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Air Force Reserve: Airmen keep medical, education benefits

F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. -- Airmen who separate should meet with the Warren in-service recruiter to discuss their future. 

"The reserve isn't for everyone," said Master Sgt. William Fountas, Warren's in-service recruiter. "But there are benefits and possibilities Airmen should know before making their decision." 

The Air Force Reserve offers Airmen the chance to continue or redefine their career. Airmen get to keep their rank, medical and dental benefits, life insurance and a monthly payday. Less known benefits include a guaranteed retirement plan, the Air Force Reserve GI Bill kicker and tuition assistance. 

"There are even opportunities for people to go inactive Reserve and come back to the Reserve or Guard later, should they choose to," Sergeant Fountas said. 

Airmen can search for Reserve assignments in a particular state or even overseas, and Airmen cross train into a new career field if they want. Bonuses up to $15,000 are available. 

There are two types of Air Force Reserve programs: the individual mobilization augmentee, which allows Airmen to pick their own 24 work days a year, and the unit reservist, where Airmen work one weekend a month and two weeks a year over the summer. 

The perception of reservists being part-time trained is not accurate. The readiness of Reserve Airmen is comparable to active-duty Airmen. 

"We pride ourselves on our ability to respond to any global crisis within 72 hours," said Lt. Gen. John Bradley, chief of Air Force Reserve. "In many cases, including our response to natural disasters, we respond within 24 hours. We train our selected Reserve to the same standards as the active duty for a reason: We are one Air Force in the same fight." 

Warren Airmen considering separation can attend Palace Chase briefings, which allow active Air Force officers and enlisted members to request transfer from active military service to an Air Reserve component. Briefings are every Tuesday in Sergeant Fountas' office at 7100 Saber Road, Bldg. 1284. For more information on Reserve opportunities, call Sergeant Fountas at 773-1983.