Retiree office offers one-stop shopping

by Airman 1st Class Larissa Greatwood 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

When it comes to retirement, individuals can be swamped with a vast amount of information available from a variety of organizations. When closing one chapter in life and moving into the next, this information can become confusing and overwhelming.

Members who are nearing retirement can rest easy knowing there is help available on the other side.

The 86th Airlift Wing Retiree Activities Office is a one-stop shop to help retirees sort and receive information and assistance. The office offers forums and information fairs to keep retirees up to date on current processes and information.

“Our office is designed to support any issues retirees have, to get information out to them and to serve as a focal point between the commanders and retiree community for issues that are pertinent to both,” said Luis de Andrade, RAO director. “Retirees are a vital part of the community, and especially in a community like this, about 60 percent of the retiree population still works full time. The community is fairly dependent on retirees.”

The RAO can help retirees get information for almost anything they may need including healthcare or foreign driver’s licenses if they decide to retire overseas.

For members planning to retire in Germany, briefings are held at 10 a.m. quarterly on the last Thursday of that quarter month in the Ramstein Airman & Family Readiness Center conference room, Bldg. 2120.

“Folks can also just stop by for individual briefings at the RAO office,” de Andrade said. “(In the briefing) we cover all the things they need to know about retiring in Germany such as how to get a German license, the process for de-registering a vehicle in the U.S. system and getting it registered in the German system, registering oneself to live in Germany as a retiree and getting a residency permit, as well as information on customs and taxes that must be paid.”

Just as the volunteers who run the RAO have different backgrounds and skills, so do retirees. These experiences can be used to aid the 2,600 retirees in the KMC. With a corporate group benefits background, Pam Rutkowski, RAO volunteer, uses her knowledge to help retirees with managing health and welfare plans.

“I left a full-time job and wanted to find something to fill some hours, important hours at that,” Rutkowski said. “I thought it’d be a great place to volunteer because I can use some of my background to help the community.”

The RAO supports all retirees regardless of their military or civilian affiliation.

“We don’t care what color uniform you wear,” de Andrade said. “We have Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and even Coast Guard as well as (Department of Defense) civilian retirees.”

Having an RAO can be helpful when going through retirement. De Andrade said it’s important to take care of those who set the path for us, so one day in return, we’ll be taken care of.

“When you retire, you don’t leave the service,” de Andrade said. “Everything is the way it is today because the ones that came before us improved it in some way. We owe it to our retirees to pay them back.”

To contact the RAO located in the A&FRC, room 108, call 480-5486 or 06371-47-5486, or email