AUSA Family Forum V: Transitioning to Veteran or Retiree Status – What Spouses Need to Know

Maj. Crystal Boring, Communications Director, U.S. Army Soldier for Life

“We’ve been doing this since 1955—that’s a long time!” said Mr. John Radke, Chief, Army Retirement Services (RSO) at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting’s Family Forum V on October 14, 2015. Family Forum V provided information to Army spouses on what they can expect when their Soldier transitions out of the military.

For six decades, RSO has supported retiring Soldiers and their Families, assisting them throughout their transition and ensuring that they remain strong as Soldiers for Life, always connected to their Army family.

"There are almost 1.2 million Retired Soldiers and surviving spouses,” said Mr. Radke. RSO’s mission is to prepare Soldiers and their Families for retirement and to assist surviving spouses. “It’s about taking care of people,” Mr. Radke added.

It’s also personal. Mr. Radke is a Retired Soldier himself, and he and his wife found solace and support in Army RSO when he went through the process in 2000.

“Retirement is absolutely a Family decision and process,” Mr. Radke said. “We encourage spouses to attend pre-retirement briefings and for Soldiers to share pre-retirement guides and other information with their Family,” he added. This information was described as “critically important in a recent survey of Retired Soldiers.

Soldiers should start gathering information and planning their military retirement 12-24 months before they submit the application for retirement. Retiring Soldiers should visit their Retirement Services Officer for information on briefing dates, times and locations.

“Retirement is a process, not an event,” Mr. Radke said at Family Forum V. His advice for all Soldiers and Families, whether they are retiring or transitioning out of the Army: “plan early!”

After three years or 30, every Soldier will one day take off their uniform for the last time. For sixty years the U.S. Army Retirement Services Office (RSO) has supported those Soldiers and Families that retire from service, helping them remain strong as Soldiers for Life. Join Soldier for Life in celebrating RSO’s 60th Anniversary on social media:,, #RSO60Years.