More enlisted airmen targeted for early release

(MILITARY TIMES)   The Air Force is digging even deeper into the force than it said it would in November.

Air Force officials announced Wednesday the need for a second enlisted date of separation rollback, aimed at accelerating the separation of enlisted airmen based on their years of service and re-enlistment eligibility or assignment availability codes.

The announcement comes four months after the Air Force asked 2,074 officers and 1,633 enlisted airmen to separate voluntarily or to end their terms ahead of schedule. The affected airmen were in overstaffed career fields or already planning to leave the Air Force.

Enlisted airmen being encouraged to leave were those with fewer than 14 years of service and those with more than 20 years of service who were eligible for retirement as of April 30. For officers, the service was seeking volunteers.

Under the new rollback, airmen must separate no later than June 30 or retire no later than July 1 if they have a code that prevents them from re-enlisting.

Air Force leaders have been concerned that the weak civilian economy has resulted in fewer airmen leaving the service, forcing them to look at additional measures to stay within the service’s authorized end strength of 331,700.

As of Thursday, officials did not know how many airmen might be affected by this rollback.

“We do not have the number … until commanders are provided the opportunity to notify airmen and to consider the various options to determine an airman’s eligibility,” Senior Master Sgt. Carianne Melnick, manager of the Air Force Personnel Center separations branch, wrote in an e-mail.

Airmen who are separated or retired under this rollback can receive transition assistance benefits, including 180 days of extended medical care for themselves and their families, and base commissary and exchange privileges for two years, according to an Air Force press release.

Those who separate with more than six years but fewer than 20 years of total active service are eligible for half the amount of separation pay but must sign an Individual Ready Reserve agreement to serve for at least three years. Those who decline to serve in the IRR can not receive separation pay, according to the AFPC press release.

Air Force Personnel Center officials were unable to provide additional information on the rollback.

For information, visit the Air Force Personnel Center personnel services Web site and enter “DOS rollback” in the search engine, or call the Total Force Service Center at 210-525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.

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