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Chapter 1


1.4. When Unauthorized Absence (UA) Begins and Ends. It is incumbent on the commander, first sergeant, and supervisor to investigate a member’s absence to determine whether or not the absence is voluntary or involuntary. An unauthorized absence begins when an Airman voluntarily absences themselves from where they are ordered or otherwise required to be present. An unauthorized absence ends when the absentee or deserter returns to military control. An unauthorized absence of 24 hours or less is classified as “failure to go”. Note: If the commander determines the member’s absence may be involuntary, contact the force support squadron Casualty Assistance Representative (CAR) immediately for possible Duty Status Whereabouts Unknown (DUSTWUN) reporting IAW AFI 36-3002, Casualty Services.

1.4.1. When to classify as AWOL. An unauthorized absence of more than 24 hours and less than 30 days which the commander has determined is voluntary is classified as “absence without leave” or AWOL (UCMJ, Article 86). Example: Amn Doe is required to be at work at 0730 on Monday but fails to report. Amn Doe’s supervisor, first sergeant, and commander investigate his absence and the commander determines the absence to be voluntary. After 24 hours of unauthorized absence (0730 on Tuesday), the Commander will immediately report Amn Doe as AWOL with an effective date and time of Monday at 0730.

1.4.2. When to classify as a Deserter. A member who has been AWOL for more than 30 consecutive days will be classified as a deserter (UCMJ, Article 85). Example: Amn Doe has been AWOL since 1 Jan 2013. He remains AWOL through 2400 on the 30th consecutive day and his status is changed to Deserter on the 31st day (10th day during times of National Emergency or war declared by the President or Congress) with an effective date and time of 31 January 2013 at 0001. Note: An absentee does not have to be placed in AWOL status prior to being classified as a Deserter status if the member is absent without authority, regardless of the length of the absence, and meets any of the eligibility criteria listed below. The commander has determined that the member remains absent from his or her
unit, organization, or place of duty with no intention of returning. Is under the duty or travel restrictions that DoDM 5210.01-R/AFI 31-501, Personnel Security Program Management imposes. Has had access in the past 12 months to Top Secret information or other classified information that requires special access authority (see paragraph 2.3.7). Note: Do not classify a person who appears to be a casualty as a deserter solely because the person has had access to classified material described herein. Has gone to, or stayed in, a foreign country and, while there, has asked for or taken any type of asylum or resident permit from that country or its governmental agencies. Has action pending on a previous unauthorized absence that has not been completed. Is an escaped prisoner. Is under investigation for violating the UCMJ as listed in Attachment 2 or against whom charges for any offense have been referred to a General Court-Martial. Is believed likely to commit violent acts, or may harm themselves or the general public. AFPC/DPFC has determined member is a deserter.

Comments: "AFPC" is Air Force Personnel Center.


Chapter 4

4.4. Disposition of Absentee Returned to Military Control

4.4.1.  Absentees gone for less than 1 year will be returned to the unit they were assigned to at the time of their unauthorized absence.

4.4.2. Members absent for 1 year or more are transferred to the nearest Air Force installation with facilities for handling of the case.

4.7. Commanders Determination. The action unit commander:

4.7.1. Takes responsibility for disposition of unauthorized absence.

4.7.2. Reviews case circumstances and consults with JA to determine if the absence was avoidable or unavoidable.

4.7.3. A commander who finds that an absence was: Avoidable, consults with JA and takes appropriate disciplinary action as warranted. Unavoidable, excuses the absence. The period of absence does not count as lost time to be made good. Charge it to leave if not authorized for another reason (ref: AFI 36-3003, Military Leave Program). A new HR type PPA AWOL/Deserter CMS case is required to revoke the unauthorized absence report. (T-3) Examples of excused absences not charged to leave include, but are not limited to: When a member's lack of mental capacity causes the absence. When civilian law enforcement authorities hold, try and acquit a member.

4.7.4. If a member dies during an unauthorized absence, the commander of the unit of assignment makes a new status determination. (T-1) After considering all available facts, the commander determines if the member was in duty status, absent on leave, absent without leave, or a deserter. (T-0)


Chapter 5

5.1. General. This chapter applies to ANGUS or USAFR Members Ordered to Extended Active Duty (EAD) voluntarily or involuntarily...

5.1.1. When an EAD order calls a Reserve Component member to active duty (AD), the AD unit the member is temporarily assigned to processes (sic) the absentee only after coordination with the unit of assignment.

5.2. Determining Unauthorized Absences. A Reserve member voluntarily or involuntarily called or recalled to Active Duty (AD) or Active Duty For Training (ADT) who fails to report is an absentee if strong evidence exists that the member received the orders (Title 10 orders).

5.2.1. DoDD 1215.13, Reserve Component (RC) Member Participation Policy, allows processing of AWOL or desertion without a signed receipt on file. To do so, however, substantial proof must exist that orders to report for ADT or transfer to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) were properly mailed to the most recent address the member furnished. Substantial proof consists of certified mail return receipt fron the USPS verifying delivery of orders to current address.


5.4. Return to Military Control Responsibilities. ...

5.4.2. Disposition Instructions:

5.4.2. Disposition Instructions:

... Absentees gone for less than 180 days are returned to their unit of assignment or to another unit with court-martial jurisdiction as determined by the unit of assignment commander. Absentees gone for 180 days or more are no longer carried on unit rolls and are sent to the nearest Air Force installation with facilities for handling the case. In some cases, the rules outlined above may not be appropriate. Under these circumstances, contact AFPC/DPFCM for further guidance.