HomeHomemyPersRetirementRetirement Recognition


Retirement Recognition

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



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

  • DD Form 363AF, Certificate of Retirement
  • 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 of service at retirement)
  • Any awards, decorations, honors or letters of appreciation
  • AF Form 1344, Certificate of Appreciation for Spouse of Retiring Member (if appropriate)
  • AF Form 4370, CMSAF Certificate of Appreciation
  • AF Form 4369, CMSAF Certificate of Appreciation for Spouse of Retiring Member (if appropriate)

Review AFI 36-3203, chapter 6, and the Retirements Personnel Services Delivery (PSD) Guide, volume 1, Section M, for more information and certificate preparation instructions.



Commanders follow formal ceremonial procedures unless the Airman prefers an informal ceremony. If the Airman chooses not to have a formal or informal ceremony or cannot be present for duty on the retirement date due to unforeseen circumstances, the Airman's commander or an officer designated by the commander, personally presents the DD Form 363AF, Certificate of Retirement; AF Form 1344, Certificate of Appreciation for Spouse of Retiring Airman; Retired lapel button; US flag and any awards or honors that express appreciation for the Airman'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 14.



While not part of the required items for presentation, retiring Airmen or their supervisors may request, if desired, recognition from former Presidents of the United States. Those interested in recognition from former President Obama may submit requests online. For other former Presidents, contact the applicable Presidential Library. Recognition from a former President is typically a letter of appreciation, which may be presented during the Airman's retirement ceremony; however, this is not authorized to be used in place of the current President's recognition certificate, DD Form 2542, or letter of appreciation.


Each Presidential Library will have unique requirements for submitting requests, so interested parties should contact them well in advance of the retirement ceremony for specific instructions.

Benefits and Entitlements
Blended Retirement System