Air Force lieutenants to learn fates Wednesday

Nearly 900 officers to be let go due to overstaffing

By KENT HARRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 10, 2006

Hundreds of lieutenants in selected career fields throughout the Air Force are scheduled to find out Wednesday if they’ll still be wearing their dress blues next year.

The service has determined it has too many officers who received their commissions in 2002 and 2003 and a board met in April to determine who will stay in. According to a press release issued by the Air Force Personnel Center, 843 officers — or just more than 40 percent of those who joined in the two-year period — will be let go.

Judy Grojean, a spokeswoman for AFPC, said Tuesday from Randolph Air Force Base in Texas that officials were reluctant to answer further questions until those affected had been notified.

The news is supposed to come individually from commanders or senior raters.

Air Force lieutenants in Europe will not officially be notified of who is being retained and who is not until Wednesday, said Air Force Master Sgt. Bob Purtiman, a spokesman for U.S. Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base.

Not all career fields are thought to be overstaffed and the percentage of those targeted in selected career fields could be lower or higher than the overall percentage.

Those who aren’t retained are eligible to seek positions in the reserve or Guard or submit packages to transfer to the Army. They also may apply for civil service jobs. They’re also eligible for variable separation packages.

According to the press release, the officers will be separated no later than Sept. 29. It was not stated how soon the departures might begin.

Those affected have known about the process for months, though the numbers of those who would lose their positions and the dates when they would find out have fluctuated.

According to the press release, 1,240 of the lieutenants who joined the Air Force in the two-year period will keep their jobs.

Stars and Stripes reporter Scott Schonauer contributed to this report.

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