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Air Force: No Plans to Recall Retired Pilots to Fix Shortage

U.S. Air Force fighter pilots assigned to the 14th Fighter Squadron walk onto the flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska 17-2 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, June 16, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Haley D. Phillips)
U.S. Air Force fighter pilots assigned to the 14th Fighter Squadron walk onto the flight line during RED FLAG-Alaska 17-2 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, June 16, 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Haley D. Phillips)

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force says it doesn't plan on using new flexibility under an executive order signed by President Donald Trump to address a pilot shortage by recalling retired pilots.

Ann Stefanek, the chief of Air Force media operations, said Sunday the added power provided by Trump is appreciated but the service does not "currently intend to recall retired pilots."

Trump last Friday signed the order to address what the Pentagon says is a serious pilot shortage.

A Pentagon spokesman says the Air Force is currently short about 1,500 pilots, and had indicated that the secretary of defense would allow the secretary of the Air Force to recall up to 1,000 retired pilots for up to three years.

Under current law, the Air Force is limited to recalling 25 pilots.

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