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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 32
AUG 18 - 25, 2019
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OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

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Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Marines in These In-Demand Fields Can Take Home Big Bonuses in 2020

Jul 15, 2019
by Gina Harkins
The Marine Corps is throwing big money at grunts, aviation maintainers, air traffic controllers and others in high-demand fields who agree to another enlistment.

Enlisted Marines in dozens of military occupational specialties will qualify for re-enlistment bonuses in fiscal 2020, which starts Oct. 1. Those bonuses run between $6,400 and $57,000; Marines in some jobs can stack on lucrative "kickers" or lateral-move incentives that top out at $40,000.

"Retaining our experienced and qualified Marines remains one of the Commandant's highest priorities," the bonus announcement states. "Achieving retention goals is vital for shaping and sustaining the Marine Corps' enlisted force."

This year's "kicker" programs target Marines in these categories: those who re-enlist early; those who agree to another term in aviation maintenance or air traffic control; and squad leaders who re-up. Marines are eligible for only one "kicker" bonus each.

Last year, more than 3,500 Marines took advantage of the "kickers," including 1,544 who pocketed an extra $10,000 for re-enlisting early, said Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. This year, Marines in eligible communities must submit their re-enlistment packages between July 5 and Sept. 30 to rate the extra $8,000 re-enlistment kicker.

"After 30 Sep 19, this Early Reenlistment Kicker will expire," the message states.

A first-term lance corporal serving as an infantry Marine who re-enlists early, for example, would receive a $14,400 bonus. That would include the base selective re-enlistment bonus, or SRB, of $6,400, plus the $8,000 early re-up kicker.

The $40,000 lateral-move incentive is for first-term Marines who agree to a six-year term in one of 14 hard-to-fill jobs. Those MOSs include: counterintel, imagery analysis, recon, critical skills operator, psychological operations, cyber, explosive ordnance technician, cryptologic cyberspace analyst, signals intelligence/electronic warfare analyst, special intelligence system administrators, Marine Corps Community Services, contract specialists and criminal investigative division agent.

Marines who make a lateral move will rate that bonus on top of the standard SRB for that MOS. Some can pocket up to $90,000 between the two bonuses.

More than 425 Marines took a lat-move bonus in 2019, Carlock said. Another 846 Marines took "kicker" bonuses for taking on a special-duty assignment, or SDA, such as drill instructor or recruiter, in 2019.

This year, the Marine Corps increased its SRB budget to $145 million from $136 million. This year, Carlock said about $20 million of that will go toward SDA incentive pay since no "kickers" are being offered in that category.

This year's incentives reflect an ongoing effort to invest in infantry Marines -- a priority in the fiscal 2020 budget. Reconnaissance Marines, special operators and explosive ordnance disposal technicians are eligible for up to $90,000 for a six-year enlistment.

Infantry Marines in several MOSs who move into the squad leader development program can also pocket up to $57,000.

Bonuses for air traffic controllers, cyber Marines and contract specialists and some other fields reflect continued competition the service faces with the private sector in retaining those Marines. Officials recently announced aviation bonuses topping out at $280,000 for continued service as the military competes with commercial airliners for pilots.

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Photo caption: U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Johnathan Davis, an AV-8B Harrier airframe mechanic assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 266 (Reinforced), 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), performs general maintenance on his aircraft on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), at sea. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Christopher Q. Stone)


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