With force reductions coming, some Marines may face uncertain futures

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 01:37 PM.

In addition to the involuntary separations, the Corps has created three additional programs in an attempt to entice Marines to leave their ranks.

The voluntary separations program is designed for Marines who have served between six and 15 years. It gives those Marines the opportunity to voluntarily leave the Corps, give up their retirement benefits and be paid a lump sum of around $98,000 upon separation, Hardy said.

The early retirement program targets Marines with 15 to 20 years of service on their contracts to retire before they would normally be eligible and keep the retirement benefits, but only receive 32 percent of the full monthly retirement pay, in addition to a lump sum upon separation.

The last program, called the Voluntary Enlisted Early Release Program, is for young Marines who are still on their first contract and it allows them to leave the Corps up to a year before their original contract expiration date. They will not receive any retirement benefits, but can keep their basic Department of Veterans Affairs benefits and the G.I. Bill.

The Corps has said they hope to achieve as much of the reduction in forces as possible through voluntary separations, but involuntary separation programs, like the new 10-year requirement to reach staff sergeant, and involuntary early retirement boards that will mainly be directed at officers, are also in place.

Whether the separation is voluntary or involuntary, those who leave the Corps as a result of the drawdown will receive transition assistance, and most will receive some form of separation pay.

"We don’t put anybody out with nothing," Hardy said.



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