Morale: Compensatory Time For Combat


January 5, 2008: The U.S. Air Force is the last of the four services to adopt an extra leave (vacation days) program for those who have spent an above-average amount of time overseas. Officially called PDMRA (Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence), it awards 1-4 extra vacation days for every additional month, over twelve, spent overseas in the past three years. Troops normally get 30 vacation days a year. PDMRA is a sliding scale, so someone who spent fifteen months overseas, would get three extra vacation days. Someone who spent 20 months would get 16 extra days and someone who spent 25 months overseas would get 52 extra days. Each service has a slightly different formula for awarding the extra leave days.

The additional leave is seen as more of a necessity than a luxury. Some troops in undermanned, but much needed, categories, spend a lot of additional time overseas. This puts a big strain on family life. Even though there are cash bonuses for the additional time overseas, that doesn't make up for the time away from the family. The extra leave days helps address that problem. PDMRA is only a short-term solution. Long term, the military has to recruit more people for those job categories that are in high demand overseas. These are usually highly skilled jobs in electronics and intelligence.


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