The head of the Air Force’s combat units wants to cut his air crews’ overseas deployments from 90 to 45 days, in an effort to keep frustrated pilots and seasoned enlisted personnel from leaving.
Gen. Richard E. Hawley, commander of the 128,000-member Air Combat Command headquartered at Langley Air Force Base, said the change may help stem an exodus of pilots who have decided that long deployments - typically in some of the world’s most inhospitable and remote corners - aren’t worth the trouble they bring to families.
Hawley’s initiative, which he plans to submit to Air Force officials this week, is the latest in a series aimed at on-the-job “irritants” that have driven career military members away.
Those irritants include time away from home and heavy stateside workloads, a perceived erosion of health benefits, small pay raises and a plethora of duties that servicemen and women feel has little to do with their jobs.
Combined with aggressive recruiting by commercial airlines, their frustrations have prompted a rising number of pilots to turn down the $12,000 annual bonuses the Air Force offers aviators it wants to retain.