeant (promotable) through master sergeant, irrespective of military occupational specialty.

The process for putting the packets together is a bit lengthy, so interested Soldiers should start right away, said Lt. Col. Drew Maddry, who serves as the chief of the Quartermaster Branch within the Army's Human Resources Command.

More details about the openings and how to apply can be found within Military Personnel Message 17-253, "FY 18 Enlisted Aide Selection Panel Announcement."

TAKING CARE OF LEADERSHIP

An EA serves on the personal staff of a general officer and undertakes a wide variety of day-to-day tasks that free the officer to concentrate on his or her primary military and official duties, said Sgt. 1st Class Maria Fuentes.

Duties of an EA include household management and security, preparing uniforms, orchestrating official social functions, and preparing daily meals, said Fuentes, who serves now as the EA Special Programs Professional Development Noncommissioned Officer at HRC. She has also previously served as an EA.

"It was rewarding for me personally because you get to see smiles on people's faces when you are serving them food, ensuring things are in order and taking care of them," said Fuentes of her own experience in the program.

Besides serving food, EAs learn how to manage a budget and plan a host of day-to-day events, she said. Those are skills that are valuable in any job as well as in one's own personal life, she added.

Fuentes said she has prepared meals for and interacted with the chief of staff of the Army, the sergeant major of the Army, senators and other dignitaries. "Those were exciting moments," she said.

Successful EAs are self-starters, motivated, eager to learn and adaptable. Those same traits are also what makes for successful Soldiers, she said.

Candidates train for EA and culinary skills at Fort Lee, Virginia, she explained. For someone not in the 92G culinary MOS, the EA career field often proves to be a totally new and interesting experience, she said, adding that she encourages Soldiers from outside the culinary arts MOS to consider applying to be an EA. She noted that six have recently done so, and are proving successful in their efforts.

Those who complete their EA tour will return to their original branch, said Maddry. That is designed to ensure their leadership and MOS proficiency skill sets are maintained, an additional benefit to the Army of the broadening experience.

Maddry also said that promotion boards look favorably on broadening experiences like those that the Enlisted Aide Program provides.