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Air Force Reserve has opportunities for separating Airmen

Robins Air Force Base, Ga. -- Air Force Reserve officials want separating Airmen to consider opportunities as a reservist. Becoming a traditional reservist or an individual mobilization augmentee offers them the opportunity to pursue a civilian career and still serve their country.

Traditional reservists join a Reserve unit, usually near their homes, and train with the unit one weekend a month and perform two weeks of annual training a year. TRs also deploy with their units and have opportunities to cross-train into a new career field.

Many TRs remain in their unit for their entire career, but they can transfer to another unit if a position is available.

IMAs are assigned to active-duty wings or major commands throughout the world where they work alongside their active duty counterparts.

"Working with active-duty Airmen at headquarters NORAD and Northern Command allowed me to share my years of experience with them and for them to witness the Reserve in action," said Senior Master Sgt. Walter Sheehan, the newly assigned IMA chaplain assistant for the Air Force Reserve Command chaplain.

IMAs are not members of a Reserve unit and don't work the traditional one weekend a month.

They are required to do 12 continuous days of annual training and 24 periods of inactive duty training, or IDTs. The annual training must be done at the same time, but the IDTs are more flexible. An Airman and his or her supervisor create a specific training schedule.

"Being able to work with my supervisor to schedule my training allows me to work around the needs of my job, family and the Air Force", Sergeant Sheehan said.

IMAs also may transfer to a different position for career enhancement, but the opportunities to cross-train are limited.

Reservists normally keep their previous rank and may have opportunities for promotion. They also continue to accrue retirement benefits. Reservists have access to base facilities such as the exchange, gym and unlimited commissary privileges.

The Reserve also offers educational opportunities. TRs and IMAs can take courses with the Air Force Institute for Advanced Distributed Learning. They can attend professional military education schools and technical schools or pursue an associate degree at the Community College of the Air Force.

To become a reservist, Airmen should contact their local in-service recruiter. He or she can explain the program and help locate available positions. Airmen also can go online to or call 1-800-257-1212. Individuals interested in becoming an IMA also can contact the base IMA administrator.

"It's best to begin the process 4-6 months prior to your separation," said Master Sgt. James Scapperotti, the Robins Air Force Base in-service recruiter. "Starting early will facilitate a successful transition from Active Duty to the Reserve. If you're an officer, it is important that you don't resign your commission when you separate."

Required documents include an AF Form 1288, Application for Ready Reserve Assignment; the last three performance reports; the last Air Force Fitness Assessment score; and a Preventative Health Assessment completed within the last 12 months. Applicants also will need a resume or a copy of their Verification of Military Experience & Training which can accessed on the Air Force Portal.

To see what positions are available, go to AFPC Secure Applications on the Air Force Portal and click on the Reserve Vacancy Finder page.