WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2007 - Military families now can access military-supplied air transport to travel to their official "homes of record" located outside the continental United States when their sponsors are deployed for 120 days or more, thanks to a recent policy change, a military official said today.
Before the change, which became effective Dec. 6, family members only could use military space-available, or "Space-A," flights to travel to their homes of record in the lower 48 states, said Air Force Lt. Col. Michael R. Holmes, with the office of the assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for transportation policy.
"We have a significant number of military personnel whose spouses and extended families may not reside in the continental U.S.," Holmes explained. For example, he said, the states of Hawaii and Alaska, and the territory of Guam, fall under the criteria of the new policy.
Military families can save considerable money by using low- or no-cost Space-A flights instead of using commercial airlines to get back to their homes of record, Holmes pointed out. However, family members under age 18 must be accompanied by an eligible parent or legal guardian, according to Defense Department documents explaining the new policy.
Family members using Space-A transport under the new policy also require a verification letter signed by the military sponsor's commander verifying the servicemember's deployment, according to Defense Department documents.
The new travel policy was enacted to mitigate some of the stresses of deployment encountered by servicemembers and their families, Holmes said.
The Space-A travel program is a privilege, not an entitlement, and it is extended to military family members in recognition of their support to the mission being performed by their sponsors and to enhance quality of life for servicemembers and their families, according to Air Force Air Mobility Command documents.