Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How Jeremy seperated from the Air Force earlier than his commitment date...

In May 2009 Jeremy signed a 4 year commitment putting his service member date to May 2013. He served his first 2 years at Sheppard AFB in Texas. Then by accepting an assignment at Ramstein, Germany AFB, he added on another year because oversees assignments are for 3 years if you have dependents. (If no spouse and kids, it's 2 years)

He didn't remember/realize/know that this was the case and thought he could simply not sign up for 2 more years come May 2013 and we could be done and go back home to the good ole' USA in May!

It wasn't until May 2013 that he remembered/realized/discovered that his commitment was extended and we were set to be at Germany regardless until July 2014. SHOCKING! He had already told his SJA that he was planning on separating and would be leaving sometime that summer (2013). The office was already in motion and planning on not having Jeremy around.

This was confusing for Jeremy because he had felt strongly that the time was NOW to get out of the Air Force. He wasn't too excited about having to wait a whole year. He remembered a fellow JAG we were stationed in Texas with that went to Aviano, Italy Air Force base for only 1 year and then separated from the JAG. Wondering how she did it, he called her up a day or two after he realized his commitment wasn't expired for another year. She informed him that there was a "special" reshaping program that she used to end her commitment a year early.

Essentially what it was is that any JAG that wanted to end their commitment early had to go through an application process and request an early separation. For that particular year of 2013, all JAG that chose to apply to separate sooner than their commitment date had to have a new separation date of September 29, 2013, regardless of when you applied, be it in January 2013 or late May 2013 (which is when Jeremy submitted the application). Oh and did I mention that the application takes 8 weeks to be processed and notified if they accept your request to separate early?? Let me tell you, it took exactly that long. We found out in late July that they accepted his request. We patiently (not really) waited to get orders so we could schedule with TMO to have our household goods packed and shipped. We shipped our car as soon as we could. Sold our second vehicle. Jeremy wrapped up at work. We took a planned vacation the first week of August to Ireland and on September 11th moved from Germany to California. Phew, that was a very busy 6 weeks!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Air Force ReShaping Program

The Air Force JAG has become more and more competitive ever since Jeremy entered the Air Force in 2009. It was typical for some JAG in years past to serve for a few years and then get out and take a civilian job. However, because the economy hasn't turned around the way we all would prefer, fewer and fewer JAG are separating by their own choice (like Jeremy did last September). As a result the Air Force is retaining more JAG than the demand calls for. The Air Force has gone to their Force Shaping Program. Essentially, its a reduction of military members. Right now the 2009 JAG class is being looked at to reduce their number of Captains. Basically, the Air Force makes a decision off of performance reports etc. and selects a number of Captains to be honorable discharged from the JAG Corps..

They don't just do this to Captain's but it is done all the way up the chain to Colonel's. The benefit to this happening to you after you've served in the Air Force for 6 years is that typically you receive some kind of severance package. At times, they have even asked for volunteers to separate and they will pay out up to 1 and a half the normal severance package. This way they weed out those who are planning and/ or want to separate instead of letting go other members that actually want to stay in.

THEN, there is the reshaping program that Jeremy found out about (kind of last minute if you ask me) that allowed him to get out of his commitment early. To which I will write about in my next post. And this time I PROMISE it will be soon!

Question from a Reader: I thought the commitment is for 4, 8, or 12 years. So 2015-2009 is 6. Why 6?

Your initial commitment is for 4 years. At the 4 year mark you can take a bonus of $20,000 and sign for 2 additional years. Then at 6 years you can sign for 4 more years and receive a bonus of $40,000. Got it?