'Where there are mistakes, as an institution, we will make it right,' said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, deputy chief of staff, manpower, personnel and services. (Mike Morones / Staff)
The Air Force said Tuesday that a handful of airmen whose approved early retirements had been revoked will still be able to retire if they so choose.
Fewer than 20 airmen had been told over the weekend that their Temporary Early Retirement Authority approvals were revoked, the Air Force said. The Air Force would not release the specific number.
“We are aware that some airmen received erroneous [Temporary Early Retirement Authority] approvals and were subsequently notified of the inaccuracy,” Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in a news release. “We regret any potential hardship this created, but we have looked into the specifics of each individual case and are following up with the airmen impacted by the error. When dealing with decisions that affect airmen, our goal is zero errors. But, given the complex and dynamic nature of our force management programs, it would be unrealistic to say we’ll never make a mistake. Where there are mistakes, as an institution, we will make it right.”
The Air Force Personnel Center will personally contact affected airmen and is looking closer to see if other airmen similarly had their approvals revoked.
The revocation emails told airmen that their retirement applications had been approved erroneously, either because the maximum number of voluntary applications had been approved or because those airmen’s career fields and grades had been removed from eligibility due to adjustments to manpower requirements. The emails also told those airmen that they were no longer eligible for other voluntary or involuntary force management programs this year.
Blogger and former airman Tony Carr wrote on Saturday that the notices had gone out. Some airmen then rushed to confirm their TERA approvals were still good.
And on Monday, someone created an online petition asking the White House to overturn the TERA reversals.
The Air Force’s Tuesday release said that so far, 3,022 TERA applications had been approved — 2,712 enlisted airmen and 310 officers. The Air Force has also approved 2,471 enlisted applications for voluntary separation pay and 167 officer applications.