NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., — Each year thousands of people answer the nation’s call by enlisting or commissioning in the United States Air Force. Some will only serve one term and some will serve many. Sometimes an Airmen may decide that they no longer wish to serve on active duty, but would rather serve on a part-time basis. The U.S. Air Force Reserves offers these Airmen this opportunity.
“Palace Chase is an active duty member’s early separation request through the Air Force Personnel
Center,” said Master Sgt. Veronica White, 99th Force Support Squadron Air Force Reserve in-service recruiter. “This means they can apply to leave active duty early. The application process through AFPC if approved is based on active duty manning in that persons Air Force Specialty Code then they can leave active duty early. However, the remaining active duty service commitment time will be doubled with participation in the reserves. “
During the application process it is possible for an AFSC to be unavailable.
“Once approved by AFPC, to be eligible to separate under Palace Chase, we can look at retraining opportunities,” said White. “We base that retraining opportunity on the members’ current Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score, the retraining opportunities available where they want to participate and their interest in that AFSC.”
The actual process for Palace Chase can take anywhere from two weeks at minimum to get the process started and it can take up to eight weeks to get an email response from AFPC with tentative approval or disapproval.
“If a member knows they are ready to get the process started they have to route one of the applications to their squadron commander for signature,” said White. “Once they get that signature and return the application the member can go on the Virtual Air Force Personnel Center and submit their application. Once they submit their application on the virtual to leave active duty they have to put a requested date of separation.
“That requested date of separation cannot be any earlier than 90 days from that application date and no further out than 180 days. They’re looking at a requested date of separation in a three to six month window.”
The initial eligibility for Palace Chase is a member has to have completed or be within six months of completing half of their initial active duty contract.
“Each member is different when they come in,” said White. “If they know they are ready to apply, get the process started, I often ask them how soon they want to leave active duty. That will determine the timeframe that we have to work with. Some members want to separate right away once we get everything situated. Others could be looking at the other end of the spectrum, the 180 day mark then we work it accordingly.”
Master Sgt. Sharlene Lockhart, 99th Force Support Squadron Air Force Reserve in-service recruiter stated that Airmen should know that this is an opportunity to take back control.
“This is an opportunity to continue your service and to be a part of something bigger and still focus on you,” said Lockhart. “It is very difficult to pursue personal goals on active duty. Working part-time with the Reserve and having full-time benefits all while you pursue your personal goals is an amazing opportunity.
“My advice for anyone thinking about switching is to see us out. Master Sgt. White and I are here to support the Airman assigned. We are here to educate everyone on their options.”