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Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Hicks, left, a data systems administrator with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Communications, is a First-Term Alignment Plan Marine with two years left on contract, visits the wing career planner’s office to learn more information about the Security+ Certificate, reenlistment requirements for his primary military occupational specialty and potential incentives associated with reenlistment during his initial interview, June 8. Currently within 3rd MAW, approximately 505 FTAP Marines have approved and/or executed reenlistments.

Photo by Master Sgt. Christine Polvorosa

This boatspace is taken

11 Jun 2018 | Master Sgt. Christine Polvorosa 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing

For all those Marines waiting until the last minute to submit a package for reenlistment, don’t be surprised to hear “boatspaces are taken.”

“[First-Term Alignment Plan] reenlistments are heavily driven by the boatspaces allocated to each [primary military occupational specialty],” said Gunnery Sgt. Clifford W. Foster, assistant wing career planner for the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing.  “Once a PMOS has executed all of their allocated boatspaces, FTAP Marines who are otherwise eligible for reenlistment will have their requests administratively closed with comments stating to apply for a lateral move or request a Quality Marine Identification (QMI) boatspace endorsement by the first commanding general in their chain of command.”

What this means is FTAP Marines can do one of two things: (1) request a lateral move into an open lateral move eligible MOS that they are fully qualified for or; (2) request the QMI boatspace, again endorsed by the first commanding general in their chain of command.

For Subsequent Term Alignment Plan reenlistments, there’s a little more flexibility with boatspace allocations.  Normally an STAP Marine will not be disapproved if they are eligible and recommended for reenlistment.  However, there’s always the possibility they may not be retained based upon end-strength limitations.

STAP Marines have limited lateral move options.  If they are disapproved for reenlistment and subsequently something in their record changes for the better, a second request can be submitted but will require an endorsement by a commanding general.

A trend that career planners often encounter “is ensuring the changes in the reenlistment process are understood by all,” added Foster.  “Senior enlisted are the toughest “nuts to crack” as the processes are vastly different now than from when they were all FTAP Marines.”

Again, this is where end-strength limitations may impact retention of STAP Marines.

“Another challenge is ensuring all parties involved with individual requests understand the importance of a quick turnaround; Marines waiting for a medical or dental appointment for weeks when there is a submission deadline on the horizon can be frustrating,” explained Foster.

Currently within 3rd MAW, approximately 505 FTAP Marines have approved and/or executed reenlistments, and 386 STAP Marines have approved and/or executed reenlistments.

To break that down even further, of those who have reenlisted within 3rd MAW, tier standings are as follows: Tier I Marines consisted of 26%, Tier II Marines consisted of 43% and Tier III consisted of 29%.  Of note, Foster emphasized that “Tier III Marines are 50% of the entire population and should not be looked at as subpar performers.”

While not every PMOS has the same boatspace allocations or criteria for retention, what Marines need to understand is those who are approved for reenlistment are going to be the best and most qualified to fill that PMOS’s requirements.

So whether staying in or getting out, it might be a good idea to get smart on the process of reenlisting, PMOS requirements and incentives, and projected boatspaces so Marines can keep their options open. 

“I have two years left on my contract but wanted to find out more information on the Security+ Certificate,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Hicks, a data systems administrator with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Communications.  “Having this certificate will benefit me whether I’m in the Marine Corps or the civilian sector, but I do plan on reenlisting.”

The reenlistment process can be challenging for some so the career planners recommend submitting a package as an alternative plan in any event.

“I would highly recommend to any Marine who is not sure if they desire to stay, to submit a reenlistment request to [Headquarters Marine Corps]” said Foster.  “At the very least, it can be their plan B in the event any plans to separate from the Marine Corps fall through.”

Now for those Marines submitting for reenlistment in a PMOS that rates a bonus, those packages are awaiting approval due to lack of funds. 

“Continuing Resolution can become an issue at the end of each fiscal year,” said Foster.  “Towards the end of every September when [Selective Reenlistment Bonus Program] funds begin to dry up, [Manpower Management Enlisted Assignments] cannot exceed a specified dollar amount so any reenlistment that has a bonus attached to it may not be approved until Congress signs the CR.  Reenlistments that do not have a bonus attached are not affected by the CR.”

As the old saying goes “no one cares more about your career than you,” so it would behoove all Marines to educate themselves on the retention process; find out more information on PMOS requirements, incentives, the SRBP and open lateral move eligible MOSs.  Schedule a visit with the command career planner today for more information.

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