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Air Force asking retirees back

Retired officers, enlisted members can rejoin active duty to offset personnel shortfalls

Among the special duty codes the Air Force is looking for retires to temporarily fill is 11X Pilot. Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Megan Geiger

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -The Secretary of the Air Force has reimplemented the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program in an effort to leverage the talents of our highly trained and experienced officer and enlisted military retirees to help minimize the service's critical manning shortages. Application window opens Feb. 8, 2024.

Applications must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2026, and the program allows up to 1,000 retired officer or enlisted personnel to active duty at any given time. Additionally, under this VRRAD program, the period of active duty service is limited to no more than 48 months. Personnel will only fill vacant active duty authorizations. Retired applicants selected for Extended Active Duty can expect to return to active duty anywhere from four to six months from their date of application.

"The VRRAD program is a strategic enabler to embrace experienced talent, tapping into a valuable resource of retired members to fill critical roles to close the gap against our peer competitors," said Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services.

Retired officer applicants are limited to Line of the Air Force commissioned officers retired in the grade of captain through lieutenant colonel. Officers who volunteer to return to active duty under the VRRAD program will primarily fill vacant rated staff, active flying staff, Officer Training School, Squadron Officer School, and Jeanne M. Holm Center academic staff. While all members that meet eligibility may apply, we are targeting the following Air Force special duty codes:

11X - Pilot
12X - Combat Systems
13B - Air Battle Manager
13H - Aerospace Physiologist
13M - Airfield Operations
13N - Nuclear and Missile Operations
14X - Information Operations/Intelligence
15X - Operations Analysis and Weather
16X - Operations Support
17X - Cyber Operations
18X - Remotely Piloted Aircraft
19Z - Special Warfare

21X - Logistics
31P - Security Forces
32E - Civil Engineering
35P - Public Affairs
38F - Force Support Officer
61X - Scientific/Research
62X -Developmental Engineering
63X - Acquisition
64P - Contracting
65X - Finance
71S - Special Investigation

Retired enlisted applicants are limited to members retired in the grade of staff sergeant through senior master sergeant. While all members that meet eligibility may apply, the following AFSCs are being targeted:

1C171 - Air Traffic Control
2G071 - Logistics Plans
2T377 - Fleet Management & Analysis
3F071 - Personnel
3P071 - Security Forces
4A271 - Biomedical Equipment
4E071 - Public Health
4N071 - Aerospace Medical Service
4R071 - Diagnostic Imaging
7S071 - Special Investigations
8R000/8R200 - Recruiter(s)

Information about the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program, to include detailed official program guidance, eligibility criteria and application requirements, can be found here.

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