Incentives not automatic, leaders warn

31 May 2007 | Mr. Art Powell

At a time when the Marine Corps is growing and there is a need for new recruits, every current Marine is eligible for a $10,000 reenlistment bonus, if they qualify.

“For the Marines to take advantage of the incentives out there, they have to have their training up to date, be within the height and weight standards, and meet all the requirements,” said Sgt. Maj. Randall Kennedy, sergeant major, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.

“We have to make sure that we afford the Marines an opportunity to get their training, that they’re getting their professional military education done, and that we’re sitting down with them and talking about what it is they want to pursue from a career standpoint. See where they are now and ensure we point them in the right direction so they can take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves,” said Kennedy.

He pointed out that if a Marine has a score on any item that can’t be waived, “Then guess what? They can’t get an incentive.”

Kennedy said it’s important that Marines be helped, if needed, to become qualified for incentives.

“If I’m counseling a Marine about a possible move, and see that’s he’s not qualified, then I need to build a regimen so that I get him into a school or training where he can get his scores up and qualify to apply for a career move or an incentive,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy added there are cases aboard MCLB Albany of Marines who want to reenlist and take advantage of incentives, but can’t because they don’t meet the standards necessary to qualify.

“As a leader who has Marines in these programs, I have to take an active interest to make sure we’re doing everything we can to get them back within the standards, so they can remain in the formation, the fold, the family, and then take advantage of the incentives. It’s basically taking care of Marines, that’s what it boils down to,” Kennedy explained.

Specialists within the base career retention office say the current bonuses represent a change from previous years. 

“The incentives are getting better. In the past, only the (military occupation specialties) that rated a bonus got a bonus. But this year (for fiscal year 2007), every Marine qualifies for a $10,000 Assignment Incentive Program bonus if they’re eligible to reenlist for at least four years. Nothing less than four years and they can’t be at service limitations for rank progression,” said Sgt. Esme Holliday, MCLB Albany base career retention specialist.

And making rank within the prescribed time-line isn’t the only thing Marines must do to qualify for the reenlistment bonus.

“Also, in order to qualify, a Marine must be within the height and weight standards, they must be able to pass a full (physical fitness test), no partials. For corporal and below, they must have at least a 43 or 40 mark on proficiency and conduct, not more than two non- judicial punishments and no DUIs,” Holliday said. She added that the DUIs could be waived, but more paperwork would have to be done.

Other incentives currently available include duty station preferences. Even though there’s a great need for Marines to deploy, many Marines request specific assignments but monitors sometimes assign them to deployable units. But Marines do have the option of trying to pick where they go next, added Holliday. 

Shifting jobs is another option. Marines can make a lateral MOS move if they are qualified. For some, it requires testing and physicals. Such a move, said Holliday, is best done near the end of a Marines first term of service.

School seat incentives exist for jump school.

More incentive programs are expected to be announced for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. 

“Additional incentives are expected because there’s a need for more Marines since the force is growing. We need people and we want more people to remain in the service. So, we’re reaching out to meet their needs and draw them back,” said Holliday. 

For more information on these topics, contact Holliday at 639-5138, or go on-line to and click the “MARADMINS” link under the “Quick Links” column.
Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany