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Board targets enlisteds in overmanned fields for cuts

Dec. 30, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The Air Force in June plans to hold its first enlisted retention board for senior airmen through senior master sergeants in unspecified overmanned specialties.
The Air Force in June plans to hold its first enlisted retention board for senior airmen through senior master sergeants in unspecified overmanned specialties. (Senior Airman Jessica Lockoski / Air Force)
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The Air Force in June plans to hold its first enlisted retention board for senior airmen through senior master sergeants in overmanned specialties, the Air Force Personnel Center said Dec. 27.

And beginning Jan. 14, airmen who could find themselves before the retention board can apply for voluntary separation or, if they are eligible, retirement to avoid meeting the board. That application window will end May 1. Approved senior airmen, staff sergeants and technical sergeants must either separate by Jan. 31, 2015, or retire by Feb. 1, 2015. Master sergeants and senior master sergeants who voluntarily retire must do so by Jan. 1, 2015.

The enlisted retention board is the latest in a series of 18 force management programs the Air Force has announced in recent weeks to help it deal with across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh has repeatedly said the service will have to cut up to 25,000 airmen over the next five years if sequestration continues.

Enlisted retention boards are already commonly held by the Army and Navy, but are new to the Air Force. A retention board for chief master sergeants in 45 overmanned career fields also will meet in June.

The enlisted retention board will review airmen’s enlisted performance reports, decorations and a retention recommendation form to decide who should be retained and who should be separated.

AFPC retirements and separations branch chief Lt. Col. Rick Garcia said in a news release that senior raters must prepare and sign a retention recommendation form recommending retention or separationfor each of their senior noncommissioned officers who are eligible for the board. Squadron commanders will prepare and sign a retention recommendation form for all eligible senior airmen through technical sergeants.

The Air Force did not release the list of overmanned specialties that will make enlisted airmen eligible to meet the board.

Senior airmen, staff sergeants and technical sergeants in an overmanned specialty with a date of rank of Jan. 1, 2013, or earlier could be eligible for the board. Master sergeants and senior master sergeants in an overmanned specialty with at least 20 years of total active federal military service by Oct. 31, 2014, and with a date of rank of Jan. 1, 2013, or earlier also may be eligible for the board.

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