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Air Force to accelerate realignment of Oregon wing

WASHINGTON -- Air Force Reserve Command officials announced plans to implement a second reduction in force in a move to accelerate the closure of the 939th Air Refueling Wing by June 2008 at Portland International Airport, Ore.

Originally scheduled to be finalized in September 2010, the new plan allows about 244 traditional reservists, 47 Air Reserve Technicians and 48 civilian employees to evaluate incentive benefits and use job placement support now.

Air Reserve Technicians are civil-service employees who also serve in the Air Force Reserve as reservists.

"Our goal is to speed up this transition so we can take better care of our people," said Maj. Gen. Allan R. Poulin, the AFRC vice commander at Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "We're working to help all our reservists and civilians transition to new jobs as our Air Force is going through many significant changes in the next few years. The 939th Air Refueling Wing has an outstanding performance record, but is being realigned so the Air Force can consolidate to be more efficient and effective."

In 2006, Portland's Air Force Reserve wing relocated all eight of its KC-135 Stratotankers, sending four in July to March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and the other four in August to Tinker AFB, Okla. The move was directed by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission in February 2006.

The Air Force Reserve will continue to operate the 304th Rescue Squadron at the Portland airport. The drawdowns in Reserve Airmen at Portland are expected to be offset by growth in the Oregon Air National Guard mission.

"Air Force reservists and civilians assigned to the unit will be eligible for full-time personnel benefits under civil service placement programs," said Steve Mann, the AFRC director of manpower and personnel at Robins AFB. "The Portland reservists may now enter the AFRC clearing house database to help them find new federal jobs. Also, some people may volunteer for special early retirement programs or separation pay options."

Reservists and civil servants can learn more about the job-placement clearing house and other special separation programs by accessing the following Web site from a military computer at https://wwwmil.a1.afrc.af.mil/brac. This virtual job fair takes into account personal career and location preferences and works to match displaced people with new opportunities.