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The Mountaineer Online

New retention bonuses available to Soldiers

(U.S. Army photo)<br />A 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier reenlists while deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.
(U.S. Army photo)
A 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier reenlists while deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

Sgt. Nicholas Farina

27th Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers stationed at Fort Drum and across the Army with a fiscal year 2017 expiration-of-term-of-service date on or before Sept. 30 can now receive a minimum $10,000 bonus incentive to extend or reenlist regardless of military occupational specialty.
“We need to target Soldiers that are leaving immediately,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gibson, 10th Mountain Division (LI) command career counselor. “Every day we have Soldiers who are ETSing.”
According to Gibson, there are different monetary incentives available to Soldiers.
Soldiers currently serving in an MOS that already offers a reenlistment bonus can reenlist for the bonus that is associated with that MOS and get a $13,000 kicker as well, depending on their ETS date.
Soldiers can extend for 12 to 23 months and receive a $10,000 bonus extension incentive regardless of MOS.
If a Soldier’s MOS does not currently offer a bonus, he or she can reenlist for the $10,000 and exercise other reenlistment options available.
Soldiers who serve in an over-strength MOS can now reenlist for a continental U.S. station of choice or an overseas assignment reenlistment option.
Gibson described a briefing he gave Feb. 2 to an audience of Soldiers about the recent reenlistment and extension incentives that have been implemented in order to support the Army’s current efforts to retain quality Soldiers.
During the briefing, a Soldier raised his hand and asked if he could extend that very day for 12 months to receive the $10,000 bonus.
The Soldier was scheduled to ETS the next day. Gibson’s answer was yes.
“We are losing Soldiers every day. He’s one of the Soldiers we would have lost had I not given that brief,” Gibson said.
The newly offered incentive options changed the mind of Sgt. Linda Brannaman, the S1 floor NCO and strength manager for 10th Mountain Division Artillery, who extended for 12 months to receive the $10,000 bonus.
“I actually (made a permanent-change-of-station move) here from Ramstein, Germany, just to ETS out of the military,” Brannaman explained. “I finished SFL-TAP (Soldier for Life - Transition Assistance Program) and submitted a whole bunch of job applications. I was getting out.”
Brannaman said her ETS date was Aug. 31 of this year. She was starting terminal leave this July. But the newly offered retention bonus incentive forwarded her the opportunity to completely eliminate her debt.
“It just sets a better future for me and my son when I do get out,” Brannaman said.
For Gibson, NCOs like Brannaman fit the Soldier description that the retention incentives were designed to reach.
“You have someone that’s within 90 days of ETSing. They kind of already got a plan set in place. So there has to be something kind of dramatic to shock them into changing their mind,” Gibson said.
Soldiers exiting the Army for reasons other than honorable need not apply. Gibson assured that the new incentives are to retain quality Soldiers.
“The end result is we want to build a force, but we want quality. We are not going to sacrifice quality over quantity,” he said.
The Army recently announced additional changes along with the bonus incentives that could affect reenlistment for Soldiers.
Soldiers serving in balanced or shortage MOSs could have their retention control points affected. Promotable Soldiers in the grade of E-4 will have an RCP of 10 years, and promotable Soldiers in the grade of E-5 will have an RCP of 15 years.
A Soldier's individual reenlistment opportunity window opens 15 months from his or her ETS date and now continues through that date. The 90-day window restriction has been suspended, which allows Soldiers to reenlist up to one day before their ETS.
These changes went into effect Armywide on Jan. 20.

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