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Calling All Retired Pilots

retired

By Debbie Gregory.

Retired pilots- the Air Force wants you…again!

To that end, the service branch has initiated the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program (VRRAD) for pilots under the age of 60 in the rank of captain, major or lieutenant colonel, who retired within the last five years.

Pilots who held a job in the 11X career field are encouraged to apply before Dec. 31, 2018 to fill 25 flight staff positions for an active-duty tour of one year. Should those positions remain unfilled, the Air Force will extend the program deadline into 2019.

Applicants must be medically qualified for active duty with a flying class II physical; must have served in a rated staff position within the past 10 years; or have been qualified in an Air Force aircraft within five years of application.

The goal is to get experienced pilots to man staff jobs, or serve as instructor pilots to free up younger officers to get more training, and more hours in the air, which is one key to retention.

“We have a number of positions around the Air Force that require the expertise of someone who has been a military pilot, and [we] would like to be able to keep our pilots who are current in the aircraft in the aircraft and try to fill some of these vital flight slots,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Today’s Air Force requires 20,000 pilots to fly fighter jets, transport planes, helicopters and drones. This year, the service reported it was down 1,500 pilots. But the latest figures show the problem is getting worse, with a shortfall of 1,926 pilots.

Former airmen can apply for the program via the myPers website. Those without a myPers account  can do so at  http://www.afpc.af.mil/myPers/.

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Air Force Culture Change Pressed By New Secretary

Heather Wilson2

By Debbie Gregory.

New Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson thinks the Air Force has too much bureaucracy, too many regulations and too many people stuck doing busy work. And she wants to breathe some fresh air into the branch.

The Air Force is currently facing a crisis-level shortage in fighter pilots as well as an aging fleet, and the Rhodes Scholar is looking to improve all aspects of the service branch.

Wilson, 56,  feels that this may happen by relieving airmen of undue bureaucratic and training requirements, which many believe has driven Air Force pilots into commercial aviation.

Wilson’s attitude is: “Let’s not try to tell them how to do everything. Let’s tell them what to do, and let them surprise us with their ingenuity.”

The Air Force has 660,000 airmen, but is struggling to keep up with its demands. Wilson is advocating for adding additional aircraft and people.

The Keene, N.H. native was recruited for the job by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, a science and engineering university where Wilson served as president.

“Heather Wilson is a leader for all seasons,” Mattis said in a statement. “She distinguished herself as an active-duty Air Force officer and as the president of a university. Her experience in Congress and the private sector made her the ideal choice to lead the Air Force.”

Wilson was one of the first women to join the Air Force Academy when classes were opened up to women.  She graduated in 1982 from the Air Force in Colorado Springs. She had secured a slot in flight school, but was surprised to learn she also had been accepted as a Rhodes Scholar.

She earned her doctoral degree at Oxford University. She worked as a planning officer at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and at the Pentagon.

“To me, I work for General Mattis and the United States Air Force, and I am here to serve the Air Force and organize, train and equip the Air Force and make sure it sustain combat operations in air and space,” she said. “My role is to focus on securing that, and that’s what General Mattis has asked me to do. That’s a mission that can and am happy to do.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.