Manpower officials are trying to encourage more junior pilots to join drilling Reserve units as they struggle to man tiltrotor, helicopter and refueling squadrons, according to details of a recently announced incentive.

Some Pilots who join specific Reserve units and agree to fly for at least three years can receive an annual payout of $15,000, totaling $45,000, according to Marine administrative message 483/154, signed Oct. 1.

"The intent is to attract transitioning active component aviators to serve with [Selected Marine Corps Reserve] units," according to the MARADMIN.

In particular, the Reserve is in need of pilots who fly MV-22 Osprey tiltrotors, or AH-1 Super Cobra and UH-1 Venom helicopters, said Lt. Col. Tony Licari, the Reserve Manpower Plans officer in charge at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.

But those who fly the KC-130J Super Hercules or CH53-E Super Stallion are also eligible if they join certain units, according to the message.

To qualify, however, pilots must agree to fill a specific empty billet at one of eight Reserve units located across the continental United States, from California to New Jersey. Additionally, pilots must be a captain or major with 16 or fewer years of commissioned service.

Officers who are already serving in one of the eight eligible Reserve units, but have fewer than 16 months of cumulative service at an eligible unit, also qualify. Those transitioning from the Active Reserve must have an end-of-active-service date no later than July 31.

Captains passed over for promotion and majors with more than 36 months time in grade are ineligible.

Marines will be required to repay the bonus at a prorated rate if they fail to meet certain obligations. Those include:

  • Failing to complete 48 drills and annual training each year unless activated for at least 90 days.
  • Failing to meet minimum annual flight time requirements.
  • Failing selection to captain twice.
  • Losing their designation as a naval aviator or being separated from the Marine Corps unless for reasons beyond their control, such as an injury that is not the result of negligence.

Interested Marines should apply between Nov. 1 and Feb. 1 to receive their first bonus payout for the first payment window on March 1. If they apply between May 1 and Aug. 1, they'll receive their first payment on  for the Sept. 1 payment window. Applications outside of those two windows will not be accepted.

The process could turn competitive if officials receive more bonus applications than there are slots.

"Due to limited availability of this bonus, as the number of applications for individual units/locations reaches or exceeds the number of available authorizations, Reserve Affairs will convene a board to select the best qualified officers to receive the bonus," according to the MARADMIN.

For additional details, refer to the full message available online.

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