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News > Early retirement possible for some enlisted Airmen
Early retirement possible for some enlisted Airmen

Posted 4/9/2012   Updated 4/9/2012 Email story   Print story


by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs

4/9/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - RANDOLPH, Texas -- Staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants in 19 overmanned career fields may be eligible for early retirement in fiscal year 2012 under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority, Air Force officials announced.

The application window for TERA, commonly referred to as the 15-year retirement, will be open April 10-30 in order to shape the force to meet current and future mission requirements, said Colonel Kenneth Sersun, Chief of Military Force Policy Division.

"The current voluntary and involuntary force management programs have enabled the Air Force to continue to size and shape congressionally mandated end strength levels," said Sersun. "However, we must have the right balance of skills to meet future mission needs, so we will continually assess requirements and force management options."

TERA is one of several programs the Air Force is using to achieve that balance, according to Lt. Col. Tara White, AFPC retirements branch chief.

"We expect to approve approximately 250 TERA applications this fiscal year. Airmen who are approved must retire not later than Sept. 1," she explained. "Approval will be based on overmanned specialties, time in service of 15 to 19 years, and grade."

For example, in this fiscal year, a staff sergeant with 15 years of service in an overmanned career field may be eligible for TERA. However, a staff sergeant with 15 years of service in a balanced or undermanned career field will not be eligible for TERA.

In the event it becomes necessary, additional selection criteria will include active duty service commitment, time in grade, and commander recommendation, White said.

Eligible overmanned career fields in FY12 include the following:
2A0X1P - Avionics Test Station and Components
2A3X3 - Tactical Aircraft Maintenance (technical and master sergeants only)
2A6X3 - Aircrew Egress Systems (technical and master sergeants only)
2S0X1 - Materiel Management
2T1X1 - Vehicle Operations (staff sergeants only)
2T370 - Vehicle Maintenance (technical and master sergeants only)
2T3X7 - Vehicle Management and Analysis (master sergeants only)
3D0X1 - Knowledge Operations Management (technical and master sergeants only)
3D1X3 - Radio Frequency Transmission Systems (technical and master sergeants only)
3D1X5 - Ground Radar Systems (master sergeants only)
3D1X6 - Airfield Systems (technical sergeants only)
3E0X2 - Electrical Power Production (technical sergeants only)
3E1X1 - Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
3S0X1 - Personnel
4A0X1 - Health Services Management (staff and master sergeants only)
4J0X2 - Physical Medicine (master sergeants only)
4N071 - Aerospace Medical Service (technical and master sergeants only)
4T0X1 - Medical Laboratory (technical and master sergeants only)
6F0X1 - Financial Management and Comptroller (staff and master sergeants only)

The Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserves do not plan to conduct force management action in FY12, Sersun said, but all components are working together to ensure the Total Force is prepared for FY13 manpower reductions. For Air Force Reserve information, go to  For Air National Guard information, go to

For more information about TERA and other personnel issues, visit the Air Force Personnel Services website at

5/7/2012 1:51:07 PM ET
Do your homework on VERA and the VA benefits you will lose by retiring at 15 years. Call the VA and get the info before you make a decision.
Sean, Davis-Monthan AFB AZ
4/12/2012 11:59:30 AM ET
Why is it that my career field is overmanned enough i have people who cant get a CJR but we are not overmanned enough to early retire anyone It doesn't make a logical connection to me. we need room to be able to keep folks but won't make room for them.
James, biloxi ms
4/10/2012 8:27:36 AM ET
A few short tips from a USAF retiree 06. Study learn and review the current job and career market for your field and area. Find out the employee turnover rate especially if any layoffs due to budget cuts. Watch the news for large company layoffs even if they are not in your career sector. This will mean a flood of unemployed people seeking work such as American Airlines. Ensure there are actual openings in the corporate environment for your specialties. You do have more skills than your career field alone. Many companies will post pending open positions when they might not actually have any open jobs. They are always fishing for applicants yet they may never contact you. It is strongly encouraged in attending Transition Assistance Program-TAP and twice if possible. Attend TAP around 18-12 months and then 6 months prior to leaving the AF. Talk with friends and retirees ask questions and listen to them. If you are planning to leave the AF it is time to
Gary, Fort Worth Texas
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