Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Eligible officers, enlisted members offered early retirement

by Debbie Gildea
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

12/24/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- Staff through senior master sergeants and captains through lieutenant colonels in certain Air Force specialty codes may apply to retire with fewer than 20 years of active service under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced.

Commonly referred to as the 15-year retirement, TERA will be implemented to help achieve manpower and force structure goals as the service focuses on 2015 and beyond, said Lt. Col. Rick Garcia, the AFPC retirements and separations branch chief.

To be eligible for consideration, members in certain AFSCs must have at least 15, but less than 20 years of total active duty time as of July 31, 2014. Members with at least 19 years of service but less than 20 years of total active federal military service by July 31, 2014 may apply to retire, regardless of control or core AFSC. Lengthy service staff sergeants (those with "grandfathered" high year of tenure at 20 years) who have at least 15, but less than 20 years of TAFMS as of July 31 may also apply to retire, regardless of control AFSC.

Applications will be accepted Jan. 14, 2014, through March 26, 2014, and those approved must be retired by Aug. 1, 2014.

Airmen must apply through the virtual military personnel flight, accessible via the Air Force Portal or the myPers website. After submission, applicants can check the status in vMPF.

Airmen with an approved date of separation or a separation/retirement application pending prior Dec. 16, 2013, are not eligible for TERA. If an otherwise eligible member's separation or retirement application is disapproved, the member may be eligible to apply for TERA.

In addition, approved applicants who are subsequently selected for promotion will be allowed to withdraw their application, but must do so within 10 weekdays of their promotion notification. Airmen who have been selected for an assignment are ineligible to apply for TERA.

"If and when you are notified that you are eligible, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center and talk to your transition assistance program representatives," Garcia said. "TAP is a requirement mandated by federal law to aid Airmen in making a successful transition to civilian life and make informed decisions about their future. Therefore, we recommend you take advantage of resources available to you and consider registering for TAP early rather than wait for a retirement or separation decision. Members must complete TAP prior to starting terminal leave."

For full application instructions, eligibility requirements and a chart showing eligible Airmen, go to the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil and search for FY14 Force Management, or enter PSDM 13-127 for the enlisted program or PSDM 13-128 for the officer program.

Rescue Airmen work together to save an injured hiker

by Senior Airman Josh Slavin
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

12/23/2013 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- On the evening of Dec. 19 Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron and 55th Rescue Squadron performed a real-world rescue mission to save an elderly woman who had fallen while hiking in the mountains.

The 70-year-old hiker, who was visiting from Portal, Ariz., slipped on the loose terrain and sustained a fractured hip. A member of her group hiked to the nearest populated area and called for help. Once the local authorities were notified the rescue Airmen were called into action.

Staff Sgt. Robert Trubee and Staff Sgt. James Barnard, 48th RQS pararescuemen, worked with an aircrew from the 55th RQS to evacuate the injured woman.

While conducting the rescue mission the crew met several obstacles such as harsh weather conditions, rough terrain and low visibility. They had to rely on their years of experience to successfully evacuate the patient.

"To be in that kind of area, at night, with high winds like that is not something we normally do," said Master Sgt. William Fritsch, 55th RQS operations superintendent. "I think in the five years that I've been doing this it was probably the most challenging mission that I've had, even in combat."

After Trubee and Barnard successfully reached the patient, they applied a splint and performed precautionary procedures to prevent any further injuries.

Once the patient was lifted into the helicopter the crew evacuated her to University Medical Center where she received further medical attention.

Thanks to the expertise and swift actions of the crew they were able to complete a successful evacuation.

Face of Defense: U.S., Afghan Troops Share Holiday Festivities

By Army Sgt. 1st Class E.L. Craig
4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

LAGHMAN, Afghanistan, Dec. 24, 2013 – There were holiday decorations all around the room and not one, but two Christmas trees in the dining facility’s reserved room at Forward Operating Base Fenty Dec. 18.

Leaders from the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division invited leaders from Nangarhar province and Afghan security forces assigned to the area over for Christmas dinner. The event would continue the annual custom that strengthens the friendships of two different cultures.

“This is extremely important for our relationship with our Afghan partners,” said Army Lt. Col. Al Boyer, commander of 2nd Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment. “As part of respect for their culture, we spend time honoring and participating in their holidays, so we decided to invite them to participate in one of ours.”

It was taco night at the dining facility, and the command had traditional Afghan food brought in to offer variety to the meal.

According to Boyer the event was well received.

“Everyone’s here,” Boyer said. “We have every single Nangarhar ANSF leader here, as well as several local government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan leaders, the generals with their deputies, as well as the deputy governor of Nangarhar, to celebrate one of our holidays.”

During the event, Army Col. Mario Diaz, commander of 4th BCT, 10th Mountain Division, expressed his appreciation for everyone’s attendance and emphasized the importance Nangarhar plays in his brigade’s mission in Regional Command-East, north of Kabul.

“What is present in Nangarhar is a special bond of friendship and respect, and it is my honor to be here with you today to share in the holidays,” Diaz said. “We use the holidays to focus on ourselves as a people, to enjoy our families and look forward to the future.”

During the event, 2nd Battalion’s command presented a gift to each Afghan leader and, although this was a time to mingle and enjoy food, this was also a chance for the leaders to exchange important dialogue.

“We are able to provide a lot in the way of advising our [Afghan] counterparts ... and they look forward to having that interaction with us,” Diaz said.

The command has specific ideas of what they wanted the Afghan leaders attending to leave with.

“I want them to take away the fact that we have an understanding of each other’s culture -- that we’re very cognizant of their culture and they are cognizant of ours, -- and they are,” Boyer said. “That’s why they all showed up, out of respect for our culture and their willingness to celebrate our holiday with us.”

Marine Corps Becomes First Service to Pass Inspector General Audit

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a statement following the first successful audit of a military service. The U.S. Marine Corps was granted an unqualified favorable audit for its current-year budget.

Hagel’s statement reads as follows:

Last Friday, the United States Marine Corps became the first military service to successfully undergo an audit when the DOD Inspector General granted it an unqualified, favorable audit opinion for its current-year budget statement. I want to congratulate the Marine Corps and the Department of the Navy on this significant achievement.

This was the first audit of its kind for any of our armed services. Along with the progress some DOD agencies have made in generating auditable financial statements, this development marks an important milestone on the path to achieving greater accountability in our financial operations and more effective management of the defense enterprise writ large. There is more work to do in preparing our other military services to pass an audit, but I remain fully committed to making the Pentagon fully audit-ready by 2017.