I’ve sat on this post for a long while because I kept hoping something would change. Well, now I am just hoping for something…answers.
Several months ago, the Air Force dropped a huge bomb of doom and gloom. Due to budget constraints, they were expecting to cut 25,000 airmen over the next 5 years. Only not truly 5 years, most likely the next year.
We were promised transparency, but you know how government promises go.
In December 2013, we found out Bryan was eligible. Then…crickets. For many weeks.
FINALLY a timeline was released. Along with the voluntary and involuntary options.
Bryan is currently a TSgt with almost 15 years in. Bryan had always, from day 1 planned to do 20+.
And that career field, that was so severely undermanned 4 years ago. That one that Bryan gave up 8 months (out of a 10 month period) of time with his family to cross-train into. To fill a need for the AF. Yeah, that one. Because of the traditional knee-jerk reactions of the “powers that be”, it is overmanned in his rank now. Badly.
As in they are overmanned by 118 techs and 117 are eligible for separation. Fantastic odds, right. I know, I know, those numbers are total figures accounting for voluntary and involuntary separations, AF wide, blah, blah. Not comforting. Even worse, is the fact that all this is happening when I am about to start chemo. Selfish or not, I need to be able to focus on kicking cancers @ss, not wanting to kick someone in the AF’s @ss. Resting and healing, not worrying about what the end of this year will bring.
So, what are our options?
Option 1: Apply for VSP (voluntary separation pay) and jump ship. 1 lump sum payment, 180 days of healthcare and base access, then nothing. Not even a thank you for 14 years of service.
Option 2: Wait for Bryan to hit 15 years at the end of April, apply for TERA (temporary early retirement authority) and get out. Partial retirement pay, full healthcare and base access privileges (for whatever that is worth with the changes being proposed…another soapbox).
Option 3: Ride out the craziness of the ERB (enlisted retention board) and see what happens. By the time the boards meet, Bryan will have hit 15 years so he would be eligible for TERA even if he gets kicked out (sorry, let’s be politically correct..force shaped out). Or hey, if he makes MSgt he will be safe…supposedly.
For the moment being, I think we are hanging in there with option 3. There is so much on our plates right now with my treatment, that life is hard. Would I like him to walk, sure. This almost 15 year rollercoaster has made me very weary, but we are adults and sometimes being an adult sucks. I can say though, that this is NOT the AF that he joined and it has NOT changed for the better.
Bryan is putting his name out there though, networking and pulling things together for his resume. He refuses to be a sitting duck, just waiting to be nailed.
But just when you think you’ve come to terms with a decision, oh wait….the AF is pausing all force shaping programs. Can we breathe a sigh of relief? No, because that transparency they promised..yeah, still not there. The rumor mills in the military are a thing of wonder though. Rumor has it, 1/3 of the AF applied to voluntarily get out when the options were presented and not the people the AF wanted out.
Well, duh. People are tired. People are tired of doing more with less, getting no recognition or appreciation, tired of going to war and tired of coming back less than whole. The government has made it VERY evident that they do not care about the troops and in return, the loyalty from the troops is diminishing.
Of course, now the programs are back on. The ticking time bomb is back for us and thousands of other airmen. I just hope they know what they are doing and are prepared for the results.
*This website/blog is not endorsed by the Department of Defense or the United States Air Force. The views here are my own and do not represent the views of the DoD, the Air Force or anyone else for that matter.*