US Air Force Recalls Retirees to Fill Critical Personnel Gap

US Air Force calls retirees back into active service

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The US Air Force has launched a recruitment effort to attract officers and retirees back into service to combat a critical personnel shortage.

The Air Force is seeking up to 1,000 retirees to return to active duty in a variety of special duty positions, including pilot, air traffic control, airfield operations and combat systems. The program, which began accepting applications on Thursday, limits the length of active duty to less than 48 months and expects retirees who apply to return to active duty within four to six months.

The move comes at a time when the Air Force is struggling with personnel shortages, including a shortfall of nearly 2,000 pilots. The Air Force is also missing airman training targets set for fiscal year 2023, underscoring the seriousness of this shortfall.

“The VRRAD program is a strategic opportunity to embrace experienced talent and provides an opportunity to fill critical roles using talent from retired members,” Lieutenant General Caroline Miller, Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, said in a statement.

Retirees returning to service through the program will be restored to their grade but will not be eligible for other programs such as aviation bonuses or promotions. The program covers officers and retirees in ranks up to senior master sergeants in targeted areas.

The application process targets pilots, combat systems, air traffic control, airport operations, cyber operations, logistics and other specific fields.

Those who come back to service through the program will return to their grade at retirement and will be ineligible for other programs, such as aviation bonuses or promotion, Air and Space Forces magazine reported.

The service is seeking commissioned officers in the grade of captain through lieutenant colonel, saying that while all who are eligible may apply, it is targeting the following specific fields:

  • 11X – Pilot
  • 12X – Combat Systems
  • 13B – Air Battle Manager
  • 13H – Aerospace Physiologist
  • 13M – Airfield Operations
  • 13N – Nuclear and Missile Operations
  • 14X – Information Operations/Intelligence
  • 15X – Operations Analysis and Weather
  • 16X – Operations Support
  • 17X – Cyber Operations
  • 18X – Remotely Piloted Aircraft
  • 19Z – Special Warfare
  • 21X – Logistics
  • 31P – Security Forces
  • 32E – Civil Engineering
  • 35P – Public Affairs
  • 38F – Force Support Officer
  • 61X – Scientific/Research
  • 62X –Developmental Engineering
  • 63X – Acquisition
  • 64P – Contracting
  • 65X – Finance
  • 71S – Special Investigation

The program limits retired enlisted to those in the grade of staff sergeant through senior master sergeant in the following targeted fields:

  • 1C171 – Air Traffic Control
  • 2G071 – Logistics Plans
  • 2T377 – Fleet Management & Analysis
  • 3F071 – Personnel
  • 3P071 – Security Forces
  • 4A271 – Biomedical Equipment
  • 4E071 – Public Health
  • 4N071 – Aerospace Medical Service
  • 4R071 – Diagnostic Imaging
  • 7S071 – Special Investigations
  • 8R000/8R200 – Recruiter(s)


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