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Fewer jobs targeted to retain Marines

Jul. 10, 2012 - 05:04PM   |   Last Updated: Jul. 10, 2012 - 05:04PM  |  
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More on 2013 bonuses

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Top-dollar payouts
Bigger bonuses in 2013


The following 23 military occupational specialties had selective re-enlistment bonuses in 2012 for first-term Marines, but will not in 2013:
• 0311 Rifleman
• 0331 Machine gunner
• 0341 Mortarman
• 0351 Assaultman
• 0612 Field wireman
• 0844 Field artillery fire control man
• 2834 Satellite communications technician
• 2841 Ground radio repairman
• 4821 Career retention specialist
• 5524 Musician
• 6062 Aircraft intermediate level hydraulic/pneumatic mechanic
• 6114 Helicopter Mechanic, UH/AH-1
• 6154 Helicopter airframe mechanic, UH/AH-1
• 6252 Fixed-wing aircraft airframe mechanic, AV-8/TAV-8
• 6258 Fixed-wing aircraft airframe mechanic, F-35B
• 6283 Fixed-wing aircraft safety equipment mechanic, EA-6
• 6324 Aircraft communications/navigation/electrical/weapon systems technician, UH/AH-1
• 6414 Advanced aircraft communications/navigation systems technician, intermediate maintenance activity
• 6423 Aviation electronic microminiature/instrument and cable repair technician/IMA
• 6433 Aircraft electrical/instrument/flight control systems technician, helicopter, IMA
• 6469 Advanced automatic test equipment technician, IMA
• 6492 Aviation precision measurement equipment/calibration and repair technician, IMA
• 6694 Aviation Logistics information management and support specialist
The following 15 MOSs had selective re-enlistment bonuses in 2012 for "Zone B" Marines, those with six to 10 years of service. They will not in 2013:
• 0313 Light armored vehicle crewman
• 0369 Infantry unit leader
• 0511 Marine air ground task force planning specialist
• 0619 Wire chief
• 0629 Radio chief
• 2834 Satellite communications technician
• 2841 Ground radio repairman
• 6062 Aircraft intermediate level hydraulic/pneumatic mechanic
• 6074 Cryogenics equipment operator
• 6132 Helicopter/tiltrotor dynamic components mechanic
• 6314 Unmanned aerial vehicle avionics technician
• 6322 Aircraft communications/navigation/electrical systems technician, CH-46
• 6324 Aircraft communications/navigation/electrical/weapon systems technician, UH/AH-1
• 6332 Aircraft electrical systems technician, AV-8
• 6469 Advanced automatic test equipment technician, IMA
Source: Marine Corps

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. The Marine Corps will sharpen its focus on who gets re-enlistment bonuses in fiscal 2013, offering more money to Marines in a handful of in-demand job fields while others get nothing.

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MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. The Marine Corps will sharpen its focus on who gets re-enlistment bonuses in fiscal 2013, offering more money to Marines in a handful of in-demand job fields while others get nothing.

The plan takes into account new financial realities as the service continues to draw down from 202,100 Marines to 182,100 in 2017. The Corps has $85.7 million set aside for selective re-enlistment bonuses in fiscal 2013, down from $108 million last year and a recent high of $468.3 million in fiscal 2009, when the service was in the middle of its swift growth to 202K.

Marine officials said the decisions for 2013 were made based on the needs of the Corps and to make sure the service has enough qualified Marines in each MOS. The overall plan is outlined in Marine administrative message 357/12, released July 2.

"Our pot of money is shrinking," said Maj. Erik Hovey, who oversees bonuses here for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. "We're taking the pot of money we have, and targeting it much more carefully."

The re-enlistment season began with the publication of the MARADMIN for first-term Marines, and kicks in Oct. 1 for subsequent-term personnel. First-term Marines are encouraged to make plans as quickly as possible to improve their chances of landing a desired assignment. In addition to staying in their current job fields, they also can choose from 18 specialties that are open to lateral moves and offer substantial bonuses, several of which are at least $29,750.

The top four-year bonuses available in 2013 are $69,750 $11,000 more than in 2012. They will go to first-term sergeants re-upping as 0211 counterintelligence/human intelligence specialists or as 0372 critical skills operators in Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Both fields are open to lateral moves but Marines seeking to join them should be aware of the requirements.

"If you get an SRB because you lat-moved, you don't get that SRB until you successfully get the MOS," said Maj. Roy Azell, an officer in the enlisted plans section at Manpower. "That's specific to the lat-move. If your MOS has a bonus and you're just re-enlisting within that MOS, you get it when you sign the papers."

Ten other fields offer top-end bonuses of at least $39,750, including 2336 explosive ordnance disposal technician ($64,750), 7257 air traffic controller ($49,750) and 0321 reconnaissance man ($44,750). All three fields are open to lat-moves.

Shifting payouts

Seventy-six specialties have smaller first-term bonuses in 2013 than they did in fiscal 2012, while 18 have been targeted with increases of at least $5,000.

The MOSs with bigger bonuses this year include perennially in-demand jobs like reconnaissance and EOD technician, which saw their top-end payouts jump from $29,500 and $53,750 in 2012, respectively. However, there also are lower-profile support jobs getting substantially more in 2013 than they did in 2012. Examples include 2871 test measurement and diagnostic equipment technician, 6322 CH-46 aircraft communications/navigation/electrical systems technician and 7212 low-altitude air defense gunner.

The 2871 and 7212 specialties had no first-term bonuses in 2012, but each will offer up to $10,000 this year. Even more striking, personnel in the 6322 field will be eligible for up to $34,750 this year. That's $20,000 more than in 2012, and among the highest bonuses available across the Corps.

"Part of what we look at is to very specifically target unique MOSs," Hovey said. "In general, the things that make things difficult [in filling a job field] are the internal requirements of any given MOS, the screening process of any given MOS and competition for those skills in the outside world."

On the opposite end of the spectrum, first-term Marines in 23 specialties will be frozen out of bonuses this year after receiving one in 2012. Rifleman, mortarman, assaultman and machine gunner are among the affected specialties, but they also include fixed-wing aircraft mechanic jobs and avionics fields.

Marines farther up the food chain also will be affected. For example, Zone B personnel defined as six to 10 years of service in 15 specialties that received a bonus in 2012 will be shut out in 2013. They include 0369 infantry unit leaders, 0629 radio chiefs and 2841 ground radio repairmen.

Even MARSOC operators will see a slight cut in the money they can earn through re-up bonuses in 2013. The top-end bonus for first-term Marines re-upping as critical skills operators in 2012 was $58,750, but the Corps pro-rated the bonus to account for them being required to re-enlist for five years due the amount of training required. That meant they could earn up to $73,438, which represented an extra 25 percent on top of the four-year payout.

In 2013, the top-end bonus for MARSOC is $69,750, but the Corps has nixed pro-rated bonuses for Marines who re-up for more than four years. That means that while first-term Marines re-enlisting to become special operators will still be required to stay for five years, they'll get less than their counterparts did in 2012. The decision was made due to the overall reduced budget for re-up bonuses, Hovey said.

Cash for grunt NCOs

Even with the reduced money available, the Corps has retained one significant perk for first-term NCOs in the infantry.

First-term grunt corporals and sergeants who re-up for at least four years and agree to serve at least two of them in one unit are eligible for the Infantry Battalion NCO Initiative, a program in which Marines get a $25,000 "operational forces kicker."

In some fields, like 0311 rifleman and 0331 machine gunner, that's the only incentive available. Marines in other infantry jobs with a re-up bonus can collect both an SRB and a kicker. For example, a first-termer serving as an 0352 anti-tank missileman is eligible to receive a $5,000 bonus, plus the $25,000 kicker.

The intent is tied to Commandant Gen. Jim Amos' push to keep small-unit leadership within a battalion for a substantial period of time, improving unit cohesion. Marines don't have to stay in their current unit, but must remain in the same battalion for two years after re-upping.

The kicker was first launched as a $25,000 incentive in fiscal 2009 and 2010, but reduced to $20,000 in fiscal 2011. Marine officials decided to boost it back to $25,000 in 2012, sweetening the pot for infantrymen re-enlisting as bonuses decrease.

The guidelines mean first-term grunts in many fields stand to cash in upon re-enlistment but only if they've been promoted to corporal. Lance corporals serving as riflemen, machine gunners and a couple other fields will receive no re-up bonus in 2013, and aren't eligible for the kicker.

"Retaining our squad and section leaders within our operating forces is one of the Marine Corps' top priorities," Hovey said. "The Marine Corps uses the OPFOR kicker to target the retention of our combat-experienced small-unit leaders."

The incentive is available to Marines serving in any of the Corps' active-duty infantry battalions or light armored reconnaissance battalions, and has proven popular in the past. More than 2,000 combat veterans have stayed in the service and collected a kicker since it was adopted in fiscal 2008, Marine officials said.

In this fiscal year, 404 Marines signed on to the program and received the kicker, including 221 in the 0311 community, Marine officials said. Light armored vehicle crewman, machine gunners, mortarmen, assaultmen and anti-tank missilemen also received the incentive in smaller numbers.

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