Although my service (enlisted and commissioned) was with the Marine Corps, I am going to assume that the Air Force also has a number of ground, non-flying TO billets that call for pilot officers. Releasing a “desk-bound” active duty officer to return to flying is probably how they would be employed. In addition, they would probably recall much younger (relatively speaking) retirees before going for the 69 year olds (of any rank)since, if they were going to be flying, it would be alot easier to requalify them. Right now, it is just the authority to recall up to that many officers. I hope the Air Force has a specific slot identified for each retiree they intend to recall. I also hope there is some compensation provided for the significant amount of income a lot of these pilots will probably lose.
I had just retired (like 3 days before) when Desert Shield went down in 1990 and, as a logistics officer, expected to be recalled to colors. I was in a northern VA office full of recently retired Marines. After a month or so, the Commandant put the word out that the retired community should relax since not even all of the active duty and reserve Marine Corps was involved in the deployment of forces. Ultimately, as I recall, only select pilots, intel and civil affairs officers were recalled.
Interestingly, the one non-retired Marine in the office, an infantry captain with a year or two left on his obligated service, was eventually recalled and sent to Camp Lejeune to command one of the replacement infantry companies being formed for deployment. But Desert Storm was so short and one sided that he was released before even being assigned to a unit. After being released, he returned briefly to our area and used his EAS orders to arrange shipping for his household goods to Florida. He was single, had family in the state and interested in computer simulation. He went to Orlando as I recall, since it was then (and still is now) a major center for the training and simulation industry.
Twenty seven years on, I hope he enjoyed all the success he wanted.
Just goes to show that retiring on half of one’s base pay at 20 years comes with a “condition” - subject to recall to active duty at the convenience of the government. And for officers after separation into the IRR if they don’t retire.
I have a deceased distant cousin who was of my great grandfather’s generation who served from 1900 to the mid-1930s going from enlisted to getting a commission in Infantry in 1917 and finally retiring as a Major. He was recalled to active duty during WWII to fill a stateside Army billet at March Army Air Field and re-retired at the end of the war. This information is from my father, who was also assigned to March AAF during WWII.