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Air Force announces rollbacks to speed separations

Dec. 17, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The Air Force is planning to separate an unspecified number of enlisted airmen as much as a year early by the end of May through date-of-separation rollbacks.
The Air Force is planning to separate an unspecified number of enlisted airmen as much as a year early by the end of May through date-of-separation rollbacks. (Senior Airman Amber Williams / Air Force)
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The Air Force on Tuesday is releasing a list of more than 90 enlisted airmen who will be separated by the end of May — as much as a year early — through date-of-separation rollbacks.

The commanders of the airmen who are tapped to separate or retire early under the rollback should receive the list Thursday, according to a memo from the Air Force Personnel Center. By Friday, AFPC said, affected airmen must be notified that their separation date will be rolled back.

And if retirement-eligible airmen don’t move fast after learning they are affected by the rollback, they risk losing their retirement benefits.

“If you are eligible to retire and identified for DOS rollback, you must submit a retirement application by Jan. 31, 2014, for the May 1 or earlier retirement,” Lt. Col. Rick Garcia, AFPC’s retirements and separations branch chief, said in a Dec. 17 release. “If you do not, you will be separated instead, and will not receive retirement benefits.”

The rollbacks are part of a broad array of voluntary and involuntary measures the Air Force plans to use throughout 2014 to reduce its ranks and help it deal with across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester.

Enlisted airmen up to the rank of senior master sergeant who have refused temporary duty, permanent change of station, training, retraining or professional military education could be separated under these rollbacks. Affected airmen will have their date of separation moved up to May 31. Those who are eligible retire must do so by May 1 or sooner.

Affected by the rollbacks are airmen with fewer than 15 years active duty as of May 30, or with 20 years or more by April 30.

They also:

■ Have either a date-of-separation of May 31, 2015, or earlier, or for airmen who are eligible to retire, a date-of-separation of April 30, 2015, or earlier.

■ Have a 3D or 3E re-enlistment code, an 09 assignment availability code, or a 3E grade status reason rendering them ineligible to re-enlist.

In the past, commanders have sometimes had some ability to spare some airmen from rollbacks. But according to a memo that was updated Dec. 16, commanders will have no discretion to decide who stays and who goes under the coming rollback.

Airmen who leave or retire under the rollback will not have to repay unearned portions of bonuses, special pays or other monetary incentives, but they also will not receive unpaid portions of bonuses, special pays or other monetary incentives.

Affected airmen could also receive separation pay. Airmen with between six and 20 years of active service, who are not in their first term, may receive full separation pay, if they sign an Individual Ready Reserve Agreement. Airmen on active duty for 180 days or more will receive transition assistance benefits, such as permissive temporary duty, 180 days extended medical care for themselves and family members, and two years of commissary and exchange privileges.

Airmen retiring or separating under the rollback are also required to take part in a transition assistance program that includes pre-separation counseling, a five-day workshop, a Veterans Affairs Department benefits briefing, and a capstone review. Other optional training seminars and one-on-one career counseling will also be available.

Rollbacks also normally consider airmen who have negative quality indicator codes for absence without leave, receive a referral on an enlisted performance report, or otherwise misbehave. That is not the case this year. Instead, those airmen will be covered by a new quality force review board in May, a new addition to the Air Force’s stable of force reduction tools.

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