A Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, Airman was granted the first court-ordered child custody assignment recently, just one day after the application process opened.
Master Sgt. William Rotroff, an F-35 integrated section chief with the 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was notified that his application was approved less than 24 hours after he submitted his package.
“I was in shock,” Rotroff said. “I know the assignment process is busy, with a lot of moving parts. I’m just so grateful to the assignments team and everyone that was involved with making this happen.”
Rotroff’s commander, Maj. Joseph Langan, said he had the honor of delivering the good news in person and that Rotroff was overjoyed.
“One of the greatest parts about being a squadron commander is that I have the ability and authority to fix many problems for my Airmen relatively quickly,” Langan said. “Sometimes the problems are messy and have complex solutions, but this was one of the easiest and most satisfying wins I’ve had during my time in command.”
Rotroff said he found himself in a unique position when his overseas orders cancelled unexpectedly, after he already helped relocate his ex-wife and their four-year-old son to Florida, where she would have a stronger support system in his absence.
He remembered the Air Force recently announced a change in policy that now considers child custody agreements when granting Airmen assignments and deferments, so he contacted his local military personnel flight for more information. He went through the requirements carefully to ensure he was a qualified applicant and submitted his package, expecting to receive a decision back in approximately 30 days.
Cristi Bowes, military assignment policy and procedures at the Air Force’s Personnel Center, credited Rotroff for being proactive and having all of his documentation readily available, which she said contributed to the quick turnaround time. Additionally, she said assignment teams were trained and ready to accept and review requests immediately after the application was made available to Airmen.
“We deliberately designed the process to have minimal required coordination to enable the process to be swift for Airmen and their families,” she said.
“This program truly shows how the Air Force cares for their Airmen and families,” she said. “It provides an opportunity for Airmen to continue serving in the greatest Air Force in the world and not have to choose between their career and their children.”
Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Hoglund, AFPC command chief, said he commends the Air Force for taking bold action to get where it is today.
“The ability to take a vision and turn it into reality has set a mark for future programs to continue to generate wins for our Airmen and families,” he said. “I look forward to this program running on all cylinders and becoming normal muscle movement for our assignment functional managers in our operations execution directorate.”
He added that it takes a team of experts working behind the scenes to ensure these programs are successful.
“The assignment functional managers and policy experts are merging art with science to create positive outcomes for our Airmen,” Hoglund said.
Rotroff said he expects to arrive in Florida just in time for his son’s fifth birthday and said that it would be a huge gift to both of them.
“Everyone’s situation is different, everyone’s urgency is different, but it’s a blessing this program exists,” Rotroff said. “I’m thankful my son will be able have his mom and dad; his happiness means the world to me.”
The Court-Ordered Child Custody Assignment or Deferment consideration program is applicable to officer and enlisted regular Air Force Airmen on active duty for those who meet the program eligibility requirements and when manning at current and gaining location will support reassignment action.
Visit the Personnel Services Delivery Guide at https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/48283/p/10/c/20, for more information about the program, eligibility criteria, and how to apply.