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Boning up on enlistment bonuses

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ted Daigle
  • 307th Bomb Wing

It is no secret some people join the military out of a sense of duty, a motivation to serve their country, and a desire to better themselves.  For them, money plays a secondary role.  Regardless of the motivation for signing up or staying in, it’s important for Airmen to find out if the qualify for an enlistment or re-enlistment bonus and how to get it if they do.

Master Sgt. Macord Johnson, 307th Force Support Squadron career assistance advisor, said Reserve Citizen Airmen should look into whether or not their Air Force Specialty Code qualifies for a bonus.  He said sometimes Airmen enlist or re-enlist and don’t realize they qualify for a bonus.

“The list of AFSC’s that qualify for bonuses changes pretty frequently due to the personnel needs of the Air Force,” he said.  “If an AFSC is added to the list after an Airman enlists, they could still qualify for a $15,000 bonus.”

Like the dynamic list of qualifying AFSC’s, the status of Reserve Citizen Airmen receiving bonuses has also changed.  In the past, only traditional reservists qualified for bonuses. Now, full-time Reserve Citizen Airmen can also qualify.

“We now have the Aviation Bonus Program for qualifying officers and other bonus programs for some of our Air Reserve Technicians,” said Johnson.

Johnson emphasized Airmen that qualify for a bonus must still meet certain requirements as well as meet with him and apply for the bonus.  He said bonuses only begin to get disbursed once an Airmen has completed Basic Military Training and successfully completed their required technical school.

“Once they apply and meet the requirements, the first half of the bonus is paid out,” said Johnson. “Then they receive $1500 annually for the remainder of their enlistment.

In order to keep receiving the annual $1500 payment, Reserve Citizen Airmen must remain in good standing during the course of their enlistment.  Excessive unexcused absences, changes in career fields or changes in reserve status may preclude further payment, according to Johnson.

“If someone goes on Inactive Ready Reserve status or has more than four unexcused absences for unit training assemblies, they can be in danger of losing the remainder of their bonus,” he said. “It is important for those going on maternity leave to make their UTA’s up before they leave, because payment of the bonus is based on past attendance.”

Name changes can also impact bonus payments.  Johnson said qualifying Airmen that change their name should contact his office without delay.

Those wishing to learn more about bonuses should contact Master Sgt. Johnson at 318-456-1922 or email