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Retention Clock Is Ticking

Cpl. Robert Kyle, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms


Marines aboard the Combat Center and throughout the Corps, who have not pulled the trigger on re-enlisting in their military occupational specialty, may soon see their opportunity fade away.

Fiscal year 2010 will be a tough year for re-enlistment, said Staff Sgt. Xavisus T. Gayden, the career planner for Headquarters Battalion.

"So far there are more than 20 MOSs that have boatspace submissions at 50 percent or higher," said Gayden, a Monroe, La., native. "That means the amount of spaces available in that MOS is down to a handful."

According to the Manpower and Reserve Affairs' enlisted retention survey, conducted Jan. 19 to April 10, about 46 percent of Marines are prepared to reenlist in 2010, up four percent from 2009. Another 15 percent remain on the fence, down two percent. The remaining 39 percent said they had no intentions of staying in the Corps, also down two points from a year ago.

There are several reasons more Marines want to reenlist, Gayden said. "The economy obviously has a lot to do with Marines opting for reenlistment," Gayden said. "Every day when you turn on the news there's something bad about the economy."

Bonuses, even though they have substantially reduced in amount, are still high priority factors Marines are considering, he said.

Gayden said the new Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, that some said would sway Marines to get out isn't.

"I don't see the new G.I. Bill affecting retention," he said. Marines can use tuition assistance without touching their G.I. benefits, so most of them will give their benefits to their spouse or children. If anything the new bill will help retention."

Lance Cpl. Deanne Brinson, an ammunition technician with the Center Magazine Area, waited to put in her re-enlistment package and has hit problems that may cost her the chance of staying in the Marine Corps.

"My EAS [End of Active Service] was in March," said Brinson, a Thomasville, Ga., native. "After I put in my package I found out it was going to get denied, and since then I've had to keep extending my contract until I get everything I need finished."

Gayden said his best advice for Marines planning on reenlisting or are still making up their minds is to act fast.

"Like always, don't hesitate in putting together a package," he said. "As a Marine you want to tell Headquarters Marine Corps you want to reenlist. You don't want them telling you you can't."

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