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Air Force seeks retired pilots to fill yearlong non-flying positions

The new Air Force program is allowing select retired pilots the opportunity to return to active duty to alleviate manning shortages.

COURTESY OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE

By MARCUS FICHTL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 5, 2017

The Air Force is wooing veterans to take desk jobs as it continues to hemorrhage pilots to the airline industry.

Former officers can put their uniforms back on to fill critical billets under the Voluntary Rated Return to Active Duty program, the Air Force said in a statement this week.

The service was short 1,555 pilots last year and expects that deficit to grow thanks to competition from commercial airlines. To persuade pilots to stay, the Air Force has increased flight pay, and lawmakers have looked at granting pilots sabbaticals to work in commercial aviation.

However, a side effect of the pilot shortage is that there are fewer officers to fill non-flying jobs that require a pilot’s expertise. Air Force data show one in four non-flying field-grade officer positions is unfilled.

Veterans who want to come back to the service to fill the vacant positions must be younger than 60 years old, pass a physical and have left the service within the past five years as a captain, major or lieutenant colonel, the statement said.

The Air Force hopes to fill 25 of the yearlong billets by the end of 2018. Application procedures can be found at https://mypers.af.mil/.

fichtl.marcus@stripes.com
Twitter: @marcusfichtl

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