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The Few, The Proud......the Lucky???....

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  • The Few, The Proud......the Lucky???....

    More money, fewer needs

    Corps to offer up to $90,000 in SRBs, but boatspace caps will limit re-up numbers
    By C. Mark Brinkley - [email protected]
    Posted : July 21, 2008

    The Corps doesn’t need as many people in 2009, but it’s offering good money for the ones it wants. Eligible Marines who re-enlist in fiscal 2009 can get up to $90,000 in bonus cash, $10,000 more than was dangled this year. But despite the push to add thousands of new bodies and grow the overall end strength to 202,000 Marines by the end of fiscal 2011, fiscal 2009 will be a leaner re-enlistment year.
    To qualify for the cash the Corps is putting on the table, you’ll need to move quickly.
    Bonuses are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and are not unlimited.
    The new bonuses, outlined in Marine administrative message 370/08, are available to Marines who re-enlist on or after Oct. 1, 2008, including:
    • Any active-duty, first-term Marines whose contracts end between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009.
    • Any active-duty career Marines with contracts expiring between Oct. 1, 2009 and Sept. 30, 2010 who re-enlists within 365 days of the expiration date.
    • Any former active-duty Marines who return to active duty with less than four years of broken service time between contracts.
    “Retaining our combat-experienced Marines, and their combat experienced leaders, is one of the commandant’s highest priorities and is a crucial component of achieving the future 202K Marine Corps,” Marine officials said in the message announcing the bonuses.
    But in fiscal 2009, the competition for retention will tighten up, thanks to the return of “boatspace caps.” Boatspace is Marine-speak for the specific number of re-enlistment opportunities in any MOS. Limits are set based on the needs of the Corps.
    Translation: get in early or risk being left out.
    Other re-up highlights include:
    • First-term Marines whose contracts expire in fiscal 2009 can re-enlist immediately, under the fiscal 2008 program amounts. Rates for fiscal 2009 will not go into effect until Oct. 1, but the change allows some Marines to get a head start on their peers in competitive job specialties.
    • Flat-rate SRBs will again replace the old SRB multiple system. These pre-calculated amounts show the bonus authorized, based on the Marine’s grade on the date of re-enlistment and whether the Marine re-enlists for at least 48 months of additional obligated service. That four-year window is measured from the expiration of the Marine’s current contract to the expiration of the new contract.
    • In certain specialties, sergeants and below may be eligible to receive an additional $25,000 “kicker” bonus, designed to keep certain Marines working in the operating forces. To get the kicker, eligible Marines must agree to remain in the operating forces for two more years beyond the date they were scheduled to rotate to a new command. The bad news: sergeants already selected for promotion to staff sergeant are ineligible.
    Only 18 specialties — think infantry, linguistics and other war-related jobs —are open for the kicker. Lat-movers are not eligible.
    Former Marines who want to come back to the Corps are eligible for bonus money in many situations. Full rules for broken-service re-enlistments and bonus payouts are available in the admin message.
    New this year

    Even with tougher competition, re-up bonus rates continue to grow. The maximum re-up bonus for 2009 is $90,000, up $10,000 from this year’s max.
    Combinations of re-up bonuses and kickers may even exceed $90,000 — for instance, a qualified recon sergeant who agrees to stay for two more years would technically qualify for $99,500 — but nothing more than $90,000 will be paid out.
    Stellar first-term Marines who have been promoted quickly and no longer operate in their original specialties qualify for the bonus of their prior MOS if one is available. For instance, a grunt who made it to staff sergeant in his initial enlistment — changing from an 0311 infantryman to an 0369 infantry unit leader — is eligible for the 0311 bonus, and will count as an 0311 boatspace.
    That junior staff sergeant will be eligible for a $38,500 re-up bonus in fiscal 2009, versus $34,500 for an older 0369 staff sergeant on a second enlistment. However, neither Marine would get the additional $25,000 kicker available to many grunts. That’s reserved for sergeants and below.
    Another 2009 quirk: career gunnery sergeants with 10 to 14 years of service — known as Zone C — could lose some re-up cash if they are promoted to first sergeant. Bonuses are reserved for those serving in their primary MOS. Again, it’s all about the needs of the Corps, officials say.
    The Corps historically has little problem keeping first sergeants and sergeants major. Master sergeants are different, and “could possibly have a shortage in that MOS,” said Capt. Patrick Haines, first-term alignment plan officer for the enlisted retention section at Marine Corps headquarters.
    That means waiting to find out which path you were selected to travel before you re-up could cost up to $83,000 in bonus money, depending on your MOS. But Zone C gunnys who roll the dice and re-enlist in advance of the list will get the money, even if they are later selected for first sergeant. Master sergeant-selects remain eligible for the money either way.
    Another change for fiscal 2009 affects certain Marines with 14 to 20 years of service, Zones D and E. For fiscal 2008, all were eligible for a blanket $10,000 bonus.
    Next year, however, bonuses will be specifically tied to rank and MOS targets.
    For all Marines, deciding whether to re-enlist now at the fiscal 2008 rates, or later under the 2009 plan, depends on several individual situations. For instance, a Marine preparing to rotate out of a tax-free zone might make more money by re-enlisting now at the fiscal 2008 rates and cutting Uncle Sam out of the equation, versus waiting until Oct. 1 and paying taxes on the fiscal 2009 rates.
    That said, “Once the mission is achieved for any given [primary MOS], the SRB for that PMOS may be discontinued,” Marine officials said in the message announcing the overall retention plan, Marine administrative message 367/08. “Marines are advised that delaying their decision to re-enlist could adversely affect their ability to receive an SRB payment.”
    Lateral moves

    If your MOS closes before you decide, or if there’s no money available for your job this year, don’t fret. Marines with 10 years of service or less can switch jobs and possibly land a lat-move bonus.
    Such bonuses are paid upon successful completion of the new occupational training and awarding of the new MOS, however, according to the message.
    One drawback: If you wash out of training, the Corps can “re-designate” you to an MOS of their choosing, and keep the SRB cash.
    Rules for lateral moves in infantry, MV-22 Osprey or a variety linguist jobs are outlined specifically in the message.
    First-termers requesting lateral moves may begin submitting requests immediately. Marines moving into signals intelligence (26XX), ground electronics maintenance (28XX) and electronics maintenance (59XX) must sign 60-month contracts, because of the lengthy MOS schools required.
    The Corps also needs more reconnaissance Marines, but first-termers whose contracts end after fiscal 2009 will not be considered because of space limitations at the MOS school. Priority for lat-moves goes to fiscal 2009 first-termers.
    Qualified Marines may select up to three lat-move eligible MOS choices. Those Marines who only want to be considered for a single, specific MOS — such as a musician (5524), open to lat-moves and paying up to $61,000 in bonus money — must say so.

    ...And shephards we shall be. For thee my lord, for thee. Power hath descended forth from thy hand. That our feet may swiftly carry out thy command. So we shall flow a river forth to thee. And teeming with souls shall it ever be. E Nomini Patri, E Fili, E Spiritu Sancti.

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