I recently retired from the...
I recently retired from the Air Force
and am trying to apply my US Air Force Academy time to my current retirement
system. The state law says that, "[Retirement](2) Membership service credit shall be awarded for any period of active military service performed after January 1, 1945, upon payment by the member of the regular employee" of a percentage of income. My DD214 reflects USAFA time as "Prior Inactive Service," but I think this characterization is incorrect. I submitted a letter to the AFBCMR and they denied my claim.Here was my justification:
The request to correct my DD 214 is based upon two primary arguments: 1) it provides an accurate and complete summation of my active military service, and 2) it has no impact on pay calculations or years of service as a commissioned officer
First, I will clarify the application of 10 U.S.C. § 971 as it applies to this case since that is the guidance upon which AFPC/DP2LT bases their recommendation. Then, I’ll address the U.S. Code and DOD
guidance that the DD 214 should represent an accurate and complete summation of service, and then demonstrate that this correction would have no impact on pay calculations or years of service as a commissioned officer as AFPC/DP2LT asserts in their FACTS/ANALYSIS.
Application of 10 U.S.C. § 971
In FACTS/ANALYSIS, AFPC/DP2LT quotes 10 U.S.C. § 971 “(b) Prohibition on Counting Service as a Cadet or Midshipman.—In computing length of service for any [Pay and Allowances] purpose, service as a cadet or midshipman may not be credited to any of the following officers
: (1) An officer of the Navy
or Marine Corps. (2) A commissioned officer of the Army
or Air Force. (3) An officer of the Coast Guard
. (4) An officer in the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service.” They further assert that commissioned officers who were cadets at the Air Force Academy cannot count their cadet time towards military active or retired pay and allowances, nor can they claim the time for years of service for military retirement (total active federal military service). Before continuing, the language of 10 U.S.C. § 971 must be clarified. The guidance states that, “In computing length of service for any purpose,” service as a cadet may not be credited to a commissioned officer of the Air Force, but the DD 214 already accommodates for this time as a cadet when calculating “Total Prior Inactive Service,” thus, the current interpretation of the 10 U.S.C. § 971 language acknowledges some limits.
These references are not relevant as the changes I requested would not affect pay and allowances or years of service. My request is consistent with 10 U.S.C. § 971. The DD 214 delineates the difference between service during this period [as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force] in blocks 12.a, 12.b, and 12.c. versus prior service [service not as a commissioned officer] which is accommodated in blocks 12.d and 12.e. These blocks are not part of military compensation and benefits calculations, thus correcting them would not impact military pay, compensation, or years of service as a commissioned officer. Nor would the time I spend as a cadet be credited to my service as an officer in the Air Force, which is complete compliance with 10 U.S.C. § 971. Pay and compensation calculations are made by HQ AFPC using other data. (AFI 36-2604, 1.4.)
Accurate and Complete Summation of Military Service
Characterizing service at the Air Force Academy as Total Prior Inactive Service fails to “provide an accurate and complete summation of active military personnel service.” In order to arrive at this conclusion, I researched Department of Defense terms of reference for service. DODI 1336.01 (dated 20 Aug 2009, Incorporating Change 1, Effective December 29, 2014) states that it is DOD policy that:
a. The DD Form 214 will provide an accurate and complete summation of active military personnel service. It will provide the Military Services with an authoritative source of personnel information for administrative purposes, and for making enlistment or reenlistment eligibility determinations.
d. The DD Form 214 will be accurately prepared to provide the Service member a clear, concise summary of active service with the Military Services at the time of transfer, release, discharge
, or Service member change of component or status while on active duty. [emphasis added]
It is relevant to note that the time I spent at the Air Force Academy is already documented on my DD 214 in Block 12.e. as “Total Prior Inactive Service.” AFPC/DP2LT does not object with this Air Force Academy service time appearing on the DD 214, nor referring to it as “Prior Service.” Their principle argument is that it should not appear as “Active Service.”