Army pilots have contracts extended for 3 more years as war in Ukraine heats up

The newlywed said the news was a “…big kick in the gonads. We wanted to start having kids, and we no longer can. It’s a stressor we didn’t plan to deal with."

600 Army aviation officers who were set to leave the military to start families, start businesses and re-enter civilian lives are being required to serve an additional three years of service after the branch reinterpreted part of their contract following retention and recruitment issues.

A captain and three other active-duty aviation officers told NBC on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation about the Army’s action which the branch had hoped to keep quiet.

Cadets commissioned from the US Military Academy or Army Cadet Command between 2008 and 2020 were able to request a branch of their choice, by agreeing to serve an additional three years on active duty.

In the past, the Army has allowed aviation officers enrolled in the program called BRADSO to serve the three years concurrently, not consecutively, along with their contracted seven or eight years of service.  

In letters obtained by the outlet that the Army sent this month to the affected aviators as well as to members of Congress, the branch stated it “realized” after conducting a “legal review of this policy” that the three-year BRADSO requirement had to be served separately. “This is not a new policy, but we are correcting oversights in recordkeeping that led some officers with an applied BRADSO to separate from the US Army before they were eligible.”

Over 60 affected service members signed a letter to Congress outlining how they had been misled by the Army for years about the length of their service contract.

An aviation captain who was recently married and wanted to start a family said during a media roundtable, that the reversal of precedent was an “injustice.” 

"Yeah, the war on Afghanistan ended. There’s still a high demand for Army aviation. We have units still in constant training or deployment rotations. They’re failing to recognize the human aspect."

The newlywed said the news was a “…big kick in the gonads. We wanted to start having kids, and we no longer can. It’s a stressor we didn’t plan to deal with."

In an email sent on Sept. 1, 2022, that was obtained by NBC, a career manager with the Army Human Resources Command told an officer that his service obligation runs concurrently, yet when he discussed it with his manager last week, he received a different answer.

Every branch of the US military has had difficulty meeting its fiscal year 2022 recruiting goals and the affected officers and the affected officers believe these recruitment and retention challenges led the Army to change its police.

On Thursday, Army officials told the media there were "errors" in the system that led to the discrepancy.

Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, deputy chief of staff of G-1, which is in charge of policy and personnel said, "We are fixing those errors, and we are in communication with the unit leadership and impacted officers.”

He added, "Our overall goal to correct this issue is to provide predictability and stability for our soldiers while maintaining readiness across our force."

The recruitment and retention challenges come amid the Army's growing push to go woke during the Biden administration.

Last year, the US Army made the decision to reduce physical fitness standards for women and older soldiers and the official Twitter account for US Air Force Recruiting posted a photo of several cadets jogging while one in back held the LGBT pride flag with no American flag to be seen.

The Army briefly allowed applicants without a high school diploma or GED to enlist if they scored in the top 50 percent of Americans on their entry aptitude tests. However, the policy was rolled back less than a week after it was enacted.

The news also comes as the war in Ukraine continues, with the Biden administration continuing to send money and weapons to the eastern European country and recent Pentagon document leaks allegedly showing that the US has special forces on the ground in Ukraine.


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