Reserve Marines who are scheduled to leave the service this fiscal year can now depart up to four and a half months early, according to manpower officials.
Under a newly approved revision to the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Early Release Program, all first-term enlisted reservists with a mandatory drill stop date — the reserve equivalent of an end of active service date — this fiscal year can apply to leave the service anytime before Oct. 1.
Prior to the release of Marine administrative message 242/13, signed May 10, Marines could only leave the SMCR 90 days early. That time has been lengthened as part of a cost-savings measure to save money on manpower, said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Manpower and Reserve Affairs spokeswoman aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. The program is not tied to the drawdown that will cull about 20,000 Marines from the active force by 2017, she added.
“We’ve expanded eligibility to those with an MDSD ... in order to allow potentially more Marines to be able to take the opportunity for an early out, which would increase cost savings,” she said.
Marines released under the program “will be considered to have completed their drilling obligation and will remain in the [Individual] Ready Reserve for the remainder of their military service obligation,” the MARADMIN reads. IRR Marines return to their regular civilian lives, but are required to maintain uniforms and stay within physical standards in case they are recalled for active duty. They must also report for occasional muster.
This year to date, 188 Marines have taken advantage of the early out, and manpower officials hope more will follow. There is no cap on the number of Marines who can take an early out in a given year.
In addition to being first-term enlisted Marines, those hoping to leave the SMCR early must have the endorsement of their battalion or squadron commanding officer. Marines requesting an early release also may request an inter-service transfer to the reserve component of any other service.
Marines are ineligible for an early out under the SMCR Early Release Program if:
* They are being released under another early out program.
* They are subsequent-term SMCR reservists.
* They have previously served in the active Marine Corps.
* They are currently mobilized or on active duty.
* They are awaiting administrative or medical separation or have an unexcused absence within the past year.
Marines in receipt of an enlistment bonus are eligible for this program and will not have their bonus recouped, although those in receipt of any other incentives are ineligible for an early out.
To apply for an early out Marines must submit a request for a new MDSD via an administrative action form. For full details, refer to the online MARADMIN.