News: Marines receive insight during monitor visit
Story by Lance Cpl. Victor Arriaga
Marine Corps military occupational specialty enlisted assignment monitors visited Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Dec. 5 and 6 to give Marines an opportunity to ask questions about their occupational fields.
The monitors gave presentations and conducted one-on-one interviews with Marines in person or on webcams to discuss subjects like career changes, reenlistments, special duty assignments and permanent change of duty stations.
“The most common question we get from Marines is ‘What are my options?’” said Master Gunnery Sgt. David M. Ray, a manpower management enlisted assignment monitor. “We like to sit with them and let them know all about their reenlistment options as well as special duty assignments that are available in the Corps.”
Monitor visits provide commands with information pertaining to enlisted assignments and help support command retention. Additionally, the visits allow enlisted Marines an opportunity to discuss future assignments with the primary MOS monitors.
“A lot of times Marines find it easier to understand something when someone is sitting with them and speaking to them like human beings,” said Ray. “When it comes to things like this, the Marines want to speak with someone with senior leadership that can get them as much information as possible. The monitors do this kind of thing 365 days a year so we feel we are better able to get the Marines’ questions answered. ”
Sgt. Zachary J. Offhaus, a flight equipment noncommissioned officer in charge with Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 252, sat down with his monitor to find out what next steps he should take in his career.
“I actually learned a lot about special duty assignments and what kind of direction I can head to in order to succeed,” said Offhaus. “It’s also nice to be able to get an idea of what to expect later on in my career.”
As the Marine Corps begins to decrease in size, Marines begin to wonder how this affects their careers, said Ray.
“The Marine Corps getting smaller is not necessarily affecting PCSs, but it is affecting lateral moves because now I have less boat spaces to fill compared to previous years,” said Ray. “It also is affecting first-term retention because less boat spaces also means less Marines being able to stay in. This is making it harder for that first-term Marine to get a spot.”
Because of downsizing and reduced boat spaces, it’s more important than ever for Marines to begin planning for their future within their MOS and get as early of a start as possible.
According to Ray, career Marines can submit for a lateral move at any time, but a first-term alignment plan Marine can submit no earlier than December of the fiscal year of his or her last year of active service.
“We have to afford the people who currently hold that MOS the opportunity to submit a (reenlistment) request,” said Ray. “The window for those packages is from July, for tier one and two Marines, and starting Oct. 1 for tier three and four Marines. We then work those packages and allow the Marines to submit all the way up to December. Starting Dec. 1, we open up those MOSs, that still have first term alignment plan boat spaces for lateral moves.”
Information is available to Marines outside of monitor visits throughout the year.
“The fiscal year guidelines for career retention are pushed out early for Marines, so I strongly recommend Marines read that,” said Ray. “Career retention specialists should have that information for you. That brief is geared toward informing senior leadership what the FTAP guidelines are. They discuss staffing requirements and why we do what we do.”
Information on career retention guidelines for fiscal 2014 can be found in Marine Administrative Message 315/13.
“It was nice to be able to get more information for my career,” said Offhaus. “I also learned that if I PCS too late then I won’t have a chance at getting a special duty assignment which is what I want to do. I definitely got what I came here for.”