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Army offers lateral transfers for Airmen

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Department of Defense's Blue to Green program allows Airmen to continue serving their country by joining the U.S. Army without losing the military benefits they've earned, including rank in most cases. 

Congress authorized the Blue to Green program in 2003, and many Airmen have utilized it to continue their service, especially when faced with force shaping. However, it's not just force shaped Airmen who are utilizing the program. 

"I think the ones who are considering Blue to Green are the ones who are interested in trying another career and the challenges associated with it," said Mr. Bill Carr, acting deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy. 

While both officers and enlisted are eligible for the program, the Army is looking for enlisted Airmen who are completing their first enlistment. 

"Our primary target audience will be in the grades of E-1 to E-4," said Army Sgt. Joseph Shin, U.S. Army recruiter for the Republic of Korea. "Applicants enlisting in the grades of E-1 to E-5 will enlist in the same grade, and retain current date of rank." 

In most cases, servicemembers who hold a rank of E-5 and above will also keep their rank, but unlike ranks E-1 through E-4, that decision is subject to review by the Army Human Resources Command, said Sergeant Shin. 

Whatever rank you are, all military benefits, including life insurance, healthcare for family members and access to military installations and services, are retained by every servicemember in the Blue to Green program. Other benefits for Soldiers include 30 days of vacation with pay each year and a chance to travel. You may even qualify for an enlistment bonus if your skills transfer into an Army-critical Military Occupational Specialty. 

To transfer to the Army, Airmen must meet specific Army eligibility requirements, including meeting the in-service height and weight standards, which can be found at www.usapa.army.mil/pdffiles/r600_9.pdf. 

Airmen choosing to process for the Army must obtain an approved DD Form 368 through their military personnel flight or their separation orders, said Sergeant Shin. The DD Form 368 must have a projected re-entry code, separation program designator code, expired term of service, Air Force Specialty Code and annotation of any lost time in whole days provided in the remarks block on Page 2 of the DD Form 368. 

After eligibility is determined, participants will attend a four-week Warrior Transition Course at Fort Sill, Okla., which will transform the servicemembers into Soldiers. After completion of the WTC, the servicemember can choose to participate in a career field similar to their previous one or retrain for an entirely new MOS, depending on qualifications and training vacancies. 

Airmen stationed here who are close to being honorably discharged, and who are interested in joining the Army, should contact Sergeant Shin at DSN 738-4786, or Sgt. 1st Class Hyong Kim at DSN 738-6916. For more information, visit www.goarmy.com/BTG.