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Air Force releases all specialties from Stop-Loss

WASHINGTON -- The last officer and enlisted specialties on Stop-Loss will be released beginning Sept. 1.

In making the announcement, Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche said the release will be phased in during a one-month period to allow both the Air Force and affected personnel time for transition.

"We have arrived at a new steady-state," Roche said. "Stop-Loss most certainly helped us get here successfully, but we had pledged all along that we wouldn't hold onto anyone longer than necessary."

The release, which affects three officer and 15 enlisted specialties, will begin with people who had original retirement or separation dates prior to April 1. They will be able to leave beginning Sept. 1. During the second phase, individuals with retirement or separation dates between April 1 and Sept. 30 can be released. In the final phase, anyone with a retirement or separation date of Oct.1 or later can separate at his or her established date.

Members can request to remain on active duty up to five months to transition to civilian life and use accrued leave. The release does not apply to airmen who are currently deployed in support of operations Noble Eagle and Enduring Freedom; all deployed personnel will remain subject to Stop-Loss as long as they are deployed. Upon completion of deployment, people will have up to five months to transition.

Stop-Loss was implemented shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to meet unprecedented mission requirements. The process was reviewed every 60 days.

"We were very aware of the sacrifice our airmen and their families were making," Roche said. "Service before self is an Air Force core value and their performance illustrated that."