USAF Straightening Story On Pilot Recall
After an initial Pentagon announcement on Friday that the Air Force would recall about 1,000 retired pilots, followed rapidly by a disavowal of any recalls by the Air Force over the weekend, the service now says the purpose of the amended executive order was to increase the number of pilots who may be voluntarily returned to service. AVweb spoke with two members of the Air Force press office who said “the Air Force has no plans to recall any officers involuntarily and is totally committed to being a voluntary force.” According to the USAF press office, the Air Force had been limited to allowing no more than 25 former officers to return to active duty at any one time, and for no more than a year. The amended executive order, they say, while phrased in terms of mandatory recall, gives the service the authority needed for voluntary reactivation for up to three years at a time, at the discretion of the Secretary of Defense.
Brig. Gen. Mike Koscheski told a press gaggle at the Pentagon Monday that he expects fewer than 200 officers will volunteer and be accepted under the program. The reactivated retirees will mostly staff positions requiring prior service as an Air Force pilot, though some recently separated pilots may receive the training necessary to get current as instructor pilots. “We want to focus on our instructor pilot pipeline, so your undergraduate pilot training bases like Vance, Laughlin, Columbus and Sheppard—that’s going to be a target of opportunity. We’re standing up F-16 graduate pilot training at Holloman, so if we have some F-16 retirees that are relatively recent and current, then we would look at that option,” says Koscheski.