ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
To compete with a highly competitive civilian job market, Air Force Reserve Command is offering a $6,000 incentive bonus for prior-service enlisted members who sign on to serve for at least three years in the Reserve.
“Our Reserve Airmen ensure we are the most ready and capable Air Force on the planet,” said Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, Air Force Recruiting Service commander. “Specifically, bringing in prior-service, fully trained Airmen into the Reserve is critical, and we’ve got to ensure we are taking the right steps to compete in today’s battle for talent.”
It’s all part of what he called the Air Force’s “Stay Blue” campaign to promote a steady flow of highly trained Airmen into the Reserve component who desire to continue serving and putting their skills, training and experience to use for the defense of the nation while staying part of the Air Force team.
The temporary bonus for fully-qualified prior-service affiliation into Reserve vacancies will be paid to enlisted service members leaving active duty or those who are currently serving in the Individual Ready Reserve and are fully qualified for their new job as a Reservist.
Palace Chase Airmen, members eligible for a critical skills bonus and Air Reserve Technicians are not eligible to receive this bonus.
“The civilian job market is red hot right now,” said Lt. Col. Tim Martin, chief of the Operations Division for the 367th Recruiting Group, headquartered here. The 367th RCG is the Reserve component of the Air Force’s Total Force recruiting enterprise. “Companies are offering huge bonuses and incentives, and that’s making it harder for us to recruit people coming off of active duty,” Martin said. “We’re hoping this $6,000 bonus will encourage more people who are leaving active duty or those who have left in the past few years and are currently in the IRR to make the decision to continue their service as Reserve Citizen Airmen.”
In October of 2021, the 367th RCG was given a recruiting goal of signing up 8,200 new Reserve Citizen Airmen for fiscal year 2022 to achieve the Reserve’s Congressional-mandated end strength of 70,300. As of April 27, the recruiting group was 885 accessions behind its target and is at risk of missing its recruiting goal. Historically, the Reserve has strived for a 70% prior service and 30% non-prior service mix for its new recruits.
“Recruiting in the COVID era is proving to be extremely challenging,” said Col. E. Benjamin Smith III, 367th RCG commander and director of AFRC Recruiting. “We need programs like this bonus to give us a fighting chance to meet our end-strength goal for FY22. I strongly encourage service members who are leaving active duty to talk to a recruiter about continuing their service in the Air Force Reserve. Nearly every enlisted member who makes the transition from active duty to the Reserve will qualify for some kind of bonus, whether it’s this incentive bonus or a critical skills bonus.”
Current active-duty Airmen should contact their local in-service recruiter or Reserve recruiter to find out more about making the transition to the Reserve. More information is also available at afreserve.com or by calling 800-257-1212.