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Air Force allows families to leave for new assignment while airmen are on extended deployments

Airmen with the 8th Expeditionary Air Mobility Squadron push pallets for a combat air drop onboard a C-17 Globemaster III at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Sept. 24, 2018. Airmen leaving for yearlong deployments will no longer have to return before moving their goods and families to their next permanent duty station.

KEITH JAMES/U.S. AIR FORCE

By BRIAN FERGUSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 14, 2018

Airmen leaving for yearlong deployments will no longer have to return before moving their goods and families to their next permanent duty station.

The change, which went into effect Nov. 1, means Air Force families have the option of an extra year at their next duty station while a servicemember is deployed.

Airmen can apply for their follow-on permanent change of station orders up to four months prior to a yearlong deployment.

“This change recognizes the need for us to increase stability and predictability for our airmen and their families and helps our airmen focus on their mission while deployed,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services said in a statement.

Previously, it took at least 60 days before airmen on yearlong deployments were offered permanent station assignments. Orders weren’t published any earlier than 120 days prior to the reporting date at the new station, making it difficult for families to plan, officials stated.

Approximately 400 airmen per year are selected for what the Air Force terms as 365-day extended deployments.

The new policy also allows airmen to move directly from their deployment to their new permanent station, the statement said.

The change comes after the Air Force Personnel Center chartered a working group last year to find better ways to accommodate and incentivize yearlong deployments.

“This is about readiness. This aids our resilience and helps us take care of our families,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said on his Facebook page. “Another win.”

The new policy only applies to deployments and not to what the Air Force classifies as unaccompanied one-year assignments to bases such as Osan Air Base, South Korea.

ferguson.brian@stripes.com

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