You asked. They Answered: Future Retention Questions (On Target)

retentionIn light of the drawdown and a decrease in available boat spaces for Marines, we asked for your re-enlistment and retention questions. The experts with the End Strength and Retention Optimization Group, Lt. Col. Rory Quinn, Maj. Brad Whited and Master Gunnery Sgt. Mitch Rollins, joined us for a Facebook Town Hall to answer those questions.

Read the original blog post, then view the Facebook Town Hall questions and answers below. Or view the Town Hall post on Facebook here.


Nicholas Buster: Gentlemen, I am a Sgt in the 3531 field with 9 years and 11 months in service and 6 years and 5 months as a Sergeant. I was in the bottom of the below zone last year and I’ve seen instances where Marines will be in the below zone twice in my MOS. My EAS is May 15, 2015. If I don’t hit the promotion zone this year will I be able to extend in order to be looked at for promotion the next year with no negative paperwork and above average fitreps etc.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Sgt. Buster, you should definitely APPLY. The particular answer in your case can’t be predicted here – we have to look at what factors apply. If you have no negative performance (which I see you noted) then it could work. We would have to see if there is a service need and combine that with our desire to keep faith with you, since it seems you have kept faith with us (no negative conduct). So: Since MarAdmin 585/13 indicates that Marines with your profile may be extended past the 10th year ECFC if you have never been reduced in rank or viewed for promotion, then we would look for a billet you could fill during that additional time. On the other side of the equation, since your field is over-populated, we might look at the MOS and see that you are /are not projected to come into zone. If the projection puts your promotion view past 13.0 years, that’s bad for you. But if you seem likely to come into zone prior to 13 years, we could do a 5 month extension to keep you in the Corps until Sept 2015 when that year’s SSgt list comes out, or if the math works (keeping you under 13.0) we could possibly extend you again to Sept 2016 if that’s the time you would be on the promotion list (or not). Lastly, having said all that, if you do get that extension, you have to prepare to leave if your name isn’t on that list – that means go to Transition Readiness Seminar, get your final physical, and so on. In extreme cases, if we have no other option, a Sgt can be extended into Sept and have to leave days after the promotion list comes out if you’re all the way at 12 years and 11 months at that point. Your Career Planner can continue this contact with us.


Thomas Kapendorn: I am a 22-year MSgt with no looks at E9, submitted a RELM to stay with the beloved Corps. Is there any boards for this and what is the time frame for response on the RELM? I am a fy15 Marine.

MGySgt. Rollins: Look at the actions we’ve taken this year to ensure we retain the highest quality Marines. Expect similar actions next year, which may slightly delay the timeliness of your reenlistment process. You seem very competitive. Submit for re-enlistment, let the process work and you should be fine.

Lt. Col. Quinn: MSgt, go engage your Career Planner. Every single Career Planner lateral moved into the MOS. They choose to do this work. Maj Whited sits right next to the senior Career Planner in the Corps – by design. That field handles the retention and much of the assignment work that guides your career. Get in close to the Career Planner for knowledge, then use your considerable rank and prestige to spread that info to all Marines. Take the Career Planner around – Marines should listed to him or her, but they’ll definitely listen to you! We’ll do more of these forums, but in the meantime, get the info you need from the system, and the Career Planner is the human face of our system.


Mitchell Elie Ajsenberg: Oohrah! Im a Sgt.dor November 2011.. i had 1 njp over 5 years ago. Nothing negative. Good pfts/cfts..picked up sgt and on Recruiting duty 3 months later..been on the streets for 2 years, good fitreps..My relm is still at HQMC. .I just signed a one month-extention pushing my eas to from this august to September..I’m on Recruiting duty with 1 year remaining..they said that the board may need more time to review since my latest fitrwp was just is my extention a good sign or bad?

MGySgt. Rollins: Your extension is absolutely a positive. If the service didn’t think there was potential retention in your future, you would have been notified by now. The staff sergeant selection board is rapidly approaching and the extension will ensure you have an opportunity to be viewed for promotion.


Israel Perez: Are u assured a job after the Corps and can we have tattoos as officer or enlisted?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Israel, are you a future Marine? (a poolee?) Or are you considering joining? If you’re asking my recommendation, it is to not get a tattoo. At least not yet. There are two Marine Administrative Messages that govern what is legal and how it must be documented in your Service Record Book. You absolutely can get a tattoo that disqualifies you from service. Placement on your body (hands, head, too high on the back) can DQ you. The content of the tat can DQ you (gang tats, destructive to good order and discipline, disrespect towards women, and so on). Wait, and once you are a Marine, you can evaluate. I have a tat and I am an officer so it is certainly possible, but many Marines disqualify themselves from opportunities (like being able to be a security guard at a U.S. Embassy in a foreign country!) by getting tattoos in the wrong place on their body or with the wrong subject matter.


Tito Romero: Any 03 boat spaces?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Infantry boat spaces for FY14? Presumably FTAP Marines? Many of those fields are closed, but some are still open. Your Career Planner can advise you with more info. Having said that, the infantry is overpopulated right now overall so it is harder to get a space than somewhere else. Have you considered a lateral move? How about Reconnaissance, 0321? How about Marine Special Operations Command, 0372?


Andrew James Johnson: Is there any information on FY16 VEERP?

Maj. Whited: We don’t have specifics right now, but I would plan on having all the force shaping tools that were offered this year to continue throughout the drawdown. Since this past year’s VEERP message was released in Dec 2013, then a good rule of thumb is to expect it in Dec 2014. But…it could be released earlier…


Brock Nanney: How can i VEERP with my status as stabilized? I have less than a year left and i cant veerp because my status is set as “stabilized.”

Lt. Col. Quinn: Read the FY15 VEERP MarAdmin, published in December 2013. It states that you are ineligible if you are stabilized. This is because we’ve allocated you to serve in a deploying unit and we need to maintain that capability. Now, having said that, you can ask your command to leave anyway. They are within their rights to recommend against your departure. Still, they must process your request. You initiative an administrative action form (AA Form) which goes from you to HQMC. No intermediate level of command may terminate an AA Form, but in your case they can make a legitimate request that HQMC not approve your request. If your commander endorses the request positively, though, it is possible that you could leave. As with much of this, particular cases proceed “case by case.”


Andjuar S Cato: Gentlemen I was wondering I have over ten years no passes and want to extend for a year but I have below avenge just about everything what are my chances I will get an extension.

Maj. Whited: Difficult to answer given little specifics, however I would refer you to MARADMIN 585/13. There are many specifics outlining ECFCs (Enlisted Career Force Controls) for Sgts. If you have EVER been reduced in rank, it’s more difficult for us to keep you past 10 years of service. If you have never been reduced and never screened for promotion then we can extend you at intervals up to 13 years until you have an opportunity to come into promotion zone. Apply for an extension!

Andjuar S Cato: I have one average fitness report 4-5 below average reports 239 PFT at my max weight of 180 NJP when I was a CPL in 2009 not reduced a few 6105′s I’m over ten years now I’ve been a sgt for 3 years 4 months and I’m a 3531 I hope that helps.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Thank you for your candor, Sgt Cato. I will tell you, to provide honest feedback: your chances are not good. If you have an FY14 EAS, then re-read MarAdmin 026/14. We were clear in that MarAdmin that you HAVE to prepare to transition during the entire calendar year of 2014. That MarAdmin was published 15 January. Based on your performance statistics above, I predict you will not receive an extension. Still – having said that – you should apply. I really have to look at each and every case. For example, your MOS is extremely tight (overpopulated). Therefore, it’s much more understandable that you took 7 years to make Sergeant. The NJP is not good, but what was it for? Article 107 False Official Statements is very bad. Article 92 for being 5 minutes late to a formation is not as bad. I need to see the details. Are the 6105 counseling entries for a haircut one inch too long while in the field (not serious) or for a violation of the UCMJ – stealing, alcohol incident, disrespect to a First Sergeant. Do you see why I want to view your “whole Marine” self? Still – for expectation management, you should make detailed preparations to depart the service. Contact the Operations Chief at MMEA-1 through your Career Planner or direct message me your cell phone if you want a more specific review.

Andjuar S Cato: How long does it take to get an extension approved or disapproved?

Lt. Col. Quinn: If it’s simple, and if your Commander or Career Planner is running it through, it can be as short as 1 hour. We have done that before – usually on 29 or 30 September when we’re rushing to keep the few Marines who remain, or sometimes just prior to a Marine’s 8th year anniversary when we’re racing the clock to approve his/her Lateral Move in time to allow that Sgt to obligate for 60 months (if that’s required) so they can stay under ECFC limits. Typically, though, 30 days from the time it arrives at MMEA is standard. This year, requests have been pending for much longer as we’ve been trying to fit as many Marines in the appropriate places as possible. It takes time to find those who can obligate into the reserves vs those who can go to Special Duty Assignments right now vs those who are in a different profile.

Andjuar S Cato: If they don’t extend me that would mean that I was denied further service will I get severance pay and can I still VEERP?

Maj. Whited: Mostly…YES. If you would like to continue service, then apply for an extension (or reenlistment, whichever you are qualified for). If you are told NO then you would likely receive separations pay (refer to MCO 1900.16 and MCO 1040.31). If you would like to get out before your EAS, then apply for VEERP.


Patrick Wells: I presently have 12 1/2 years in service. At the time of my re-enlistment Oct 18, 2015 (beginning of FY16) I will have 14 years on active duty. At that time would I be able to extend to retire using the “future” FY 15 Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) to retire at 15 years? I am currently on a 6 month extension and I would need 1 year to be compliant with the 15 year requirement. If I am not selected to retire under TERA FY15 would I be eligible to request the Volunteer Separations Pay? (Mind you, my EAS is at the beginning of the FY 16)

– Concerned SSgt with one P. and adversity on record.

Lt. Col. Quinn: This will be a complicated one, so let’s take it in slices. First of all, you cannot utilize TERA until you have 15 years and 0 months on the day you exit. Since you have a FY16 EAS, you will have to wait until the FY16 TERA program is announced in about a year. Next: We generally don’t grant one year extensions just so you can get out. You either stay or you go. VSP is an option for you, at any time, but obviously you get less money. What I would recommend is that you raise your performance to the highest level possible and apply for 4 year reenlistment. Then, if approved, you would be entitled (as any Marine would who qualifies) to utilize TERA at your 15.0 mark if you desire. The point is that we retain the best Marines we can find, with the eye toward filling service needs for the upcoming four year term – not to allow you to leave using TERA instead of leaving using VSP. Does that make sense? Lastly, if you have adversity on record, you CAN recover if it’s not too serious. If 24 months have passed since the event, you are in a better place than if it happened 23 months or less prior to requesting reenlistment.


Tim Wehrli: This is slightly off topic, I was approved for a 2 year reenlistment back in February of this year. That will take me up to 9.5 years. I am a 3.5 year Sgt and have not been in zone yet. Will I be able to reenlist again at that point in 2016 or will I only be given extensions? I missed the below zone by 4 months last year and have not been in zone yet. My AFADB is 20060822 and my DOR is 20110201.

MGySgt. Rollins: You will likely be in the below zone this promotion cycle and ‘in zone’ next promotion cycle. This means you should be looked at for promotion during that time or during this current contract. Given the information that you’ve provided, I imagine that you will continue to be offered retention. In the event that you are not viewed for promotion this contract, it is likely that you will be offered an extension to insure you are viewed for promotion before you reach Enlisted Career Force Controls (ECFC) limits. Please read MARADMIN 585/13 for more information on this process.


Nicholas Dickman: Is there a number out for FY15 boatspaces for FTAP Marines? When are we going to be able to put in our re-enlistment packages and what is the turn around of approval/disapproval for those packages? I’m a tier 1 3451 looking to reenlist for FY15.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Nick, you are asking a ‘middle of the bullseye’ first term question. Here is my answer: Learn for yourself, Marine and you will be more informed and powerful your entire career. All this info is available on MarAdmin pages and this is what your Career Planner lives for! So, for today, here’s your answer – You should wait for the FY15 Enlisted Retention Campaign Plan MarAdmin to publish in the next few weeks. You can consult the FY14 version (search the interwebs to find it) for the rough plan. You can expect that your submission period will open around 1 July and we will start reviewing your package. The ‘boat space report’ (BSR) will be available through your Career Planner soon. We don’t have the formal numbers yet because the service HQ planners are still evaluating force levels and MOS-by-MOS needs. Once the BSR is out and you can submit your request, you can expect to hear sooner if you are a computed Tier 1, and a little later if you are a lower Tier. Still, we want and need Tier 2s and 3s, absolutely. And every year, we retain Tier 4s as well, though it is true that we don’t retain very many. EVERY case is viable until we view the ‘whole Marine’ and his or her file.


Matthew Sean Earle: Good Morning. I am an 0341 sgt with ten yrs time in service and six yrs time in grade and no adverse paperwork. I have not been in zone due to my date of rank and hope to be in zone this year. Would i be able to latmove into a different MOS? I like being an 03, but the promotion rate has slowed down a lot and I am looking to further my career as a Untited States Marine.

MGySgt. Rollins: Have you ever considered a special duty assignment? Even at ten years of service, we can potentially offer you retention to pursue an SDA assignment. We recommend you see your career retention specialist/planner to investigate this option.

Matthew Sean Earle: I am at the end of my recruiting duty tour and I will be executing orders back to the operating forces in 4 months. Question 2: If I am promoted in September, will Headquarters Marine Corps entertain a newly promoted SSgt latmove?

MGySgt. Rollins: It depends on the MOS health of the specific MOS that you wish to lateral move into. If you’re looking at a high-demand, low-density MOS (ie. EOD) it may be possible/conditional on the above.

Matthew Sean Earle: What would you recommend: A. Submit LAT move with RELM (EAS of 20150315) or B. Submit a CG waiver for ECFC to execute orders and LAT move at new command pending SSgt board results.

Maj. Whited: Given that you were promoted to Sgt. at approx 4 years of service tells me that you were promoted with your peers. It’s likely you’re going to be in zone this year for 0369 and are competitive (depending on your record). Recommend you stay the course and compete for promotion as an 03. s/f


Carlos Arbelaez: Is the ESROG also looking at FY15 Career Marines for reduced authorities 24 months versus 36 months?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Carlos, the ESROG is likely only a temporary working group which was created to deal with the short term issues that emerged when the 4,228 Marines were competing for 393 spaces on 28 Feb. However, the capabilities of the ESROG are really simply the “normal” capabilities that have always existed inside Manpower and Reserve Affairs – we just focused then in a conference room for tempo and effect. You can certainly expect that ESROG-type review will continue to be applied, but I would NOT expect that to result in shortened contract length. Here’s why: when we sign up a Marine for an additional four years, we plan on him or her being able to do two deployments (for which we allocate two blocks of 15 months each – six to prepare and train, 7 to deploy, and 2 to do post-deployment review and PTS screening). We also have to account for “dwell” time, leaving the Marine at home with family, stateside. If we were to write two year contracts, the Marines would become non-deployable for certain functions only a few months later. Now, if you have misconduct, a Marine might get a restricted length contract. This is called a “For Further Observation” or “24 FFO.”


Juan Muniz: Recently asked question by one of my Marines, is the status “awaiting further determination” considered good or bad?

Maj. Whited: Bottom line: we want these Marines. The issue is the Corps’ end-strength constraint. There are not enough spaces for us to take those Marines right now. As ‘trade-space’ opens up through cross fiscal year programs (VEERP, VSP, TERA, AdSeps, etc.) we will release these RELMs back to the commands. Hang in there!

Lt. Col. Quinn: And here’s another piece of information for you, Juan. If we didn’t want these “Awaiting Further Determination” Marines, we would have issued “No Further Service.” We want them. However, we don’t currently have the space to take them. That’s why we authorized extensions into September – so that we can find more space. That means that we need commands to process voluntary separations through programs like VEERP or VSP or TERA. We also need involuntary separations to occur via Administrative Separations, in cases where Marines are FAR out of compliance with known standards and regulations. THESE actions will open up the spaces for AFD Marines. If end strength (total force level) were to rise above the Congressionally approved limits, then AFD Marines will not be able to be retained. Bottom line: Hang in there as the Major said – keep the faith and let’s open some new space.


Derrick Wise: I have FY15 STAP Marines in critical MOS who are eligible to submit for reenlistment now (12 months out) but have been holding out until June to see if there will be any bonuses. is there going to be any available this year?

Maj. Whited: Yes, there will be bonuses…but not that many and I can’t tell you how much (because I don’t know; not b/c it’s a secret). Much of this is still being solidified. My recommendation is to apply for retention when able.


Crystal Garcia: I would like to know how it’s looking next FY for prior service Marines to get active or AR orders? I went Reserve to try and make myself more competitive but there weren’t many spaces for AR this past FY. Willing to go anywhere and LAT move to anything.

Maj. Whited: Fantastic! Seek out your career planner immediately! The AR is desperately searching for qualified Marines and you seem like a perfect candidate. There are many factors that are at play for the assignments perspective (MOS for example). If you don’t get much clarity please contact the MMEA-1 OpsChief (through your career planner) for further assistance.


Susan Welch: Will an 0311 Sgt with 11 years in the Marine Corps be able to extend for next year’s board if he is not in zone this year?

MGySgt. Rollins: Can you confirm that the Marine has never been in zone for promotion to staff sergeant? Difficult to answer given little specifics, however I would refer you to MARADMIN 585/13. There are many specifics outlining ECFCs (Enlisted Career Force Controls) for sergeants. There were many changes in this year’s ECFC MarAdmin. The announcement of the staff sergeant promotion zones will be released in the very near future.

Susan Welch: When is the proposed VEERP for FY16 going to be published?

MGySgt. Rollins: We’re currently not able to address fiscal-year ’16 VEERPS. The FY ’15 VSP MarAdmin should be out in a week or so. As we get closer to FY ’15, we will have projections regarding FY ’16 VEERP.


Andrew Lynn Thomas: If a Marine has to re-enlist in order to voluntarily do the B-Billet of their choice (ie. Recruiting) vice waiting to be put on a list and voluntold, will that take any sort of precedence or be viewed differently when retention is deciding on giving available space within the Marine’s PMOS?

MGySgt. Rollins: I would recommend you to go see your career planner to see if you qualify for a special duty assignment. Being proactive is always a better approach to managing your career and communicating your intent can only help your cause.


Daniel Eddy: Is Manpower projecting a possible similar re enlistment vs boat spaces situation next FY as well?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Dan, some standard background here: We will CERTAINLY do boat spaces for the FTAP population (first termers). We do every year. And we will do it every year in the future. However, this was the first year we did a specified submission period for the career force – the “Executive Review Period” from 15 Jan to 28 Feb, announced in MarAdmin 026/14. I WOULD expect a similar submission period (or perhaps two periods) to occur with the career force next year. For example, perhaps starting in July, I might expect all Careerists for FY15 to be directed to turn in their requests (RELMs) by 31 August or something like that – this is an example, just to be clear. That will give us an idea of who is out there who wants retention. It will help us to identify what Marines we have, what their qualifications are, then even try to see where we could assign them, and so on. It would be two-directional: you’d be talking with your monitor, interacting with your Career Planner, and trying to find a “win” for all parties. I do NOT think, if it were left to me, that I would continue with the standard SOP that Careerists simply request retention at any point in the 12 or 18 months prior to the EAS.


ChrisnBecky Pere’: Gents, there was talk recently about Marines who have officially refused PCS orders and are awiating EAS being separated sooner. Any word on when those Marines will receive word on that COA?

Lt. Col. Quinn: This is one of those that is hard to answer because the proposed policy is still routing and in development. So here are SOME facts, but no one can predict the eventual answer yet. The Commandant’s directive, and our standard operating procedure, is to keep faith with Marines. Now, I would need more information on a particular case, but often times, the “refused PCS orders” you describe constitute a breaking of faith from the Marine to the service. They are not called “suggestions on future job location,” they are called “orders.” Again – if you have a case in mind, we’d have to check each detail to see what specifics apply. But assuming that the Marine is able to be assigned orders, and if that Marines refuses to execute, then there is some justification to pursuing permission to make your new EAS the first day of the month AFTER the month you were supposed to report to that new duty station. After all, if you refuse and remain in place, a different Marine somewhere else must now uproot and travel – often times only six weeks before you were to be there. (meaning you waited until 4 or 6 weeks prior to report date to ‘refuse.’) Officers are held to this standard – that EASs move if officers refuse orders. We are only considering asking for permission to apply the same standard to the enlisted force. And by the way, it will take permission from the Secretary of the Navy’s office to do so. I would not hold your breath!


Ejibar Izirjah: I general discharged from the army in 2012 – RE code 3. Would I ever be able to enlist in the Marine Corps?

Maj. Whited: I can’t give you a YES or a NO. In the Corps we have alphanumeric codes (reference MCO 1040.31, Encl 1). Some of the Corps’ RE-3 codes require Commandant of the Marine Corps approval for reenlistment but other codes are non-waiverable. If I come across the answer, I’ll get back with you…


Matthew Graves: Will the Marines that are identified on the SSgt Retention Board for no further service be able to apply for FY15 TERA?

Maj. Whited: Yes. The MARADMIN will be released very soon. Those SSgts that are selected for non-continuation for further service after the GySgt selection board adjourns will have an opportunity to apply for TERA.

Matthew Graves: This will be for the FY15 TERA correct?

Maj. Whited: Correct. Those that are selected will have an opportunity to apply for FY15 TERA.


Staff-Sergeant Acosta: If this process is used in the future will Marines have access to info like stats of RELMs approved vice not IE pft RV on fitreps etc.

Lt. Col. Quinn: The short answer is no if you mean “are you entitled to see it” but that’s largely a matter of limited manpower or database systems. None of it is secret. If what you mean is ‘Can I get a sense of what I’m going up against’ then absolutely! For example, the FTAP Marines run an average PFT of 262. Average CFT of 291. The average Pro/Con for the first termers is 4.4/4.4. For Careerists like you, we view you less on numbers and more on letters (fitreps, school qualification, awards, and so on). Therefore, it’s harder to provide numbers, but are you Professional Military Education (PME) complete for your grade? You should be. Are you complete for the next higher grade in the non-resident format? If not, then do so. These things all make you more competitive. Don’t misunderstand, though – we still care about your numbers. What is your PFT? Have you continued to progress in the martial arts program? Tan belt, while not ‘unqualified’ is not impressive – we started that in 2002. By comparison, if you are a black belt, that means a lot! We know MCMAP hurts. I’m almost 40 years old – I know what type of character you are displaying if you continue to advance in MCMAP at our ages. I know the discipline it takes for you to maintain a 285 PFT now that your work responsibilities have increased as a SNCO. The words are important, but the numbers don’t lie either!

Staff-Sergeant Acosta: Will there be any info on Boat spaces avail vs packages for the boat space by MOS example: 6466 2 boatspaces 12 packages before a “board” begins?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Are you referring to current year FTAP (the first term Marines) or perhaps next year FTAP? Or, since you’re a SSgt, are you referring to potential boat spaces for the career force? Clarify, and I’ll respond.

Staff-Sergeant Acosta: For both if I have an FTAP and career Marine how would I know how many boats spaces are potentialy avail compared to how packages are gunning for those spaces by MOS.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Before every annual retention season, Manpower Plans Division gives Manpower Management Division the authorized boat spaces for the FTAP cohort, to ensure that we retain the proper rank and MOS mix of Marines for future success. Career Planners have that information in the form of the boat space report (BSR). For FY15, we are looking at implementing something similar across the career force, but it is a very complex thing to institute boat space caps on Marines from 6-18 years of service, or fully to the 30th year. You can certainly expect that whatever plan we implement for 15 will be known to you – first through the MarAdmin that will announce it, and then on a day-to-day basis through the information your Career Planners gets from MMEA-1.


Logan Plummer: Good Afternoon, gentlemen. As a CND (Condition Not Disability) Honorable discharge after a broken hip in ITB and 7 months in the rehabilitation platoon, Lima CO SOI-West, what are the odds of being able to re-enlist back into the Corps, or will I have to settle for a different branch?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Oh, I understand now – I should have detected that on my own since it’s a common separation at recruit training. Yes, you can re-apply, but you should realize that you’re going to have to present them proof that you can excel. There are often time frames that must elapse before you can attend recruit training a second time, but if you meet the current year’s waiver timelines and if you can fully perform all required duties and pass the moral and medical screenings, you might be on your way.


Bailee Barta: Could you shed a little light on the situation with ssgt to gunny promotions, mostly what happens after if they are not promoted? I was told a little about marines being separated, but is that only those who are up for re-enlistment this fy?

Lt. Col. Quinn: This is a very prominent question right now. Many Marines know the process you are referring to as the “2P SSgt Retention Board”. The 2P term refers to “twice passed for promotion to GySgt.” This is program/board which is still being finalized – the rule set, the implementation instructions. You will see information published on the service MarAdmin page – I would expect next week. The basic answer to your question is that if a particular Marine is currently 1P, and in a few weeks he or she becomes 2P when this current GySgt selection board releases their approved list, then only those 2P (or more senior) Marines will be considered for a yes or no retention decision. The Marine Corps will only consider those 2P or more senior Marines who ALSO would end up being qualified for early retirement, if they were to be designated for separation. In other words, if he/she got a bad result, we will ensure they are still eligible for a reduced pension of roughly $700,000 (inflation adjusted) over a lifetime. They will also receive a FULL benefit status regarding medical coverage and other standard retirement benefits. Lastly, for context, we are likely talking about 300 or 500 Marines out of a field of 16,500 Staff Sergeants. We owe you the info – absolutely! We’re working hard on it to get it out fast, but it’s not finalized yet. Ask for more clarification if that doesn’t answer your question.


Brad Thomas Henry: Is the Marine Corps retaining Marines with zero scratch marks (negative pg11/6105 entries) or is there room for Marines who have had situations and corrected their past hiccups? What I’m really asking is, what are the left and right lateral limits that the retention is focusing on keeping vice letting go?

Lt. Col. Quinn: Great question. We DEFINITELY take Marines who have recovered, as you describe. Now, it isn’t easy – I hope that’s obvious. Those with documented misconduct like page 11, or 6105 entry, of NJP do have to demonstrate that they have re-established their conduct. They can do so through fitness reports, or from awards earned, and so on. Commander comments are very important, as are senior enlisted evaluations. For example, of the 4,548 FTAP reenlistments we have approved this year, roughly 400 of those Marines have had NJP on this current contract. 10% of the total FTAP approved population. 10% isn’t a great percentage, but it demonstrates that we look at each case and we keep the “whole Marine” we find has enduring value.


Jairo Lara: I was discharged in 2004 for erroneous entry with an RE code 3F. Would I be eligible for re-enlistment?

Lt. Col. Quinn: That would be very difficult in today’s environment. Not only because of the reenlistment code, but also because if you were 18 years old in 2000, then you are starting to get out of the normal age range for re-application. Having said all that, if you find an active component Career Planner, he or she could examine your options with you. Recruiting Command Prior Service Recruiters could also assist you, if you are far from a base.


Justin Artman: Is TERA and VSP likely to be offered in FY15.

Maj. Whited: The new VSP and TERA MARADMINs should be released in the very near future. Keep your eyes peeled…

Justin Artman: Thanks rumors say mid June. Is that accurate or will they be posted more towards the end of this FY?

Lt. Col. Quinn: It is always hard to predict exactly when they will hit the MarAdmin page, but we have already given our recommended edits to the draft MarAdmins as they route through the Manpower and Reserve Affairs building. I would expect FY15 TERA to publish first since we edited it first, and VSP to follow behind that.


Kristopher Huff: 0651 coming up on my end of first term, tier 1 Sgt(1 year TIG), b-mos 8071 currently in my first 6 months of my 5 year commitment to that. I will be starting my package in June, should i expect any issues with it being approved quickly and are there any current bonuses going on for my mos(or that b-mos)?? My EAS is 201501.

Lt. Col. Quinn: We don’t have the FY15 bonus plan yet, but that will be published in the coming months via MarAdmin – the FY15 SRBP (Selective Reenlistment Bonus Plan). See if your MOS qualifies. Since you are a FY15 Marine, I would expect that we may institute a submission period for your RELM like we did in January and February with the Executive Review Period (see MarAdmin 026/14). If so, you’ll submit your RELM let’s say during July or August and then you’ll get your reenlistment authority (or your denial) during the time period immediately following that. From what you summarized above it sounds like you have an excellent shot.


Tyler Webb: Afternoon. I am a 6114 Sgt with 8 years time service and 3 years time in grade. I am curently halfway through recruiting duty. My EAS and completion of my SDA is Sept 2015. I was 2 years outside the below zone last year for SSgt. My concern is that i will not be looked at for promotion this year or the next. I can only hope that my current SDA assignment will make me more competitive for promotion and retention this year or the next. I have no adverse paperwork either. Ive been advised to plan and head back to the fleet to maintain MOS credibility; but i also left with my qualifications maxed out. I desire to continue serving on active duty.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Sgt Webb, good for you that you are on recruiting duty and seem to be doing well. First of all, I probably don’t have to tell you that you can solve your own timeline issue by getting meritoriously promoted on that duty. That is one options open to you, and if you follow the very detailed orders governing how you are supposed to conduct your daily duties there, you will be surprised how much volume of qualified potential recruits your generate. You don’t have to attempt to succeed by hard work alone – there are hundreds of pages of proven techniques in the Volume I (Guidebook for Recruiters) which, believe it or not, will generate tremendous potential for you to achieve a meritorious promotion. Having said that, though, if you finish your tour as a Sgt at 9.5 years, then you would likely be able to execute a PCS and gain 24 additional months after Sept 2015. That would likely get you one look at promotion. The SDA will make you competitive, but it won’t make up for a Marine who has 5 years of subpar performance via Master Brief Sheet. It doesn’t sound like that’s you, but it’s a point I want to make: SDA enhances an already outstanding Marine. It doesn’t trump previous and future observed performance, however, if that performance is notably below standard. From what it sounds like, you should finish the tour, return to the operating forces, and attempt to earn the best fitness reports you can – read the PES order, which governs fitness reports. You will be well served.


Garrett Robinson: I have a Sgt, 1833, with an EAS of Jun ’15 which will put him at 10 yrs 11 mos. He has two NJPs early in his 1st contract. He has since been a model Marine and NCO. Meritorious combat promotion to Cpl and has numerous FitReps, accelerated, filling the billet of a SNCO. Was in the below zone for SSgt last year. Still unknown if there will even be allocations this year for 1833 to SSgt. I’m confident that if there are and he is in zone he will get promoted. However, in the event there are no allocations what are the realistic chances of him being granted an extension to hopefully get a look next year?

Lt. Col. Quinn: If his profile is as you describe, he has a chance particularly if his commander makes specific and detailed recommendations to that effect. It sounds as if he was reduced in rank during those early NJPs – that hurts his case because THAT is a lot of what made him take too long to get viewed for promotion. The meritorious promotion later made up for some of that, but once a Marine is punatively reduced in their career, their moral high ground for asking to exceed the 10 year ECFC disappears. The service looks at it as being a case where the Marine is the one who accounted for his or her slow rank progression. Still – with the meritorious promotion, I’d encourage him to strive for the best performance possible and to let the SgtMaj know how much he wants to earn a glowing RELM comment endorsement on the RELM he’ll use in June 2015 to request additional service beyond 10 years, 11 months. It could be tough, but it’s not impossible. The health of 1833 will also play into that equation.


Alejandro Godinez: Since their are many marines want to stay in, what about us that want to get out early? What is the maximum amount of verp time allowed for fy 2015?

Lt. Col. Quinn: The maximum amount of VEERP time is 365 days. MarAdmin 662/13 governs this process. A Marine may request via AA form that his EAS be shortened up to 365 and no command or commander may terminate the request. It is a request from the Marine to the CMC (through and ending at MM Division). If you have an EAS from 1 Oct to 31 March 2015, the request is endorsed by your LtCol Commander and the G1 at the MSC level tracks the request to MMIB (here at the Marsh Center). If your existing EAS is between 1 Apr and 30 Sep 2015, then the request must get an endorsement from the first General in your chain, and route through G1 just the same as before. We have processed over 1,200 “early out” requests that moved Marines from FY15 EASs into FY14 EASs, and as a result, we gave a lot of those newly freed up spaces to other Marines who were asking to re-enlist. We are very eager to see VEERP requests. Make yours, then coordinate through your Career Planner to track progress. If you are not hearing anything about the case, you may contact MMEA-1 at (703) 784-9238 as a second option. The Operations Chief or Lateral Move Chief are two rock-solid Marines who can get the information you’re after. (side note: review the MarAdmin for initial eligibility as well – if you are currently stabilized for deployment then your ability to get approved for the program is more difficult.)


Jeremy Thomas: It would have been awesome to have had the time to join in on this discussion yesterday, unfortunately my schedule did not allow it. I got PCS orders in September and have been attempting to re-enlist since October. I’ve had quite an interesting experience throughout this entire process. 1st off I was hit up with the tattoo policy. I have tattoos that should have been grandfathered however they were not properly documented (my fault for not following up). After months trying to get a tattoo waiver pushed though, MARADMIN 026/14 was released and my retention request was pushed up without a tattoo wavier for the review board. My request was a 23 month extension as a tier 3 Marine with 2P’s. My EAS had me 28 days shy of 20 years and I had taken the REDUX, surely I would be allowed to finish. Unfortunately that was not the case, nearly 6 months after my initial request I got a response back. I was advised to participate in one of the Force Restructuring Programs. It was difficult to accept, however I am getting something for my time served. The one thing I would like to address is timing, had I known that I would be in this situation 6 months earlier I could have better prepared myself for transition. Is there a way to keep other Marines from going through the experience that I have had. I have dealt with many hardships because of this yet I’ve managed to keep faith. I have since requested early retirement and will hopefully be on the retiree list on 1 October 2014.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Jeremy – please get in touch with me via global address email or contact the Operations Chief of MMEA-1. Your Career Planner will have both those contacts. The use of voluntary programs is an important part of trying to keep the faith with every Marine, in that we do need many Marines to use them if we are to be able to meet our end strength limits while still granting reenlistments in every case we would normally want to do so. (the other part of involuntary programs like administrative separation, but that should normally only have to occur in cases where Marines are significantly out of compliance with known orders and directives) Still, reading the details of your case, there might be some room to maneuver. The key element could be if your EAS is just beyond 1 October. As you might know, 30 Sept/1 Oct is a key date distinction since that is the time period the services have to be at end strength targets, as mandated by Congress. Some larger points from your post that stand out to me are that you realize the importance of proactively getting your tattoos documented now – every Marine should do so. The MarAdmins directed that occur in 2007 and 2009. Anyone not in compliance today has no valid excuse – kudos to you for recognizing that it your responsibility. Regarding the timing of all of this, we have worked hard to get decisions out as quickly as we can, and we have tried several communications mediums to publicize this info (email, MarAdmin, TFRS messages to Career Planners, and a military Skype call every Wednesday at 1300 east coast time, plus now Facebook). If it turns out we’ve fallen short of our half of the equation in your case, then that’s something that I recognize as my shortcoming. Through this venue and others we’ll get ahead of these issues. Please give me recommendations on how you wish it has occurred. Lastly – when you contact me – if we can adjust your retirement date within existing boundaries and in a way that is fair to the other Marines with requests in, to accommodate what you’re after, we’ll absolutely do it. Get me the details.


Dale Edworthy Jr.: I’m an 0811 discharged honorably in 2012 and I’m looking to get back in.

Lt. Col. Quinn: Dale, you are facing an uphill battle. Re-entering during a drawdown is hard, and your MOS is not in need. The best things you can do for yourself is to explore re-accessions possibilities in other fields. If you got out as a Sgt or below, you submit a PSEP request (prior service enlistment program). If you were a SSgt or above, it’s a SNCO Re-accession request. You might likely want to re-take the ASVAB – if you can qualify for fields like Counterintelligence, EOD technician, Recon, or a Cyber MOS, you would have options. If you know any career recruiters (MOS 8412) who want to re-enter, we always have potential space for them as well. It really is an MOS-by-MOS issue where we try to link up an identifiable service need with your qualifications. If you got out after one term, it is usually easier. If you exited as a Staff Sergeant with 14 years, you are almost always too senior to do anything else but re-enter your prior field. And if that field is overstaffed by Marines currently on active duty, then your chances today are close to zero. Contact a Prior Service Recruiter or call the Operations Chief at MMEA-1.

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