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Air Force Grants Potential Reprieve to Some Airmen Facing Separation

A pararescueman from the 38th Rescue Squadron prepares his weapon during a rescue exercise at Bemiss Field landing zone, Ga., June 21, 2017. (DANIEL SNIDER/U.S. AIR FORCE)
A pararescueman from the 38th Rescue Squadron prepares his weapon during a rescue exercise at Bemiss Field landing zone, Ga., June 21, 2017. (DANIEL SNIDER/U.S. AIR FORCE)

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Enlisted airmen from 106 career fields may be granted up to an additional two years to get promoted before being involuntarily separated from the Air Force, according to a service memo released last week.

The Air Force's high-year of tenure extension program is an effort to meet congressionally mandated end strength targets after a drawdown in 2014 caused significant shortages in certain Air Force specialties and grades.

Last year's program allowed airmen from 122 jobs to apply for extensions, a significant increase from 35 eligible career fields in 2015.

The Air Force policy commonly known as "up or out" dictates that airmen have a set time to make the next rank before being involuntarily separated. If an extension is approved, airmen remain promotion-eligible and their high-year of tenure dates adjust accordingly.

The extension program could mean a longer career for some airmen and the retention of experienced workers for the Air Force as it rebuilds.

The program is open to active-duty airmen from the specified career fields and grades with high-year of tenure dates of Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2018. The application window will be open through May 31, 2018.

Potentially eligible airmen will be notified by email on or about Tuesday.

Airmen with a high-year of tenure date in October must submit an application immediately and be approved prior to their current tenure date, the memo said.

To see a list of the Air Force specialties and grades and complete application requirements, airmen can follow the links on the Mypers.af.mil “Fiscal Year (FY) 17/18 High Year of Tenure Extension Program” posting.

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