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Policy change allows Airmen to take leave with special liberty

By C. Todd Lopez

BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, Washington, D.C. (March 29, 2007) -- Recent changes to Department of Defense policy allow Airmen and other members of the Armed Forces to take special liberty -- also called "pass" -- from their commander in conjunction with regular leave.

The new policy removes the requirement that there be a duty day between special liberty and leave.

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Special liberty is time away from work, granted by a commander, that doesn't count against an Airman's leave days. Such liberty might be a reward for outstanding performance or graduation from professional military education said Maj. Jason Kobylski, director of the 11th Wing Financial Management office.

"It's for simple little things like when commanders have challenges for physical fitness, and they might reward individuals who meet or exceed by giving a day off," he said.

Major Kobylski said the change makes it easier for Airmen to use the special days their commander gives them to prepare for their own official leave time -- to prepare the house before going on vacation, or to finish shopping before going home for Christmas.

"The new policy allows members to take that day in conjunction with leave, so they can get stuff done first, then go on leave," he said. "It's a morale and quality of life thing."

Though the policy change did remove the need to have a duty day between special liberty and leave, the requirement is still in place that Airmen begin and end their leave in the local area. If an Airman wants to be out of the local area for the duration of their special liberty and not return before the start of their leave, then the entire time, leave plus special liberty, will be charged as leave.

According to a recent Air Force memorandum, the new policy also affects Air National Guard members serving in an active guard⁄reserve status or Guard members serving on statutory tours for more than 30 consecutive days.

The Department of Defense changed the policy last November, and those changes will be incorporated into the next update to DoD instruction 1327.6. The changes will also be incorporated into appropriate Air Force Instructions.

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