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Humanitarian assignments assist in bringing Airmen closer to their families in times of need

The humanitarian reassignment and deferment program follows a 9-step process to allow Airmen with severe, short-term problems involving family members to apply for special assignment consideration close to home. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Sylvia Saab/Released)

The humanitarian reassignment and deferment program follows a 9-step process to allow Airmen with severe, short-term problems involving family members to apply for special assignment consideration close to home. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Sylvia Saab/Released)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- At the Air Force Personnel Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, a team of four NCO and two civilian personnel specialists work to bring, or keep Airmen close to home during emergencies involving immediate family members -- while still serving the needs of Air Force.

"There are approximately 3,242 Airmen directly benefiting from a humanitarian assignment around the Air Force," said Senior Airman David Westerman, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Client System Support Technician.

Reasons that may qualify an Airman for a humanitarian reassignment or deferment (with the member remaining in an assignment) are varied and include, but are not limited to, the terminal illness of a family member or the sexual abuse of the member, member's spouse or child, or issues involving a serious financial impact such as the loss of property through fire or natural disaster. In each situation, the personnelists consider the merit of change of assignment for the individual as well as the mission at large.

"The program helps alleviate stress by allowing the service member to get closer to their loved ones in a time of need," said Master Sgt. David Alderton, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Force Protection Security Manager. "It's a win-win situation for both the Air Force and the member; you're more productive when you are focusing on the mission."

While there are exceptions to policy, Air Force Instruction 36-2110, "Assignments," Attachment 24, limits the assignments to aid a spouse, child, father, mother, father- or mother-in-law, stepparent or person in loco parentis (who have been documented to have taken the place of a parent in the Airman's life). Siblings of the Airman or spouse are not within the scope of the program, yet requests involving the terminal illness of a sibling may be forwarded for consideration, according to the instruction text.

"Though often overlooked this is one of those programs that's there for you to help in your time of need," said Capt. Michael Smith, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) /A9, Chief of Training Exercise and Analysis. "I've had a commander that used the program in the past, which shows it's for everyone and not rank limited."

For eligibility criteria and additional information regarding humanitarian and EFMP programs, Airmen should review Air Force Instruction 36-2110, Assignments, Attachment 24 (humanitarian) and Attachment 25 (EFMP). For more information, see your military personnel section or visithttps://mypers.af.mil/.

Editor's note: Airman 1st Class Alexander W. Air Force News Service, Riedel, contributed to this article.

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