The Air Pressure has begun assigning airmen with baby custody preparations to obligation close to their children
An airman from Luke Air Force Base was the first to receive an assignment late last month that honored his custody agreement.
Master Sgt. William Rotroff will be on his next assignment this fall at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, where his ex-wife and son Chevvy live, the Air Force Personnel Center said in an Aug. 27 press release.
The Air Force began on August 17 allowing Airmen with custody agreements to be stationed near their children for their next duties or to postpone their next duties if that would take them away from their children. Until now, child custody arrangements have not been considered part of the referral process.
Rotroff, an F-35 chief of the 756th Squadron’s integrated aircraft maintenance division at Luke, filed his application to be immediately stationed near Chevvy. Less than 24 hours later, his commanding officer, Maj. Joseph Langan, gave him the good news in person.
“One of the greatest things about being a squadron commander is that I have the ability and authority to fix many problems for my Airmen relatively quickly,” Langan said in the press release. “Sometimes the problems are chaotic and have complex solutions, but this has been one of the easiest and most satisfying victories I’ve had during my tenure.”
Langan said Rotroff was “overjoyed”.
“I was in shock,” said Rotroff. “I know the assignment process has a lot of moving parts involved. I am very grateful to the emergency team and everyone who was involved. “
Rotroff was originally supposed to go overseas, so he helped his ex-wife and son move to Florida where they would have more support during his absence. But then his overseas orders were unexpectedly canceled, which complicated his situation.
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The cancellation came shortly after August 5, when the Air Force announced the decision to consider assignments under custody. He was given more information about what was required of his military personnel flight and carefully prepared his package to ensure he qualified.
Cristi Bowes, head of AFPC’s Military Operations Policies and Procedures division, said Rotroff got his quick response because he made sure his package already had all the necessary documentation. The AFPC deployment teams were also trained to quickly accept and review inquiries immediately after the application period began.
However, the Air Force warned last month that it still needs to meet its needs and may not be able to accommodate all Airmen requesting deployment near their children. These assignment games will be conducted whenever possible, the Air Force said, and they will try to accommodate the Airmen’s family situations unless there is another option.
Rotroff said he will likely arrive in Florida in time to attend his son’s fifth birthday celebration, which is a “great gift” for both of them.
“Every situation is different, every urgency is different, but it’s a blessing that this program exists,” said Rotroff. “I am grateful that my son will be able to do this [to] have his mom and dad. His happiness means the world to me. “