Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC's) are used to denote what responsibility or job someone is performing in the Air Force. The system was overhauled in 1993 to better match recent restructuring and modern positions. The previous system of AFSC's began in 1954 after the Air Force modified the Army's MOS system that it had been using since it separated from the Army.

I have my some of my grandfather's military records which use the 1954 - 1993 system. All AFSC's on his records have 4 digit numbers 1411 and are sometimes followed by a letter 1235B. The new system for officers has numbers in the first two places, a letter in the third position, and a number in the fourth 11A4.

Any explanatory listing of AFSC's that I have been able to find uses the new system. Where can I find an explanation of the old system?

  • Can you give an example of the code used pre-1993 for context, via an edit? Also, what time period was he in the service?
    – jmort253
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 20:53
  • I have good resources for the World War II codes (Army, or Army Air Forces); but from what you have written ("previous system of AFSC's began in 1954) those would seem to predate your interest.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 22:12
  • There is an online compilation of WWII US Army (Army Air Forces) code references available from the site www.armyairforces.com see armyairforces.com/Data/MOS.aspx
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 22:14
  • That could help since the system started in 1954 was a modified form of MOS. I also found a site that lists a lot of the AFSCs used during the 60's and 70's and their assignment, but I don't know if its complete or correct, and it doesn't explain the system.
    – user47
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 22:16
  • @GeneJ I did a quick search on that site and couldn't find any matches. So perhaps the "modification" was more significant, just like the "update" in 1993.
    – user47
    Commented Oct 14, 2012 at 22:21

9 Answers 9


The University of Iowa has a chart (AFVA 36-1) of AFSC's effective 31 October 1988. This may not help with AFSC's that had been retired long before (for example Strategic Bomber Pilot - 1235 - only has C [B-52], E [FB-111], N [B-1], and Z [Other] suffixes listed, so if you were a B-58 Hustler driver it's not on the chart).


It's a huge .jpg file and it is downloadable.

  • 1
    That's a lot closer than any other avenue has gotten me!
    – user47
    Commented May 9, 2013 at 20:45
  • They also have the Airmen Classification Structure Chart, AFVA 39-1, dated 30 April, 1988! So enlisted personnel might have a shot at finding those old AFSC's as well. :-) digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/gpc/id/1528/rec/… Commented May 10, 2013 at 15:40
  • And for seriously deep digging - whs.mil/library/tm12406/s5.pdf - This looks like an Army Air Force/Army Air Corps MOS list, meaning it dates from before the 1947 creation of the US Air Force as a separate service. Commented May 10, 2013 at 16:32

As suggested by B. R. Miller and GeneJ, I asked the Air Force Historical Studies Office. The responded that they are devoted to the history of operational units and organization, and therefore none of their work involves AFSCs. However, because they're frequently asked about AFSCs, they have obtained 3 documents relating to them.

The 1972 documents consists of two wall charts 24"X24". The Vietnam document is 124 pages. The WWII documents are 75 pages each.

None are electronic. The 124 and the two 75 page documents exceed the Pentagon servers limit page and MB/KB.

Sadly, you have to visit their office in Washington DC to view them.

They also said that the historian at the Air Force Personnel Center would probably be able to help more if he wasn't currently deployed to Afghanistan.

I found a site that lists a lot of the AFSCs used during the 60's and 70's along with their assignment, but I don't know if its complete or correct, and it doesn't explain the system (i.e. what the significance of each digit is). But that's the best we can do without visiting Washington DC.

  • i know one: mine as @ 5Jan87. 2635 = physicist
    – user7285
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 10:48
  • @user7285 That is one of the codes listed at preservingourhistory.com/afsc.html which is linked to in this answer. Thank you for verifying it.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Nov 30, 2017 at 3:36

The current standard is available from the Air Force e-pubs site.

Each version of the standard lists the one that it supercedes, so you should be able to follow that chain back to the time period of interest for you.

Here are the first few links in the chain:


This document implies that the rest of the chain is AFI 36-2101, 9 December 1999; AFI 36-2101, 1 May 98; AFI 36-2101, 3 August 1994 at which point it may switch to a differnent doc number.

Of course, you could probably short-circuit this whole process by asking the people who know -- the Air Force. http://www.e-publishing.af.mil/obsoleteproducts/

  • Thanks for the tips but I can't manage to find any documents other than the ones you've already listed. It seems like they're only publishing new stuff online and haven't gone back to publish older docs.
    – user47
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 14:39

The Air Force Historical Studies Office, in their FAQ, says "If you want to do your own historical research, the following agencies are good places to start:" and from their list (at http://www.afhso.af.mil/questions/topic.asp?id=1939) I recommend starting from the top down, with the Air Force-specific resources listed. They should be able to find a hard copy of the AFI referred to in the first answer and get that to you.

  • Since there are only two Air Force specific places listed, why not add them as a bulleted list to your answer. That way you could easily include the links to both those sites. Consider this edit, especially since the first listed resource seems to be the Air Force Historical Studies office itself. P.S. I've contacted them before and found them to be helpful.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 20:43

I was a 30650 (crypto maintenance).

breakdown of the AFSC 306X0: 30 was probably electronics, 6 was cryptographic systems, X skill level (1-unskilled, 3-semi-skilled, 5-skilled, 7-supervisor & 9-superintendent) 0 cryptographic maintenance

We used the 5 digit codes through the 1980s. When the Cold War ended, the USAF downsized, and many people were released from service. The USAF then began changing a large number of things, such as speciality codes, uniforms, ranks (Sergeant is gone for example), etc. I have long suspected this was for, among other reasons, to change things up for counter intel reasons. (There were tons of uniforms on the street, etc.)


I agree with @DeeHanner's answer. That was the period I was in the Air Force.

First 2 digits were major grouping, mine was 31 electronics. Third digit of 6, was air launched missiles. Fourth digit was skill level. Never did figure out what what fifth digit was. Suffix of L meant associated with F-4 planes.

Just for info AFSC 99125 job description read to the effect of: "Operates and maintains equipment owned by the 1035th operations group, Washington DC. I could have volunteered for that but I didn't.


When I was in the AF in the 70's enlisted personnel had a 5 digit AFSC - the first two digits were the major grouping - 32 was avionics, the next digit was a more definitive specialty within that group. The last two digits were the skill level - 3 = apprentice, 5 = Specialist, 7 = Technician. If there was also an alpha at the end it was due to a split in the career field that indicated different aspects of the job. Could be different equipment, field line or in shop, different A/C - depended on the job.

Correction: the last digit was the type aircraft a "1" signified tactical aircraft versus a "2" was Airlift/Bombardment. A "3" represented Cargo aircraft. The specific aircraft was given with the letter suffix ie "43152A = B-52; 43152E = C/KC-135,VC-137, E-3, E-4. 43152H = B-1. 43153A = C-130, C-23. 43153D = C-5, C-141 etc.


Retired in 1974 after 20 years service. My AFSC was R70270 meaning "702"admin specialist, "7" is skill level. "R" prefix was assigned to identify a certain experience/qualification.


I was in electronics(computers) training at Keesler Afb in 1993 my first three were 305 then it was change to 2E2

  • 2
    Was this a pre-1993 code or one from after the system was overhauled?
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 3:37