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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Two more career fields will be spared consideration for early separation when the Air Force gives perhaps hundreds of midgrade officers their pink slips in the coming months.

Due to sufficient numbers of voluntary separations, officers in the biomedical service field and Judge Advocate General Corps won’t go before the reduction-in-force board, set to convene Sept. 19, Air Force officials announced Thursday. Chaplains and medical service corps officers were made exempt from board consideration in April for the same reason.

With retention at its highest level in 16 years, the Air Force is seeking to scale back its 65,000-member officer corps, after ending fiscal 2010 about 2,300 officers over the authorized end strength, officials announced in March.

Voluntary separations and normal attrition since then, however, mean the Air Force won’t have to get rid of that many officers, officials said. The RIF board is expected to consider about 9,000 officers and let go of about 5 percent, or about 450. But that number could drop even more by September, Air Force officials at the Pentagon said.

Line officers — those trained for command positions — in the grade of captain, who were commissioned into the service in 2000, and 2003 through 2005, as well as majors who received their commissions in 2000, are eligible for the forced separation.

“The Air Force fully understands how difficult these actions are on the airmen affected by them,” said Maj. Joel Harper, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon.

Harper said officers eligible for RIF should ensure their records are current, especially with regard to duty history, appropriate professional military education and advanced academic degrees.

Officers not selected for retention will be required to separate no later than Feb. 1.

Navy officials said in June that the Navy expected to relieve more than 120 officers when its selective early retirement board meets Monday.

svanj@estripes.osd.mil

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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