A change in the leave policy for Airmen returning from deployments in the Area of Responsibility has been clarified recently. The policy which curtailed returning troops from stopping off to visit friends and family on the way back to home stations while within the continental United States has been lifted.
In a memo from Air Force Material Command headquarters dated May 12 and signed by Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, AFMC vice commander, the new policy points out the benefits to Airmen -- raising the quality of life and lowering the costs of traveling to visit their friends and family. The leave allowed is for 14 days only.
There are requirements that must be followed however, both in this AFMC guidance and in a previous U.S. Air Force headquarters memo dated March 12. Keep in mind that this new policy does not supersede any reintegration and reconstitution programs required of Airmen as they return from deployment.
Home station commanders must contact the deployed commander of the Airman to make sure one-on-one sessions occur before any such leave is granted and to ascertain all weapons are sent to the home station securely.
Deployed and home station command structure must approve the leave beforehand.
The Airmen desiring leave must be assessed by a deployed medical health care provider before any approval is granted. Personnel deploying under a medical waiver should include planned leave en route in their waiver package.
Leave must be within the continental United States (not including Hawaii and Alaska) and must be accounted for upon return to home station.
The member is responsible for his own travel from the port in the United States at which he debarks (the port of debarkation in the United States) for the leave and then his travel to the continental United States strategic port for movement to the home station.
The host wing, TMF, at his or her deployed location, will schedule the flight back to the home station from the continental United States strategic port.
Appropriate leave location and contact information must be provided by the Airmen to the home station as would normally be documented in a Leave Web request.
The leave is limited to 14 days from the date of arrival in the continental United States.
Airmen deployed with a weapon must coordinate proper turn in and accountability for their weapon with both their own major command and deployed Air Force Forces staff.
Home station unit commanders will notify the Installation Personnel Readiness office of leave dates to ensure proper accountability and reporting.
Further information for home station commanders is available in the U.S. Air Force headquarters memorandum detailing how to account for personnel while they are on leave.
"We look forward to finalizing the details of the leave en-route process to ease the re-integration of our deployers to their families," said Lt. Col. Danny Johnson, 75th Logistic Readiness Squadron commander. "This new policy will do wonders to improve the morale of our deployers. Although the policy is in effect, there are still some questions on how the Air Force is going to execute and fund the equipment and weapons shipments back to the home unit while the member is on leave. However, this is a win-win for our deployers and their families."
For questions about this policy please contact U.S. Air Force Central Command/AIRP at either DSN: 905-3039 or commercially at (803) 895-3039.