Marines with upcoming retirement or separation dates can request a service extension to buy extra time to properly transition from military life if COVID-19 is throwing a wrench into plans to leave the Corps, according to Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
The option to extend service to buy a few extra weeks or months is open to all Marines in any occupational field with an upcoming retirement or end of active service date, Maj. Craig Thomas, a Marine spokesman explained to Marine Corps Times.
For enlisted Marines separating, a lieutenant colonel or colonel in command can grant an extension to June 30, Thomas explained. To extend beyond June, career planners need to contact Manpower Management Enlisted Assignments, and the Marine can be extended through the remainder of the fiscal year.
Deployed Marines who may be stuck overseas due to travel bans or COVID-19 complications can voluntarily extend through the fiscal year if the deployment return date shifts past the Marine’s EAS date, according to Thomas. Unit commanders have the authority to approve the extension.
Marines set to retire can contact Manpower Management Separation and Retirement and have their approved retirement date adjusted within the fiscal year, Thomas explained.
Marine officers should contact their monitors, Thomas said.
Marines can also request service limitation waivers if their EAS or retirement takes them up to service limits, Thomas explained.
The extension will assist Marines in completing necessary separation tasks such as medical appointments or attending and seeking Defense Department transition programs that may be closed or scaled back due to COVID-19 issues, Thomas said.
“In an effort to keep faith with Marines during these times, M&RA is working with those who have an End of Active Service or retirement date in the next few months and would like additional time to help them complete their transition requirements or carry out separation plans,” Thomas explained.
Hundreds of Marines are stuck overseas in Italy, Spain and Norway as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Defense Department instituted a 60-day travel ban for service-members deployed overseas. The stop-movement order is impacting roughly 90,000 troops.
It’s also impacting overseas training exercises and scheduled rotations have been suspended. The service extensions will assist some Marines who may be overseas and cannot properly check out of the Corps in time before their EAS date hits.
“As the challenges presented by COVID-19 continue to unfold, M&RA will continue passing updates to keep Marines and families informed on key personnel and policy issues,” Thomas said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.