About Me

Hello world. This blog is written by Andrew Cherkasky. I am now a Captain in the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. The JAG Corps are the military’s lawyers. I graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in the spring of 2006.

This blog starts with my experiences at Commissioned Officer Training (COT) and JAG School (JASOC) at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, AL from mid Jan 07 to the end of Apr 07. After my training I was stationed at Aviano Air Base in Italy for the next 3 years. Aviano is located about an hour north of Venice.  I was stationed at the legal office in Aviano for 2 years and spent just over a year at the Area Defense Counsel Office.  I have now been stationed in Washington DC as a Senior Trial Counsel and member of the Special Victims Unit.

I hope that this site will keep as many friends and family members up to date. I have been a little surprised by the number of people wanting updates. I hope you enjoy.

36 Responses to “About Me”

  1. John Van Drunen Says:

    Good to hear things are getting better….think of those poor recruits going through basic….you are at summer camp!!!!!!!!

    Hope you get a good meal this next weekend.

    John

  2. Dave Says:

    Hello Lowly Maggot –

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time and effort to do this blog. I’m an attorney, currently clerking on the Colorado Court of Appeals. I’ve been considering Air Force JAG, and it has been incredibly helpful and informative to follow your experience. So – thank you. I’m inspired to apply.

    – Dave Walker

  3. Matt Bush Says:

    Andy,

    Little upset you didnt mention Bentz or me on your site!!! I am gonna have to include this in the JAG(07-b) e-mail chain when I go to work on Monday. I hope you and the Mrs are doin well in Italy. Erin, Noah and I really miss you guys. Right now its a late Saturday night in Fayetteville and I am pretty drunk so I am surprised I can even type. This week was rough. Send me you DSN on my outlook so I can call you. Bush out. By the way, WTF is lowly maggot?

  4. Danny H. Says:

    Andy – Whats up man? How is training? Are you closer to Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men or the crazy bald guy that blew his head off in Full Metal Jacket? Anyway – 11 days to the Bar out here so everyone is a little stressed and ready to be done. I am sure you hear Trial Team won the Nat’l Championship. I accepted a job at the State’s Attorney’s Office, and will be starting in September. Hope all is well.

    DH

  5. Ian Holzhauer Says:

    Lt. Cherkasky,

    My name is 2Lt. Ian Holzhauer and I did the Air Force Graduate Law Program (ROTC program). I found your blog on google and found it pretty informative. I’m sitting for the Illinois bar in nine days (huah Conviser) and I had a couple of questions about JASOC and JAG life in general.

    Thank you!

    V/r,

    Ian Holzhauer
    Second Lieutenant (inact.), United States Air Force

  6. Hollie Says:

    I just came across your blog today and I was so happy to find it! My husband is leaving for COT in a few weeks and we will be moving to Italy in December sometime. We have found so little information about COT, JASOC and Aviano. We would love to pick your brain a little more. Please feel free to email me if you feel like handing out some advice!

  7. Tony Says:

    Hi Andy. I’m Hollie’s husband, Tony. Like she said, I’ll be in COT in a few weeks, then JASOC, then Aviano. I think I pmed you on the OTS website (that is, if your handle was “AndyChicago”). Anyway, it looks like I’ll be heading to Aviano for the 2 weeks between COT and JASOC. It’s a little odd, but I wasn’t going to argue. I look forward to meeting you and, like my wife said, feel free to give us advice on COT, JASOC, Italy, etc. We would appreciate it.

  8. Mike Schwartz Says:

    Andy,

    So I’m headed to Vandenberg AFB in Lompoc, CA. It’s not Europe, but I’m pretty excited. Two months until COT/JSOC. Any advice?

    Mike Schwartz

  9. Jeff Says:

    Andy,

    I will be attending COT/JASOC in a week and a half before heading to Keesler AFB on the MS Gulf Coast. I am looking forward to throwing myself into it.

    I know this was not the purpose of your site, but it is VERY useful to incoming COT students to read your account. For that I thank you. My wife also enjoyed reading it, although first seeing “Lowly Maggot” in our Internet History folder made her a tad bit suspicous.

    I had a quick question for you. I am currently trying to fully digest the COT operating instructions. Is this something that students are expected to have committed to memory by their first day, my initial paperwork says so. Or is this something that I am over-preparing for and will learn it better by having myself and my flight screamed at under pressure?

    Thanks for any answer or advice you have. And if you are unable to respond that is fine, thank you for creating the blog.

    I hope this finds you and your wife happy and healthy in Italy.

    Jeff

  10. Gene Says:

    Hi Lt. Cherkasky,

    I came across your blog, and your sponsoree’s blog while searching for information on life as a USAF JAG. How does the first assignment selection work? (how do they decide where you are posted for your first tour?)

    I see there is a preference sheet, but are there some general trends to keep in mind (e.g. perhaps Guam is generally not considered a very desirable tour location so more of likelihood of receiving first tour there if listed as 1st choice)

    Thanks,
    Gene

  11. Justin Says:

    Hello Lt. (Capt. yet?) Cherkasky,
    I too came across your blog while looking for more information on the whole accessions process… it’s been great to actually read someone’s experience, makes the whole process a lot more realistic. I was curious, if you don’t mind answering more questions, if you had any advice on the degree of freedom you get at JASOC. I’m curious because, if things go as planned, I’d likely be assigned to the July JASOC. But for a very delayed medical clearance process, I would have been slated for the February JASOC. The problem with July is that I’m getting married in August, so I’m curious whether and how the Air Force handles existing commitments and the JASOC schedule… Thanks in advance for any thoughts you might have…
    Justin Lonergan

  12. Tim Murphy Says:

    Captain Cherkasky–
    I commend you on your blog–21 years ago I began my AF JAG career (like you–with a first assignment in Europe), and your blog brought back many memories along with the realization that while time has passed, most of the things I enjoyed about military life remain unchanged.

    Good luck with your career–however long it might be.

  13. Naureen Says:

    Good afternoon Lt. Cherkasky,

    Currently I am a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law and I would really appreicate some feedback on some questions I have reguarding being a JAG for the AF.

    Last week I interviewed with the Army JAG and although I am excited about the opportunity, the problem is that I had my heart set on moving to LA (for family reasons) and the closest Army base is nearly 4 hours away–which is not really feasible. Although I have no military background, I do want to serve and want to be a part of the military– thus I was looking at the AF Jag which has a station in LA. So here are my questions:

    1. How does the AF JAG program differ from Army?
    2. Is it more competitive?
    3. What are the chances of deployment?
    4. If deployed– how long can I expect to be gone?
    5. What if I am married– how hard does the AF work to keep me near my partner and move me around less?
    6. What are your criticisms about being an JAG for the AF?
    7. What is the best part of being a JAG for the AF?
    8. How important is the interview?

    I thank you for your time. If anyone reading this has comments/advice for me you can contact me at naureen.anwar.jd@gmail.com

  14. Sam Polland Says:

    Andy,

    Hey man! I am really of proud of you man! Who would have thought from our days at Camp Interlaken that you would become a JAG attorney! That is so cool. I thought about OCS, but instead ended on a different path. Shoot me an email at sampolland@yahoo.com so we can catch up.

    Take Care,

    Sam

  15. Kyle Says:

    Just wanted to stop by and say thanks so much for posting about your experiences here. I head out to COT on March 4th, and will be arriving at Aviano in April. I look forward to working with you, and would love to ask you some questions if you have some time. Send me an email if you get a chance.

    Thanks!

  16. Edna Says:

    Dear Lt. Cherkasky:

    I am graduating from law school this May and I am interested in applying for a JAG position with the AF.

    Your blog is very informative and I thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    Please shoot me an email when you have time.

    Thank you,

    Edna

  17. Joe Says:

    Dude,

    I just heard about your blog. There’s so much stuff on it that I didn’t look at anything. Maybe when I’m in Iraq I’ll have time to read about your life as a JAG attorney. Is it like the tv show???

    Do you even check this thing? It might be time to update your “about me” section. Unless you got demoted back to 1st Lt. Remember, you’re supposed to bring me pasta and a gelato when I make my stop in Italia. Talk to you soon.

    Joe

  18. Adam Says:

    Lt. Cherkasky,

    Thank you for posting your experiences of COT. I will be going on August 25th, and am pretty nervous. I was wondering if you know of a place that mentions what to bring to COT, because I can’t find it anywhere.
    Thanks again

    Adam

  19. Maria Says:

    Hi!! I’m also a graduate from AF JAGS school.. Its a very nice experience and I had a lot fun…

  20. Michael Berg Says:

    Cpt. Cherkasky,

    Thank you for writing your blog it has given me a great deal of insight into the JAG Corps and the training process. I am a 3L at Hofstra Law School and am interested in joining the JAG corps upon graduation. I was hoping you could give me some information on what it is like being married and going through the experiences you went though. Also how was the process for selecting your first assignment location? You have definitely helped ease some of my concerns about being a part of the military and your blog is great. Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thanks

  21. shane mcmahon Says:

    JAG? Really andy?

  22. Bill McDermott Says:

    I’m in my first year of law school, and I have an interview with a SJA for entry into the JAG’s GLP program this month. I’m terribly excited about, and just completed my package and am getting ready for the interview. My girlfriend and I have been trying to find any and all the information we could about what this type of lifestlye would be like. We just spent the last two hours following your blog, and you have no idea how much you have helped us. We wish you both the best, and can’t thank you enough!

    Bill & Patti

  23. TT Says:

    Oh no . . .what happened after October? What a great read. Someone plz fill me in.

  24. Jerry Anderson Says:

    Capt. Andrew

    If you want to add Facebook or email sharing buttons to your blog posts, there’s a plugin that does it for you:

    http://tinyurl.com/sharebuttons

    Hope you find it helpful!

    Cheers,
    Jerry

  25. Sam Polland Says:

    Andy. A friend of mine who is interested in JAG is going to be contacting you. Her name is Maria.

    Hope all is well.

  26. Katy Says:

    Hi. I, like others who found this site, am seeking commission as an Air Force JAG. I am prior military (7 years in the National Guard) and I miss serving. I am excited to take the skills I learned in law school and help Airmen in various aspects of the law. I have my DAP interview 2 March and am in the process of preparing. I was wondering if you could contact me via my personal email and provide me any advice/information you might have. I would appreciate it. I am serious about making this a career and my husband and I want to ensure we receive as much information as possible on in order to maximize the opportunities available. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Katy

  27. Gerry Unger Says:

    Captain,
    I’ m an MD, JD working on helping an Air Force Vet (discharged in 1952). I cannot find anyone that can translate the “Reason for his separation:

    “PETS AFR 35-66 par 5b TWX AFPMP-4 44424″

    I have the basic premise for his separation, but would really appreciate a translation, or where I can find it.

    Semper Fi,
    Gerry

  28. Karl Says:

    I’m interested in Air Force JAG. How did you get Italy for your first assignment?

  29. Becca Says:

    I started a blog for JAG wives. Thanks for your blog!

  30. Becca Says:

    Just click on my name and it will take you to my Blog for JAG wives.

  31. John Says:

    I want to become a JAG, but at the same time a family is a big priority for me. Is it difficult to balance a family life and military life, especially abroad, or do you like it better this way?

  32. Miguel Rodriguez Says:

    Wow, this blog is awesome. The military must give you some kind of recognition or something. I’m a 30 year old lawyer with what I think are the necessary requirements (from what I’ve read) to join JAG, but I wanted to see what it was like, specially the training. This blog is even more informative than the Air Force JAG website itself. I’m basically in the same position you are: a wife and a 6 year old son. I have a few short questions, for you or your wife, if you have the time: is it worth it? Should I join? Do you actually like it? Do you feel like you’re in prison? Thank you!

  33. Jon Says:

    Dear Sir,

    When deciding whether to apply for the AF JAG, I read every word of your blog. I applied, but, despite good credentials (honors grad from a top 20 law school, federal clerkship), I didn’t make the cut. As I consider reapplying, I would be most interested in an update to your blog – and if other readers’ comments are an indication, I am not alone in my desire. Please consider an update – or a private message, if you prefer – about your second posting, your work/family balance, if/where you were deployed, your thoughts on re-enlisting, and if you have decided not to re-enlist, your thoughts on your future as an attorney with this unique experience behind you.

    Many thanks,
    Jon

  34. Heather Vandevender Says:

    Hello Sir! My name is Heather and my husband is Active Duty Air Force and we were both stationed in Aviano in 2000-2002! What an awesome place! I got out after we had our son in 2004 but my husband is still in. He is in recruiting and recruits physicians for the Air Force. I had a question about where I could go to get some real estate legal advice through the JAG. We are no longer stationed near a base since he is doing recruiting and we have a residence in Michigan that we are contemplating giving the keys back to the bank since we have been unable to sell for 4 years now! If you could give me a contact number of someone I could call for advice, I’d REALLY REALLY REALLY appreciate it. Thanks for all you do!

    Sincerely,
    Heather

  35. mubarak Says:

    I just graduated law school in May and I am currently applying to the Air Force JAG’s next board in October. I am writing my Personal Interest/Motivational statement. Could you offer any advice about writing it? Or any tips on the interview I have it in a couple of weeks? Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.

  36. anik Says:

    Dear Andy, Sarah, and Eva,
    I am a 3L student at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago (hello from your hometown!), and I’ve been hoping to become a JAG officer in the Air Force since I found out about it as a 1L. While doing my research back in 2009, I came across your blog and it has been one of the best sources of information in my decision-making process. I did interview for direct appointment in August…and this past Thursday I received the coveted phone call!!! I am still waiting for “the packet” to arrive, but I am extremely excited, and…well…nervous to an even higher extent. I have resumed my gluttonious reading of everything Air Force JAG, and re-read your entire blog, this time out loud to my husband.
    I am not usually one to comment on blogs, but I wanted to take the time to let you know how informative and, ultimately, essential this blog is for everyone like me, who is interested in the perspective of a real JAG officer and not a recruiter. I hope to see more recent posts soon and to get an update on Evie’s progress (and travels =), and wish you and your growing family years of happiness and health. Thank you again for putting this together.
    Sincerely,
    Anya.

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