Some company-grade officers from any component who fill certain Reserve billets are going to cash in on $20,000 bonuses next year. In return, they will have to stay in those billets for at least three years, under guidelines laid out for fiscal year 2016. That incentive is  They are part of a suite of officer bonuses announced by the  The Selected Marine Corps Reserve  for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.'s recently announced suite of officer Reserve bonuses for fiscal year FY16 means select company-grade officers could take home up to $20,000 for agreeing to fill specific empty Reserve billets for at least three years.

The incentive programs include:

  • $10,000 for company-grade officer in one of 11 military occupational specialties under the Unit Officer Affiliation Bonus.
  • $10,000 for company-grade aviation Marines under the Marine Wing Support Squadron bonus.
  • $20,000 for aviators and flight officers who possess the secondary MOS of Forward Air Controller/Air Officer under the Forward Air Controller Air Officer Affiliation Bonus.

The incentives are designed to keep the Reserve's cadre of junior officers stocked against the historical backdrop of chronic shortfalls, for which incentives have successfully whittled away in recent years. The Reserve is using the bonuses to draw enough Marines to fill about 100 billets.

"Overall, reserve unit officer staffing continues to improve year over year," said Lt. Col. Tony Licari, the Reserve Manpower Plans officer in charge. "As a result, the Marine Corps has decided to focus its incentives on chronically short MOSs, paygrades and billets in order to further improve its officer staffing."

Unit Officer Affiliation Bonus

This year, only the standard $10,000 OAB is available to company-grade officers, but it can be earned by filling an empty billet in any unit as long as it is exactly matches their rank and MOS, according to Marine administrative message 352/15, released July 20.

In all, about 75 currently open billets are eligible, according to Licari.

Those officers must hold one of the following specialties, however:

  • 0202 Marine air-ground task force intelligence officer
  • 0302 Infantry officer
  • 0303 Light-armored reconnaissance officer
  • 0407 Personnel retrieval and processing officer
  • 1802 Tank officer
  • 1803 Amphibious assault vehicle officer
  • 3404 Financial management officer
  • 4302 Public affairs officer
  • 7204 Low altitude air defense officer
  • 7220 Air traffic control officer
  • 7315 UAV mission commander

Last year, dozens of officers ((can we get a number???)) enjoyed an added perk for collected $20,000 bonuses for joining one of more than 50 billets designated as critical vacancies in in drilling units from Galveston, Texas, to Vienna, Ohio.  and were able to take home $20,000 instead. But, that incentive was dropped after this year as those billets filled.

To be eligible for the OAB, officers must currently serve as a lieutenant or captain in either the active component, SMCR, Individual Mobilization Augmentee program, or the Individual Ready Reserve.

Those currently serving in the SMCR must be within 90 days of the end of their current drilling obligation. Prior-service Marines must have received an honorable discharge and have less than a four-year break in service.

Those interested must request a bonus no later than Aug. 27, 2016.

Ineligible for the bonus are captains who have been selected for promotion to major, captains in-zone for promotion to major and lieutenants or captains who have been passed for promotion or are above-zone for promotion.

For those who do not match an open billet’s MOS in a unit they hope to join, there are lateral move opportunities. Retraining must be approved before a Marine agrees to additional service, however, and bonuses their bonus will not be paid until after graduation successfully graduating from an MOS-producing school.

Aviation Bonuses

Under the Forward Air Controller/Air Officer Affiliation Bonus, naval aviators and naval flight officers can take home $20,000 for serving with an infantry battalion, infantry regiment or an Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company as long as they have the additional MOS of Forward Air Controller/Air Officer.

About 25 billets are eligible for the bonus under the FY16 program, Licari said.

The bonus is intended to lure aviators, some of whom already enjoy good perks, into ground units where they help guide close air support and other supporting fires during combined-arms operations.

To be eligible, they must be a lieutenant, captain or major with less than four years time in grade. Ineligible are lieutenants and captains who are above zone for promotion or have been passed for promotion while in the Reserve.

For additional detail on MOS "evaluation" and "currency requirements," which ensure Marines maintain proficiency in the Forward Air Controller/Air Officer AMOS, refer to the MARADMIN available online.

Finally, Eligibility for the $10,000 Marine Wing Support Squadron bonus is identical to the OAB except that captains already selected for major are also eligible.

Under all three incentives, Marines must pay back their bonuses at a prorated amount if they fail to complete three years of service in the billet for which they received a payout. The exception is failure to complete three years of service because of being they are involuntarily transferred to the IRR or IMA due to a unit deactivation or redesignation and there is no other billet open within a reasonable commuting distance from their primary residence.

Marines interested in any of the three programs should move quickly.

"Due to budgetary constraints, incentives will be issues on a first-come/first-serve basis until funds are exhausted, or existing unit shortfalls are overcome," according to the MARADMIN.

$10,000 SMCR Officer Affiliation Bonus

Company grade officers – lieutenants through captains – in the following military occupational specialties are eligible for a $10,000 Unit Officer Affiliation Bonus in fiscal 2016, so long as they agree to three years of service in a specific empty Selected Marine Corps Reserve billet.

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