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Reserve provides opportunities for separating Airmen

By Senior Master Sgt. Gene Higgins 307th Bomb Wing

Are you separating from active duty and concerned about what will happen after you separate? Are you aware of the opportunities and benefits available in the Air Force Reserve and how you can apply them to your situation?

As a recruiter for the Air Force Reserve Command Recruiting Service for the past 13 years it has been an honor and a privilege to serve so many outstanding young men and women. Recruiting has given me the opportunity to counsel several hundred potential reservists and share with them how the Air Force Reserve can position them to achieve their short and long term goals. 

If you are currently in the active duty Air Force and considering separating; a veteran from another service or a civilian seeking new opportunities the Reserve can position you for the next step in your career.

Let's look at the basic income a typical reservist has access to and the potential for additional income over his or her career. Most of us are aware of the pay charts on the Defense Finance and Accounting Services but might not be aware of how the pay chart applies to reservists. Reservists participate in two basic categories; Inactive Duty Training and Annual Training. You will participate for 24 days or one weekend a month and 12 to 14 annual training days per year.

According to DFAS, a staff sergeant with six years of service will make $364.60 for working one weekend a month. Multiply the monthly income by 12 and that staff sergeant will make $4,375.20 per year. In addition to IDT the SSgt will make an additional $1,367.25 for their annual training. That is a grand total of $5,742.45 per year for a part time career in the Air Force Reserve.

That doesn't include additional opportunities available for upgrade training, retraining or professional military education.

In addition to the traditional reservist, there are opportunities for full time employment in the Air Reserve Technician Program available on usajobs.gov and the Active Guard Reservist program throughout the AFRC. Without a doubt the income potential and opportunity available to reservist is massive and available to those that qualify for the Reserve. 

One of the main news stories over the past several years has been the availability of healthcare and the cost to provide healthcare for an individual or a family.

Since Oct. 1, 2007, Tricare Reserve Select has offered affordable healthcare for reservists and their families. As a reservist you work part-time and you qualify for full-time benefits for you and your family.

In addition to the income and Tricare Reserve Select is the retirement program. Reservists are eligible to receive a retirement at age 60. Not only does a reservist work toward a retirement if an active duty member separates and transitions into the Reserve, his active duty service will transfer to the reserve retirement program. Alongside the retiree program, they can also transfer their Thrift Saving Plan and continue to contribute to their TSP.

Although the Air Force Reserve is a part-time career the retirement benefits are without a doubt equivalent to a full-time benefit.

We have only discussed income; healthcare and retirement but there are many more reasons to consider a career in the Reserve especially if you are considering separating from active duty. Your options are unlimited and the possibilities available in the Reserve are there if you want to take advantage of the opportunity. If you would like to talk with a recruiter you can call 800-257-1212 or visit afreserve.com for more information.