YUMA, Ariz. --
Due to the significant changes in re-enlistment bonuses from fiscal year 2008 to 2009, the window for eligible Marines seeking to cash in on their new contracts is quickly closing.
For some Marines, taking advantage of the rare opportunity to re-enlist before the new fiscal year begins will prove more beneficial. For others, waiting until after Oct. 1 will mean a higher bonus.
Normally, first-term Marines have to re-enlist in the same fiscal year that their contract expires. This year, however, first termers whose contracts end in fiscal year 2009 can elect to re-enlist before Sept. 30 and still be eligible for bonuses of fiscal year 2008, according to Marine Corps Bulletin 7220 released June 30.
If a Marine chooses to wait until after Oct. 1, they will receive the re-enlistment bonus for fiscal year 2009.
For example, a corporal combat videographer would receive a $55,000 re-enlistment bonus for fiscal year 2009 instead of $26,500 for fiscal year 2008.
In contrast, a lance corporal rifleman would receive $36,000 if he re-enlisted before Sept. 30, but if he waited until after Oct. 1, he would only rate $29,000.
Career Marines—those not on their first contract—who are eligible for re-enlistment in fiscal year 2009 can also receive the bonus from fiscal year 2008, but they must submit their request package before Sept. 15. If submitted after, the Marine will receive the bonus for fiscal year 2009.
Additionally, with the return of boatspace caps, if a Marine waits longer to submit a re-enlistment package the more likely their MOS will close or bonuses will no longer be given. This may force a Marine to lateral move into a new military occupational specialty in to stay in the Corps.
Marines who wait to submit a package risk the chance of missing out on duty station preference or other special incentives.
For a complete list of re-enlistment bonuses, refer to Marine Administrative Message 370/08, which can be found on Marines.mil, or contact your unit career retention specialist.