CAMP FOSTER, Japan — When Marines near their end of active service date and begin contemplating re-enlistment, there are many concerns that need to be addressed before an informed decision can be made.
Force drawdowns and cutbacks have increased the number of factors influencing a Marine’s decision.
Career planners are available to help Marines address these questions and make informed decisions during what can be an extremely stressful process of making a life-altering decision.
For those Marines who do choose to remain in the ranks, unit retention specialists are available with up-to-date information and clear answers.
“No Marine will be denied the opportunity to submit a re-enlistment package,” said Gunnery Sgt. Chris A. Pool, career planner for Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “The Marine Corps is still looking to retain knowledgeable and experienced Marines and is continuing to offer opportunities and benefits to those who choose to continue serving.”
Choosing to re-enlist not only benefits the Marine re-enlisting, but the Marine Corps as a whole, according to Sgt. Pedro S. Obando, career planner for Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
“Opportunities are still available for re-enlistment. It is essential to retain the knowledge and experience we have from Marines who have served through the years,” said Obando. “Retaining these experienced Marines will actually be more cost efficient than recruiting and training new Marines.”
One of the common factors influencing a Marine’s decision to re-enlist is the availability of promotion opportunities, according to Master Sgt. Marcus L. Cook, career planner for MCIPAC.
“March 1 is the first time since May 2012 that infantry (riflemen) corporals have been promoted to sergeant via the normal cutting score,” said Cook. “This year, Headquarters Marine Corps is making every effort possible to ensure all Marines have the opportunity to be promoted. Not everyone will be promoted, but previously closed doors will be open.”
Another common misconception career planners are battling is the thought that Marines who are not in the top tier will be less likely to be selected for promotion and re-enlistment, according to Cook.
“For first-term Marines looking to re-enlist, we go off of the tier system,” said Cook. “Not every Marine is going to be in tier one, some may be tier two or tier three, but this does not mean they are ineligible for re-enlistments or promotions.”
There is no cost to submit a re-enlistment package, and if approved, the Marine can still decide not to re-enlist, according to Pool.
“Submitting a re-enlistment package opens avenues for everyone,” said Pool. “Everyone should have multiple plans in place. Submitting a package, regardless of the outcome of the package, gives Marines the opportunity to transition from one plan to another.”
Although it shouldn’t be the only reason to re-enlist, some Marines have been discouraged from re-enlisting due to the misconception there is a lack of re-enlistment bonuses, according to Obando.
“Select military occupational specialties still offer re-enlistment bonuses,” said Obando. “There are also opportunities for first-term Marines to lateral move to a different MOS or serve in a special duty assignment, such as Marine security guard or recruiting duty.”
Ultimately, there are still options available for Marines contemplating re-enlistment. To find out more, Marines can meet with their career planners.
“The Marine Corps is not out to use and then discard you,” said Cook. “We like to take care of our Marines in every way possible. We do not want Marines to get discouraged thinking they will never be promoted or are ineligible for re-enlistment. Through all the drawdowns and cuts being made, we are trying to shape this fighting force and make sure it is the right force that our country needs.”
This work, Corps seeks to retain Marines, encourages re-enlistments, by Matthew Manning, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.