Every year, thousands of men and women take the oath to join the one percent of those who volunteer to serve our nation. For some, their military service becomes a career, while others intend to leave after one enlistment. Although some may choose to leave after their contract is fulfilled, it doesn’t mean they can’t continue to serve in the U.S. military.
“A lot of Airmen don’t know that as an active-duty service member, they have an opportunity to switch and become a reservist,” said Master Sgt. Kenya McCall, Air Force Reserve in-service recruiter at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina.
She added some of the main reasons Airmen transition is to pursue education full-time, work toward another career or to spend more time at home with their families. Although these individuals have made the decision to step away from active-duty, some still have aspirations to serve their nation.
Two programs, Palace Chase and Palace Front, are available to active-duty officers and enlisted members to transfer to an Air Reserve Command.
Additionally, the Palace Chase program allows active-duty Airmen to separate early and continue their military career with the Air Force Reserve. The Palace Front program permits Airmen transfer to a reserve component the day after their active duty contract ends.
Officers can apply two-thirds of the way into their contract. The remaining time triples and is then served in a reserve component.
Both of these processes take about six months to complete and allow service members to keep most of their benefits, including their education and discounted healthcare benefits.
As an in-service recruiter, McCall is able to help members bridge the gap.
“There’s a lot to do to go through the process,” said McCall. “I’m here to help guide them and to answer all their questions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a million and one questions, I make myself available to the applicant.”
Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kornegay, 4th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, began the Palace Front program process in December 2016. He is slated to transition to the Air Force Reserves in May 2017.
“Going through the process, Master Sgt. McCall has been on top of her game,” Kornegay said. “She’s contacting me, keeping me up-to-date with everything I need to be doing during the transition and explaining everything in detail. She’s great.”
After six years of service Kornegay doesn’t want to completely separate and wants to continue in the Air Force.
“My wife is really excited that I’m joining the reserves,” said Kornegay. “We’re excited that I can spend more time with my family and follow my dreams while still receiving all my benefits.”
Kornegay plans to attend North Carolina State University as a full-time student and wants to open a business, possibly focused on fitness, with his brother.
McCall said active-duty service men and women have unique and personal reasons for wanting to switch to reserve status. For some it’s family, for others it’s to follow a larger dream and some simply just don’t want to be a full-time warrior anymore. Whatever their reasons, they are still an imperative part of accomplishing the Air Force mission.
For more information call the in-service recruiter’s office at 919-722-2259 or visit: