thebiggdawg55 wrote:This question is specifically for Mr. Bateman or anyone else in this thread who is currently in any of the various military JAG programs:
The JAG websites make a big deal of the fact that you get 30 days of paid leave + 10 federal holidays every year. But what is the reality when it comes to using up your leave? Do you ever actually end up using it, or do you end up having to get cashed out for it because of deployments, assignments, or other obligations that prevent you from taking leave?
I have a friend who was an Army Airborne (not JAG, I know) who, when I brought up the 30 days of paid leave, responded by telling me he had 60 days of unused paid leave by the time he finished his 4 year stint.
Do you realistically ever use that leave up?
"Mr" Bateman? I'm a Captain; I work for a living.
At any given point, I usually have a 20 day balance +/-. I've never had an issue requesting leave as long as it did not put the office in a bind, e.g., we have 5 JAGs in our military justice division - I would not put in for leave during a time period when we'd have 1 already on Leave, 1 TDY, and 1 with a docketed court-martial as that would put an unreasonable strain on the 1 free attorney.
My leadership has been consistently solid at being pro-active in making sure we are taking leave. It does not look good for the SJA if during a staff meeting with the Wing Commander if the A1 points out that his/her officers all have a huge amount of accrued leave.
I also have that 20 days because it is easy not to take leave in the AF. Most three day weekends are met with a "family/training day" which turns them into four day weekends. We don't have to take leave if we stay within a certain geographic range, so you can get out of town without burning any leave.
Air Force JAG is as far from life in the Airborne Infantry as it gets. Don't get your military advice from service members in different career fields - stick with AF JAGs for your advice on being an AF JAG, Army JAGs for being an Army JAG, etc, etc.