Those who serve in the military for at least twenty years are eligible for retirement from the Air Force. That is one of the earliest retirements around. All Airmen are also eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
For every year of service the military member earns 2.5% towards his retirement. At twenty years, he is at a 50% level (2.5% x 20). This means he is eligible for 50% of his base pay. Many now fall under the High-3 calculation where the highest three years of pay are averaged. The service member then receives 50% of this for the remainder of his life. Through the Survivor Benefits Plan, dependents may continue to receive a portion of the pay even after the military member’s death.