The Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program provides select retired Air Force rated officers (Air Force Specialty Codes 11X-pilot, 12X-combat systems officer and 13B-air battle manager), or current Air Force rated officers in those AFSCs with an approved retirement order, the opportunity to return to active duty under Title 10, United States Code § 688a, in order to alleviate manning shortages within the Air Force rated community.
Officers who return to active duty under VRRAD will fill rated staff and active flying staff, test, training and operational positions where rated officer expertise is required. The Air Force’s Personnel Center can match VRRAD participants to stateside or overseas requirements. VRRAD officers will fill critical billets that would otherwise remain vacant due to the shortage of active-duty officers available to move out of operational flying assignments.
Rated officers who received an active-duty retirement within five years--or will receive one within 12 months from their VRRAD date of application--in the ranks of captain, major or lieutenant colonel, and who are under age 50, may apply for the program with older than 50 considered on a case-by-case basis.
Officers who were promoted to colonel/O-6, but did not retire in grade, may be eligible to apply, but will return to active duty as a lieutenant colonel/O-5. If returned to active duty, they would be ineligible to participate in any other programs to return as a colonel/O-6 while serving under VRRAD as a lieutenant colonel/O-5.
In addition, applicants must be medically qualified for active duty and have served in a rated staff position within 15 years or been qualified in an Air Force aircraft within 10 years of application for flying positions. Specifics for aircraft include 200 hours in the last five years in any aircraft for a T-6/T-1 position. T-38 requires previous T-38 experience plus 200 hours in the last five years in any aircraft.
AFPC will accept applications for VRRAD until June 30, 2022. Participation has expanded up to 1,000 retired rated officers and active-duty tour lengths are increased to a minimum of 24 months and a maximum of 48 months.
Officers returned to active duty under VRRAD must be medically qualified for aviation service and hold a current aeronautical rating to be eligible for flight pay. Additionally, those selected for extended active duty (EAD) whose aviation service has been inactive for more than 180 days will require revalidation of their aeronautical orders.
Retired rated officers returned to active duty will not be eligible for the aviation bonus, nor promotion consideration and will only deploy if they volunteer, unless they are assigned to a combat coded unit.
Participation in VRRAD does not incur any additional active-duty service commitment beyond the length of the EAD orders. Service under Title 10, USC § 688a, is not exempt from the five-year window of statutorily protected re-employment rights, meaning participating officers’ period of service counts toward their five years of USERRA protection. VRRAD service, regardless of the USC section, is automatically protected for re-employment rights up to five years under USERRA.
Active-duty officers accepted into VRRAD with an approved retirement application who will commence VRRAD service immediately upon retirement should proceed with out-processing appointments, terminal leave and retirement ceremony. The only difference will be that instead of being retired on the first day of the month after retiring, he or she will remain on active duty. Active-duty officers with an approved retirement application who apply and are accepted to VRRAD may have up to three options regarding their current leave. If they are eligible, they can sell their leave, they can take the leave and return to active duty on their first day of retirement, or they can choose to lose or forfeit their leave.
Applicants selected for EAD will be ordered to active duty in their retired grade and require a National Agency Check, Local Agency Checks and Credit Check. A higher level of security clearance may be required depending upon the assignment. All officers returned to active duty under VRRAD will be required to meet Air Force standards, to include physical fitness, and will have their performance documented on Officer Performance Reports.
Applicants may obtain copies of documents from their Military Human Resource Records in one of two ways: Register for a free Premium account on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ eBenefits site, or email, mail or fax a signed Standard Form 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, to AFPC’s military personnel records section. The form can be emailed to: DP2SSM.Milrecs.Incoming@us.af.mil, faxed to 210-565-3124 (DSN 665-3124) or mailed to the AFPC address on the back of the form. Please include “VRRAD Documents Needed” in the subject line of the email. Requests for records or documents cannot be made by phone. AFPC strives to meet a five-day turnaround while requests via eBenefits typically take two duty days.
Officers will submit their application packages using one of the two methods under the "How to Apply" section below, depending on myPers accessibility. After an eligibility screening, the application is forwarded to the respective AFPC assignment officer for review, who will then contact applicants to discuss experience and assignment desires.
The AFPC Military Accessions Branch will notify the applicant when to initiate the medical clearance process. The notification will include instructions and a memo for use in scheduling an appointment for a Flying Class II or Flying Class III physical examination, as appropriate, at an Air Force Medical Treatment Facility. Upon medical clearance, the Selection Authority considers the application and the applicant receives notification of their selection or non-selection for EAD.
AFPC will provide selected applicants with a Statement of Intent for use in accepting or declining the EAD offer. Applicants will have seven days to sign and return the SOI to AFPC. Once the applicant returns the SOI accepting the EAD officer, the Military Accessions Branch will complete EAD processing.
Applicants selected for EAD can expect to return to active duty anywhere from four to six months from their date of application. Processing times can vary depending upon medical and security clearances and revalidation of aeronautical orders processing. The EAD should not be considered final until all steps in the EAD process have been completed and the applicant receives their EAD orders. Officers should refrain from making any binding or irrevocable commitments due to a tentative assignment selection until orders are processed.
The application must be scanned as one continuous Adobe ".pdf" document in the order listed in the "Application Package" section above. Do not use PDF portfolios. Incomplete applications will be returned without action. Failure to submit required, complete and legible documents will delay processing of the application and may result in the application not being considered.
Applicants with access to myPers will click the VRRAD application link on myPers to submit their applications. Go to myPers->Retiree Officer->Assignment->Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program.
Applicants without access to myPers should request a myPers account using the instructions found here.
To check on the status of your application, please contact the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102, Option 5 (retired Military with personnel inquiries) or the VRRAD Program Manager.
Retired pay stops the day before resuming active duty. Upon return to retirement, retired pay is calculated according to how long the service member served on active duty. Airmen will receive credit for the time served on active duty documented on a DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. The Defense Finance & Accounting Service will adjust retired pay accordingly. The original retirement date will not change. AFPC Retirements will send the required information to DFAS to restart retired pay when Airmen revert to retired status. For more information, visit DFAS’s Recall to Active Duty web page.