Photo Information

Staff Sgt. Scott R. Beebe, right, a former drill instructor, talks with Sgt. Johnathan B. Davis, left, and Cpl. Cory J. Vore, center, about the possibilities of being a drill instructor after the first-term alignment plan brief at the station theater May 11.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

Retention specialists educate Marines on opportunities

26 May 2011 | Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing career planners held a first-term alignment plan brief May 11 in the station theater for Marines who must decide whether or not to re-enlist during fiscal year 2012.

The career planners educated the Marines on how they can become successful in life, whether they make a career out of the Marine Corps or go back to civilian life.

“The importance of the brief is to inform all of the first-term Marines, so they can make a sound decision on whether they re-enlist or not, and if they re-enlist, see if they want to stay in their same military occupational specialties or branch out and try something new,” said Sgt. Jason W. Piliaris, the career retention specialist for Marine Attack Squadron 223. “We need good, well-rounded Marines if you really want to stay in. Do good on your fitness tests, rifle range and be competitive.”

Like any job, Marines will have to compete for the job opening by making themselves appear as accomplished as possible. Every military occupational specialty is assigned a number of boat spaces, or re-enlistment opportunities, and Marines will compete for these boat spaces regardless if they are making a lateral move or remaining in their original MOS. The Marines who appear most qualified will get the opportunity to reenlist.

Previously, boat spaces would go on a first-come-first-served basis. There was a 30-day period to turn in applications, and commanding generals did not sign waivers. Today, there is a 90-day re-enlistment period beginning July 1 and ending Sept. 30. Boat spaces will go to those who are most qualified, and commanding generals can sign waivers if a Marine did not meet all of the requirements.

During the brief, the career retention specialists covered a wide array of re-enlistment factors including re-enlistment prerequisites, incentives, lateral moves and the benefits of re-enlisting.

The Marine Corps is currently comprised of about 202,000 Marines and continuing to maintain its manpower numbers, according to Maj. Shawn D. Haney, officer in charge of Manpower and Reserve Affairs Public Affairs Office at Headquarters Marine Corps. Not all Marines who wish to reenlist will be able to, creating a competitive environment. A set of standards has been put in place for Marines to know who is eligible and who is not.

A Marine cannot have any alcohol-related incidents with vehicles, involvement with illegal drugs, issues preventing deployment, have been assigned to an alcohol treatment program in the past year, no more than two non-judicial punishments, and no court martial or civilian court convictions. To re-enlist, a Marine must meet physical and medical requirements, have a minimum proficiency and conduct marks of 4.0/4.0, first-term Marines must be a high school graduate or hold a general equivalency degree, and must win a first-term alignment plan ‘boat space’ within the fiscal year that the Marine ends his active service. If some of these requirements are not met, the Marines may be able to apply for a commanding general’s waiver, according to Marine Administrative message 1040.31.

Marines also have the option of making a lateral move to another MOS. Marines desiring to laterally move can begin submitting applications Dec. 1. However, if that specialty is full of Marines re-enlisting and not accepting lateral moves, then most or all of the boat spaces can be filled before Dec. 1, making the move impossible for most. Conversely, jobs needing more manpower quickly can receive applications at any time instead of waiting for Dec. 1. All re-enlistment requirements apply to lateral moves as well. The training for the new MOS must be completed successfully, or the Marine could be sent back to his original MOS field.

For those Marines who meet the requirements, there can be a lot of benefits of re-enlisting. Re-enlistees can have a choice of duty station, receive 60 extra bonus points on their composite score, go to a special-duty assignment such as Marine security guard, drill instructor or recruiter, and possibly go to special training schools like jump school at Fort Benning, Ga. Monetary bonuses can be available to Marines re-enlisting into certain specialties. Selective re-enlistment bonuses are dependent on rank and MOS.

According to the specialists, the re-enlistment conditions are unique for every Marine. Any Marine hoping to re-enlist should speak with his career retention specialist often so he knows exactly where he stands.

“I feel a lot better informed after this brief,” said Sgt. Johnathan B. Davis, an AV-8B Harrier airframes mechanic with Marine Attack Squadron 231. “I talked to my career retention specialist a lot, and this helped give me the little extra edge over others. Hopefully, I’ll spend three years as a drill instructor and then come back to the fleet as a staff sergeant and be a division chief for VMA-231.”

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point