Palace Chase: changing with time

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ryan Whitney
  • Nellis AFB Public Affairs
With an ever growing debt to finance the Global War on Terror taxing the Air Force at home and abroad, Airmen know all too well of the massive drawbacks and "force-shaping" needed to mold the Air Force into and efficient fighting force.

What many Airmen don't know is there is a program known as Palace Chase that allows Airmen to end their commitment to active duty early and finish out their contract with the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve.

"If an Airman is accepted into this program, it is win-win for both parties involved. The individual is separated from the active-duty force, and the Air Force is one person closer to its force shaping goals," said Master Sgt. Wanda Murray, 99th Mission Support Squadron in-service recruiter.

After an Airman is accepted into the Palace Chase program, that individual will owe back double the time left on his contract to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve. So, if an Airman has two years left on his contract, he will be required to serve four years in guard or reserve status. Officers' commitment is three times what is left on their commission when they are accepted into Palace Chase.

One of the largest draws to the Palace Chase program is the fact that Airmen get to keep many of their military benefits, like commissary and BX access, discounted medical insurance, educational benefits; and will continue to serve their country as Airmen, but only one weekend a month, two weeks a year. They also get to keep their G.I. Bill for future use as long as they fulfill the required service commitments.

There are a few stipulations to this program though. Once an individual has been accepted into the program, there is no turning back. The individual is given an average of six months to out-process from active duty.

"The first thing I ask Airmen interested in this program is what plans they have for the near future if their package goes through to make the transition to the civilian world a smooth one," said Sergeant Murray. "I only recommend this program to those who have a plan, because Palace Chase is a one-way street--once you start down it, there is no turning around."

To begin the Palace Chase process, visit the Virtual Military Personnel Flight and complete the voluntary separation form. Once the individual completes the form, the rest is in the hands of the Air Force Personnel Center at Randolph AFB, Texas. There, the decision to accept or reject the package will be made based solely on numbers. How many Airmen are at the desired location, what job is being requested, and other similar pieces of information are compared and accounted for in the overall decision.

Airmen's commanders will receive a courtesy notification email them that one of their Airmen has submitted a package, but it is suggested Airmen discuss this decision with their commanders first, said Sergeant Murray.

For more information on the Palace Chase or other similar programs, contact Sergeant Murray at (702)- 652-9423.