Retirement Recognition

One of the oldest traditions of military service is to recognize Airmen and Guardians retiring from a career of long and honorable service. Military members should retire with a tangible expression of appreciation for their contribution to the Department of the Air Force and our mission, along with the assurance that they continue to be part of the military family after retirement. Commanders recognize the contributions of all retiring service members by conducting a retirement ceremony unless the individual specifically requests not to have one.

AFI 36-3203, Service Retirements, paragraph, outlines the items to be presented at the ceremony. At the ceremony, the unit presents:

  • DD Form 363AF, Certificate of Retirement, or DD Form 363SPF, Certificate of Retirement, United States Space Force
  • United States Flag
  • Air Force Retired Lapel Button
  • DD Form 2542, Certificate of Appreciation for Service in the Armed Forces of the United States
  • The Presidential Letter of Appreciation (if Airman has at least 30 years for retired pay purposes)
  • Any awards, decorations, honors, or letters of appreciation
  • AF Form 1344, Certificate of Appreciation for Spouse of Retiring Member, or SPF Form 1344, Certificate of Appreciation (if appropriate)
  • AF Form 4370, CMSAF Certificate of Appreciation, or SPF Form 4370, CMSSF Certificate of Appreciation
  • AF Form 4369, CMSAF Certificate of Appreciation (Spouse) or SPF Form 4369, CMSSF Certificate of Appreciation (Spouse) (if appropriate)
  • Review AFI 36-3203, chapter 7, and the Retirements Personnel Services Delivery (PSD) Guide, volume 1, Section M, for more information and certificate preparation instructions.

Commanders ensure the retirement ceremony meets the basic intent and traditions of a military functions, as spelled out in AFI 1-1, Air Force Standards. If the member chooses not to have a formal or informal ceremony or cannot be present for duty on the retirement date due to unforeseen circumstances, the member’s commander, or an officer designated by the commander, personally presents the Certificate of Retirement, Certificate of Appreciation (Spouse), retired lapel button, US Flag and any awards or honors that express appreciation for the member's service.

A checklist is available in the Retirements PSD Guide, Volume 1, Section M-2, to assist individuals designated to arrange the ceremony. Use the checklist to prevent error or oversight that may offend the retiree, their family, or friends. Additional guidance can be found in AF Pamphlet 34-1202, Guide to Protocol, chapter 6.

Presidential Letter of Appreciation

A Presidential Letter of Appreciation (PLOA), or retirement letter, is a standard letter of appreciation prepared by the White House and signed by the President of the United States. The letter recognizes military or Department of Defense civilian retirees with (30) or more years of creditable service for retired pay. This award may be given to civilians, Service members who served in multiple branches, and those who served in both military and civilian positions.

Each Military Department requests PLOAs through their respective White House Liaison Officer (WHLO) and provides the information necessary to complete the letter.

For more information and to submit a request please go to:

Reserve Retired Pay

If you are a retired Reservist under age 60, and not already receiving retired pay, approximately four months prior to your retired pay effective date, Headquarters Air Reserve Personnel Center will notify you of your eligibility for retired pay, to include general pay information and how to initiate the process. If this has not occurred, please contact the Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102. 

Obtaining Your DD Form 214

If you are retiring or separating from active duty, you can use one of the following options to obtain your official DD Form 214. 

Option 1 - Upon your DD Form 214 being made official, you will receive an email on how you will be able to download the form via "vMPF" (link above and access/download DD Form 214 with a USERID/PASSWORD).

Option 2 - Once you separate and/or retire, you can access your entire master personnel file (which includes DD Form 214's, NGB 22's and evaluation reports), without a Common Access Card, through a Department of Veterans Affairs web site called 'eBenefits'

Option 3 - Former active-duty Airmen who retired or separated on or after 1 October 2004 can also request copies of records such as DD Form 214's, performance reports and other information by submitting an SF 180 (latest version available on NARA website) to:

550 C St. West
JBSA-Randolph, TX 78150
Fax: Commercial (210)565-3124, DSN: 665-3124

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