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RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFRNS)  -- The rapid expansion of unmanned aircraft systems and other emerging missions and rated officer requirements has created an Air Force demand for experienced, rated officers. To meet these critical shortages, the secretary of the Air Force has initiated a Voluntary Retired Rated Recall Program.

Pilots, navigators, and air battle managers who retired as a lieutenant colonel or below, and who are younger than 60, may apply for the program. Officers recalled under this program will be used in myriad positions including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rated staff, and other rated requirements. Officers will be recalled for between 24 and 48 months depending upon the requirement.

Officers recalled will not be eligible to receive aviator continuation pay. Also, by volunteering for recall, officers become eligible for deployment. Retired Regular and retired Reserve officers are eligible to apply, and officers who retired via a Selective Early Retirement Board may also apply. Officers permanently retired for a physical disability are ineligible.

The application period runs through Dec. 31, 2009. For details, go to the Air Force Personnel Center's "Ask" Web site and enter "Retired Rated Recall Program" in the search function. Applicants having additional questions after reviewing this information should contact the Air Force Contact Center at (800) 616-3775. After Feb. 22 call (800) 525-0102. The commercial number is (210) 565-5000, and DSN is 665-5000. People may also send queries via e-mail to afpc.recall@randolph.af.mil.