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The Air Force on Thursday extended the deadline for eligible airmen to apply for the latest round of voluntary early retirements to Aug. 19.
The Air Force announced the fiscal 2014 Temporary Early Retirement Authority, or TERA — commonly known as 15-year retirements — July 25, as part of its efforts to trim both enlisted airmen and officers next year. The deadline was previously Aug. 15.
Technical and master sergeants, captains, majors and lieutenant colonels in certain career fields who have at least 15, but less than 20, years of total active duty time as of Oct. 31 are eligible to apply for early retirement. Enlisted airmen and officers who have active duty service commitments or time in grade requirements may be eligible for a waiver, but some waivers may require the service member to repay the government. For example, an airman who has transferred his Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to a family member, who then used some or all of those benefits, may have to repay those funds.
Airmen accepted for early retirement will receive all of the benefits of traditional retirement pay but would also be docked 1 percentage point for each year short of 20 years.
Airmen whose early retirement applications are approved must retire by Nov. 1. Approved applicants who are subsequently selected for promotion will be allowed to withdraw their application but must do so within 10 weekdays of their promotion notification.
The Air Force was unable to provide estimates on how many airmen have so far applied by press time. The Air Force last month estimated about 597 officers and enlisted airmen are eligible for TERA next year, but that is likely to change. It is also unclear exactly how many enlisted airmen and officers the Air Force will need to cut by the end of fiscal 2014.
As of July 22, the Air Force had 985 more technical sergeants and 1,430 more master sergeants than its fiscal 2014 requested active-duty end strength, according to figures available on the Air Force Personnel Center’s website. The service also is 668 majors, 307 lieutenant colonels and 299 colonels above its projected end strength at the end of the next fiscal year.