Air Force service years

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by lga, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. lga

    lga Member

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    I understand US millitary personnel can retire after 20 years service. Does the 4 years time in AF Academy count toward that 20?

    Separatly, if a student takes AFROTC scholarship and attends a different college, does that time count toward the 20?
     
  2. Bundy

    Bundy Member

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    And I'm curious - what specific retirement benefits are there after 20 years of service that aren't available after, say, 18 years of service? Do the retirement benefits ramp up the closer you get to 20 years or do you have to put in your 20 years to get ANY retirement benefits?
     
  3. armywife

    armywife New Member

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    20 years for retirement

    To date, you must complete 20 years of service in all branches to qualify for retirement. Anything less, and you have separated from the military, no retirement benefits.
     
  4. falconchic88

    falconchic88 Member

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    Your Academy years do not count toward your 20 yrs for retirement, however, if you attend the prep school, that year does count., Likewise, ROTC time during college doesn't count either.
     
  5. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You leave at 18 and you get a hardy handshake and a pat on your back, while your colleagues laugh!

    You MUST put in 20 for retirement pay.

    If you retire after 20, your AFA yrs can count for GS jobs regarding your pay scale. However, it will not count towards your retirement pay since it is not AD.
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Moderator

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    Ahh..the lovely "do my years count" question!

    Buried in 10 USC 971 is the following statement:

    (b) Prohibition on Counting Service as a Cadet or Midshipman. - In computing length of service for any purpose, service as a cadet or midshipman may not be credited to any of the following officers: (1) An officer of the Navy or Marine Corps. (2) A commissioned officer of the Army or Air Force. (3) An officer of the Coast Guard. (4) An officer in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service. (c) Service as a Cadet or Midshipman Defined. - In this section, the term "service as a cadet or midshipman" means - (1) service as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, United States Air Force Academy, or United States Coast Guard Academy; or (2) service as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy.


    If you dig a little more you'll find that 10 USC does say that cadet/midshipmen service is "active duty" BUT...the above applies for retirement.

    That's why when you graduate from the USAFA, you get a nice longevity ribbon for 4 years of service...but no retirement credit. That's why I look REALLY old with my longevity ribbon with BOTH a silver and bronze oak leaf on it! (means over 28 years of service for those not familiar)

    Fun stuff!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. ZoomingFalcon

    ZoomingFalcon Cadet

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    28 years...where else can you do something that long and still love it?:biggrin:
     
  8. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    One thing that I'd have to recheck on, is that while your cadet time doesn't count toward retirement as an officer, I "THINK" if you spent say 3 years as a cadet, and got kicked out for academic reasons, and went into the air force as "Enlisted", I think the cadet time might count towards payscale. Not 100%, and it's been about 7 years since I looked it up when there was a cadet who was leaving the academy and going enlisted. Anyway, that's not a normal situation anyway. mike....
     
  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Moderator

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    I don't know...but if they'd agree to give me a star to replace what I currently wear, then I'd be happy to go to 35! :biggrin:

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  10. Bullet

    Bullet Member

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    Steve, I get the impression that if they would have let us fly until we hit the 35 year point, BOTH of us would have been happy to stay in at the ranks we are / were! :shake:

    Just put all us "old" guys in our own separate squadron at each wing, with a guy who actually WANTED to go further in charge as the SQ/CC, while the rest of us "just happy to still be flying" types were either on the flying schedule that day, or on the squadron porch taking a nap. :thumb:

    I can even hear the 4-ship check-in now... "Metamusil flight, check!" "Twoop..., Tree..., Eh, what'd he say?".

    or the check in call after arming, getting ready to take the active: "Ensure flight, check!" "Twoop..., Tree..., You young punks, get off my lawn!"

    Or the call to tower on 8 mile initial: "Prune flight, check!" "Twoop..., Tree..., Dang gum dentures are loose again!" :yllol::yllol::yllol:
     
  11. flieger83

    flieger83 Moderator

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    :yllol::shake::yllol:

    OH YES!!! The star thingie...the check's would be nice, but it'd allow me to stay...if they'd change the rules, like they do the reserve ARTS...I'd stay just happy as a clam with what's on my shoulders and keep flying!!!

    As for the flight check calls...

    THAT HURTS!
    (Not the comments, they're accurate; rather, my sides from laughing so hard!)

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Me personally; I miss the "FAMILY". It almost takes retiring until you realize what you had. I retired for my kids. They had moved around enough. I didn't want them to have to change high schools. They were doing well. Succeeding. Great school, grades, friends, etc... Moving them during high school to yet another school would be tough. Plus, with my degrees and training, getting a good paying job on the outside was not going to be a problem. But I really do miss the "Family". If I hadn't had kids, I probably would have stayed in until they kicked me out. With my son at the academy, I get to go to all of the football games and tailgates; and hang out with a lot of other retires. "And even fortunate to meet new great people like Steve". So that is some consolation. And working close with the ALO here, which also happened to be my commanding officer; "She and I retired close to the same time"; also gives me the opportunity to stay close to the "Family". And maybe that's why I've been so involved with helping young people apply to the academy, ROTC, OTS, and enlisting. Definitely no regrets in my choices, but I definitely miss the "Family".

    There are some people however that spent an entire 20 year career talking about retiring and moving on. And they too seem very happy. That's good for them. But my happiest and fondest times of my life were on active duty. So Steve; stay as long as you can, and as long as you're having fun. Once you leave, there's really no going back. And that's the hardest part. mike....
     
  13. Bundy

    Bundy Member

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    So what specifically are the retirement benefits which are worth putting in 20 years for? I assume there is a pension that pays X% of your salary at retirement, plus medical coverage? How good is the medical coverage? Can someone briefly sum this all up? Thanks.
     
  14. flieger83

    flieger83 Moderator

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    1. The satisfaction of having done something very special, that not a lot of folks can say they did, and knowing you made a difference. (Yes, I'm serious here)

    2. The pension is decent...figure roughly 50% of your base salary every month for the rest of your life. (It's more for longer service.)

    3. Medical plan...yes, you receive it too. Not the best, not the worst, it'll "cure what ails you." The biggie here: you will ALWAYS have coverage, you may have to drive a bit, or pay a bit, but you will not be crushed by medical fears.

    4. A family aside from your family; one that will care about and for you forever. Did I mention job satisfaction?

    Those are just the few thoughts that came to mind in about 10 seconds.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  15. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Briefly... nobody can sum up for you what will be your retirement package...the military changes. We have had 3 different retirement programs in less than 20 yrs., your retirement was based on your entry and retirement date.

    Here's the typical rule though.
    20 yrs 50% of BASE pay, realize that BAQ, BAH, Flight, Jump are not included.
    For every yr after 20, you get 2.5%, maxing at 75%.

    The military can do SERB and force you to leave before maxing.

    You and your family will have medical bennies, but you pay for your family regardless. Tri-Care coverage is the medical insurance program for the military. It is not an option for your spouse to go to the base without Tri-Care.

    Also, the minute you die (AFRET) that pension goes buh-by for the surviving spouse.

    Honestly, you are way too young to give two flying figs about the retirement package. It will change mark my words, and it is not a reason to join or stay.

    I am with CC, those who loved, and I mean truly loved the military, never cared about bennies. The friendships forged, the laughter and tears shed were worth tens times more than any retirement packet.

    Put Bullet, Flieger and CC in a room for an hr to relive their AF stories, and you will walk out thinking you spent the whole time doing butterfly kicks, because that is how bad your stomach will feel from laughing so hard.

    I also agree my AF family was there for me in the best and worst times. Bullet and the entire squadron was sent to SKore for 120 day +/- with 3 days notice. I had a major medical issue that I was placed on complete bedrest and my best bud was a bottle of Valium (slipped playing crud causing my back to spasm so badly that it bruised my internal organs). My AF family, other wives/moms, came to my house every a.m and took the kids to school (3 under 7), picked them up from school, fed them dinner, brought them back home and tucked them in bed. The Flight surgeon would stop by my house everyday and check on me. The commander overrode the system (it was a 10 minute a week phone call system back then), and made sure Bullet was allowed to speak to me daily. Few weeks later when our DS1 was receiving his 1st communion, it was a wife holding my hand as I wiped away the tears of joy. I remember saying I never thought this was how it would be.

    At Bullet's retirement it was the wives who stood up and gave him a standing ovation because he acknowledged that they were always there for us as a family.

    Even now, it is my AF family that I call to announce great news like I do with our siblings.

    This may sound strange, especially to one poster in particular, but Bullet and I believe our marriage is as tight as it is because of the AF. We were forced to rely on each other, I don't know if we had the easy out of running back to the folks that we would be still this much in love and best friends.

    I could give a rat's butt about the bennies for retirement, because as far as I am concerned we already got them, and we are on the retirement pay program!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  16. MississippiMom

    MississippiMom New Member

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    Pima - you are so right. I've been on this site lurking around for about a year now and really didn't want to jump in and post anything for fear of sounding dumb or too emotional. However, I too miss the "family".

    I am a military brat, my father - now deceased (who died when I was in 7th grade) was retired AF. As a military brat I loved being able to travel and see the world. I've lived in Germany and Greece and all over the United States - moved every year and would not have traded it for anything or any amount of money. I remember all the kind people on base. Mom still talks to many old military friends today. It is a bond that nobody on the outside can understand. I still remember taking swimming lessons at the base pool in Minot, ND. (Yes, it did get warm enough to swim at some point in the summer.)

    Dad retired and wanted to live in Arizona but had a heart attack soon after he retired. I guarantee my mother and father had the best life ever in the AF. I know at times it was hard - but the "family" pulls you through. Mom would complain about packing and unpacking, but with every move it was a big adventure. New people to meet. New places to explore.

    Now, with a son about to attend the AFA I am very excited that he will get such a fantastic opportunity to get the best education available and serve our Country like his grandfather. But, saddened by the fact that I know he will soon have a new "family" and I'll be left behind.

    I've heard many people on this forum say, "You are not letting him go, you are letting him grow." However, I know, he'll have a new family. One he can rely on when needed, one that knows what he is going through - good people to help pull him through.

    Thank you Bullet, CC, Flieger, Pima and others for giving your input. It does help many get a better perspective of AF life.

    Mom and I still laugh at some of the stories she tell me about the things dad did on the base. Like the time he hid my mother's shopping cart at the PX only to find out it wasn't my mother's cart it was his Commanding Officer's.
    (People in the military seem to be larger than life when it comes to having fun)

    BTW, Even as a military brat I did receive bennies after he died. One that I can remember is some college was paid for - because of my father's service.
     
  17. pos2013falcon

    pos2013falcon Member

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    Pima, Do I understand your post correctly that if a retired air force officer dies the spouse gets nothing. I know as a teacher their is a survivor benefit if I pass away. Is there nothing for a spouse who has been with their spouse all those years. This is not a big concern for my DS as he heads to the Academy but is something to plan for in 10-20 years.
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You most definitely can have a portion of your retirement held back, and if the member dies, the spouse can continue to get a portion of the retirement. Depending on how good you are with money, there are better ways. I.e. "Making up numbers here". Let's assume that if you have $300 held from your military retirement, that if you die, your spouse can receive 50% of your 50% for the rest of their lives. Not a bad deal. However, do you know what kind of insurance you can buy for that kind of money? I personally figured out how much they would take from my retirement if I kept SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan). I then figured out how much benefit my wife would get for say 30 years if I died fairly young. I was able to take HALF of what they would have taken, and get a whole life policy that would give my wife MORE money than the survivor benefit plan would have. AND, if I DON'T die, I can actually get most of my insurance money back later on.

    Anyway, there's plenty of options. And plenty of time to worry about that later. But yes, if you choose, there is a survivor benefit plan for your spouse should the military member die after retiring. mike....
     
  19. flieger83

    flieger83 Moderator

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    Put Bullet, Flieger and CC in a room for an hr to relive their AF stories, and you will walk out thinking you spent the whole time doing butterfly kicks, because that is how bad your stomach will feel from laughing so hard.

    I have NO idea what she's talking about...

    Well, there was the time our 4-ship decided to check out the Grand Canyon...the controller said "maintain 2000 feet AGL..." and I told the other guys..." I'm sure that river down there...it's 2000 feet below me (we were at the rim)...push it up to 600 knots..."

    Ahhh....the fun...

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  20. js3486

    js3486 Parent

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    OK Steve so other than the Ribbon what does the 4 years of active duty at the academy, and I mean active because you wear the uniform everyday and are held accountable to all the same rules and regs as others outside the academy i.e. officers and enlisted, get you? If I understand it does not count toward retirement eligibility or in TIS computations, correct? I could understand it not being considered for ROTC cadets/midshipmen but for academy grads, seems a little harsh to not be able to count it at least for pay purposes. Your thoughts?
     

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