Want to re-enlist? Here's how

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Collin Schmidt
For those nearing the end of a first term of enlistment, a decision that can take one's life down two drastically different paths must be made. For some this decision can be easy, and for others it can be one of the hardest choices to make.

If the decision to re-enlist becomes the right course of action, it is a relatively quick process. The Air Force does its best to make the re-enlistment process as easy as possible.

"Once an individual enters his or her eligibility window, we contact them and set up an appointment to begin the process of re-enlistment," said Staff Sgt. Catherine Sweatt, 341st Force Support Squadron relocations specialist. "During the initial appointment, we outline the administrative portion of the process, discuss potential selective re-enlistment bonus considerations, leave settlement options and set up a re-enlistment date."

First-term Airmen wishing to re-enlist must be within 12 months of their date of separation and have an approved career job reservation. Career Airmen, those already signed on for a second term, must be within 90 days of their expiration term of service.

The re-enlistment process consists of three parts. The first is the re-enlistment eligibility validation by the commander. The second is for the individual to attend an Article 137 Uniform Code of Military Justice briefing, hosted by the legal office.

The final step is the actual re-enlistment ceremony.

"Individuals can select any commissioned officer to administer the Oath of Enlistment," said Sweatt.

If the member is a first-term Airman, seeking counseling on utilizing their base of preference and retraining options is advised. Another option is to receive counseling and make a decision regarding the possibility of transferring education benefits to an eligible dependent.

Finally, individuals need to be aware that once a re-enlistment has been executed, the action is final.

"Start planning early," said Sweatt. "We suggest members discuss the decision with their family and weigh all options. We are also asking for members to complete their intent letters."

Intent letters are sent as reminders via e-mail every month to individuals that are within six months of their date of separation.

Very often, the re-enlistment office will not receive a reply from someone. If the office does not receive the member's intent letter, the member will be automatically projected for separation.

"Our office asks that once people receive this e-mail notification, please complete and return these to us within the noted suspense date," said Sweatt. "This will make the re-enlistment process much smoother."

Re-enlistment is not always the best choice or option for a member. There are many first-term Airmen who are not 100 percent sure continuing their Air Force career is truly for them. It is a major decision where an Airman must weigh their options and pick the best prospect for them.

One option a first-term Airman has when coming to the end of their first term is the opportunity to extend their enlistment for 12 months for personal convenience.

Per AFI 36-2606, "Re-enlistment in the United States Air Force," members are allowed to extend for 12 months, as long as it's the first extension on the re-enlistment. This option is not offered to career or second-term Airmen.

"For me, I feel as if this job gives me first-hand experience with how Airmen are making life-changing decisions that directly impact the Air Force, their families and future goals," said Sweatt.

Signing a multi-year contract with the world's most elite and powerful Air Force is not a decision to be made lightly.

"I like the gratitude of helping people make life-changing decisions the most about this job," said Sweatt.

"To help someone figure out which path to take in the Air Force gives me satisfaction, knowing that member will either continue doing awesome things in the military or helping them realize a civilian career would fit their goals better," she continued. "It's a fulfilling job."