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Kansas Guardsman completes first online retirement

FORBES FIELD, Kansas -- A Kansas Air National Guardsman was the first Guard Airman to complete the new online Air Force retirement process, which became mandatory April 15.

Tech. Sgt. Kenneth L. Ellis, of the 190th Civil Engineer Squadron, applied for retirement using the system March 15, the day the process went live, and his retirement documents were sent to him March 30.

Sergeant Ellis said he was a little apprehensive when he first learned of the new system just two days before the process kicked off.

"The date I was planning on retiring was less than six months away so I did not think the process would work for me," he said.

According to National Guard Bureau policy, base level transactional work related to the retirement process will no longer be performed by the military personnel flight. However, any paper retirement applications initiated before April 15 will continue to be processed until it is completed or closed.

Guardsmen submitting a request for retirement are now required to follow the instructions contained in a March 9 ANG retirement processing policy handout available from commander support staffs or online at the Air Force Personnel Center Web site, which holds the total force personnel services delivery transformation tools.

For traditional Guardsmen or military technicians applying for a Reserve Retirement, the effective date of retirement must be no earlier than 12 months and no later than six months before the requested retirement date.

AGR Airmen applying for an Active-Duty Retirement may apply no sooner than one year before the desired retirement date, but no later than 120 days before the effective date plus any desired terminal leave or permissive TDY. If AGRs are requesting a retirement date before their established AGR tour completion date, they must request a curtailment from their AGR tour through their servicing human resource office or remote designee.

Once the Airman fills in the online application, it will be forwarded to his or her unit commander and then to the wing commander for their recommendations. It is important to note that applications submitted outside the standard application window will require a waiver approved by the wing commander or equivalent. Waivers only should be requested as a last resort in the best interest of the ANG or for hardships, official said.

By submitting an application as outlined in the policy handout, an AGR Airman will provide the Reserve Personnel Contact Center enough time to process the application and issue retirement certificates, and publish and distribute the retirement orders.

When a Guard Airman wishes to retire, he or she will submit a request for transfer (or assignment) to the Retired Reserve online through the virtual Personnel Center - Guard and Reserve, or vPC-GR. No further participation is authorized for pay or points on or after the retirement effective date.

The Air Reserve Personnel Center Web site is located at http://arpc.afrc.af.mil. The Guard Airman should follow the prompts for the retirement application by clicking on vPC-GR.

While it might sound like a complicated process, Sergeant Ellis said he "liked how user friendly the process" was.

"This process is one of the only ones I have found that was this user friendly from the start," he said.

Staff Sgt. Alex Dunning, a personnel specialist for the 190th Mission Support Squadron, said once an Airman creates an account, he or she may do many other things online such as obtaining Department of Defense Form 214 copies, obtain copies of enlisted and officer performance reports or a copy of a previously issued 20-year letter.

Airmen may check on their retirement status at any time after submission by logging onto the vPC-GR, Sergeant Dunning said.

A few common user errors noted so far include Airmen entering an incorrect e-mail address for their unit or wing commander and incorrect information for their points of contact, he said. An incorrect e-mail address will cause the application to be in a "Pending" status and delay the processing of the retirement application.

Sergeant Ellis said the new retirement process wasn't just easy to understand, it was also a timesaver.

"For me, it did not take any longer than one hour for the first part of the process," he said.