ARLINGTON, Va. — More than 300 airmen responded to the Air Force’s call last week for volunteers to be trained as either interrogators or interrogator support staff and then deploy to Iraq, according to Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Dee Witham.

The Air Force does not even have an Air Force Specialty Code, or official job description, for interrogators.

But in an effort to help share the load with the Army, which is responsible for prisoner interviews in both Iraq and Afghanistan, Air Force officials announced last week they were looking for 100 volunteers to fill a total of 45 slots in Iraq beginning this fall.

The extra margin was set because officials knew that not everyone would be fully qualified for the job, Witham said.

Airmen had just a week’s notice, until March 25, to ask for the nontraditional assignment.

But even with the short window of opportunity, “we had 300 volunteers” inquire by phone, Witham said Monday.

Of those volunteers, 200 actually filled out the application for the position, and just 95 had the required top-secret security clearance, Witham said.

Nevertheless, the service now has “an excellent pool” of qualified applicants from which to select the trainees, and Air Force officials will not have to turn to “nonvolunteers” to fill the roster, she said.

Selected applicants will begin training in May at the Army’s interrogator school at Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., and then deploy to Iraq later this fall.

Qualified applicants who do not make the cut for the 45 available jobs this time around will be encouraged to apply again next year, when the Air Force expects to seek another 100 volunteers for interrogator training, Witham said.

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