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Palace Chase Program

Story by
Master Sgt. Veronica Aceveda
512th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

141117-F-FZ583-00211/18/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- When life happens and the thought of separating from the active-duty Air Force surfaces, a trip to see the AF Reserve in-service recruiter at the Visitors Center here may alleviate some fears of the unknown.

Assigned to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Master Sgt. Ken Bachman is the in-service recruiter, who can help Airmen who are still interested in serving on a part-time basis.

The 24-year Airman is considered a subject matter expert in two active-duty programs, which allow active-duty Airmen to continue their service in the Air Force Reserve.

Palace Front, Palace Chase

Palace Front is an option for AF members who have elected to separate, have a separation date and are within six months of that separation date. Part of their out-processing checklist is to meet with the AF Reserve in-service recruiter to discuss their options.

Palace Chase is a program for Airmen who are interested in leaving the active-duty AF but do not have a separation date. The approval process for Palace Chase is determined by manning levels of specific AF career fields. The rule of thumb is a member must have completed at least half of their enlistment contract by the time of their separation date.

Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to the palace programs, Bachman can answer service specific questions and can explain the benefits of serving in the AF Reserve.

He said the most frequently asked questions include:

- Does the AF Reserve offer healthcare?

- Does the AF Reserve offer tuition assistance?

- Do I keep the same rank?

- How does retirement work with regard to combining active-duty service with reserve time?

Switching Over

"The process coming into the Air Force Reserve is seamless," said Bachman. "If you come off of active duty, only five things are needed: your orders, a separation physical, your latest PT assessment, any profile documentation and a medical questionnaire.

"If there's a break of service, you'll need to meet all of the re-enlistment standards of joining the service, including height and weight requirements."

Another bonus to not having a break in service is Airmen transitioning from active duty directly to the AF Reserve are eligible for transitional health care benefits, Bachman added.

During the AF Reserve hiring process, there are also cross-training opportunities, said Bachman who has cross-trained himself, having served 18 years as a security forces specialist.

"I like to consider myself as an AF Reserve guidance counselor," said Bachman. "Please stop by anytime to ask questions or start the process."

His office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; an appointment is not necessary.

"Personally, the main reason I love doing this job is because these active-duty members put in several years of service with many sacrifices, and I want them to know there's a significant amount of money for having 20 years of service," said Bachman. "It's extremely rewarding to help these folks continue their adventure and reap the benefits of earning a pension through the Air Force Reserve."

Near and Far

As Airmen separate, some choose to stay locally or relocate to someplace new, and others return to their hometowns. One such individual is Senior Airman Alexander King, a 436th Maintenance Squadron aerospace technician, who has been approved to separate through the Palace Chase program. In February, he plans to return to his hometown in New York and become a reservist assigned to Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, New York.

Bachman can help place Airmen in the AF Reserve's 512th Airlift Wing here as well as in units across the nation and in a few places overseas.

To search the nearest AF Reserve operating location by zip code, visit

Most AF Reserve Airmen are traditional reservists, who usually serve one weekend a month and two weeks a year with an assigned Reserve unit.

But, Bachman can also help transfer a separating active-duty Airman into another category of reservists called Individual Mobilization Augmentees. IMAs are assigned to active-duty units around the world. The AF Reserve website lists the IMA program as the most flexible participation category offered.

"Command wide, we also have about 20 percent of full-time positions in the Air Force Reserve between Air Reserve Technician and Active Guard and Reserve jobs," said Bachman, who can further explain each of the AF Reserve's four categories.

King, who has been working his Palace Chase package for two months, is an advocate for the in-service recruiting assistance and recommends seeing Bachman as a good place to start if thinking about separating.

"He knows what he's doing," said King. "He definitely knows the ins and outs of the programs and has helped me every step of the way.

An original six-year enlistee, King will have served three and a half years at the time of his separation, enabling him to move closer to home to support his family's construction business.

"Bachman was a big help, and I'm thankful this program exists," said King. "It has worked out to my benefit. It's life changing."