Military Benefits

Opportunities for re-enlistment bonuses begin to dwindle

Re-enlistment bonuses in fiscal 2015 soon will dry up for Marines in with one of 47 military occupational specialties, Corps officials announced this week.

The culling of eligible specialties will affect first-term Marines most of all. As detailed in Marine administrative message 645/14, troops specializing in 42 fields – jobs like combat videographers, helicopter mechanics and cryptologic linguists – no longer will be eligible for selective re-enlistment bonus program as of come January 10.

When the re-enlistment period for fiscal 2015 opened in July, returning first-term Marines in 106 specialties could expect bonuses, a few as much as $50,000.

Career Marines up for re-enlistment face fewer restrictions so far. Among those troops, only Marines in one of five specialties risk missing out on bonuses. That list includes fixed-wing aircraft and air frame mechanics for the F-35B.

The impending elimination of re-enlistment bonuses for Marines in those specialties stems from their popularity. Less than six months into the re-enlistment period, the Corps has reached its retention goals for each of those MOSs, according to the administrative message.

The selective re-enlistment bonus program is one of several tools available to officials tasked with reshaping the size and capability of the Corps. After swelling to 202,000 personnel during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the service is expected to shrink to as few as 174,000 Marines by 2017.

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