Beginning of a new life

After a successful military career, many service members are looking forward to retirement and perhaps the beginning of a second career. Requesting a terminal assignment allows the retiring member to spend the last year or so of her military career at a location of her choosing, as long as there is a military installation in the area. Since the government will pay for the move of recently retired military personnel and their families, allowing a terminal assignment can save the government the cost of this relocation.

Contact your assignment officer or adjutant 24 months prior to your anticipated terminal assignment and make this officer aware of your desire to request a terminal assignment because you are preparing to retire. You will need to make this request through your chain-of-command, beginning at the lowest level appropriate for your rank and duty position.

Contact your assignment officer or adjutant 12 months prior to your current end-of-tour and submit a written intent to retire letter. This is a formal notification that you intend to retire at the completion of your next assignment, thus making your next assignment your terminal assignment. You will be asked for three assignment choices, so prepare this list ahead of time.

Contact your assignment officer or adjutant six months prior to your current end-of-tour and request information regarding your terminal assignment. Your assignment officer should be able to give you an idea of where you will be assigned by now, even when official orders have not been issued.

Request an exception to policy should you receive orders for an assignment you do not desire. In most cases, this request will be denied, but occasionally a request is approved, so it is worth the effort to make one last try.


  • Develop a close working relationship with your assignment officer, since that officer will be working with many service members and you want them to keep you in the front of their mind.


  • The needs of the service will always have priority over service members' desires, so be prepared for an assignment other than the one you request. Once you make your intent to retire officially known, you will not be able to change your request unless the needs of the service become an overriding factor.