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Return of boatspace caps could sink re-enlistments

By Lance Cpl. T.M. Stewman | | August 20, 2008

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The Marine Corps will limit re-enlistment boatspaces for first-termers in fiscal year 2009 after removing the caps in 2008 in an effort to expand the Corps’ wartime strength.

As a result, the boatspace caps will make re-enlistment more competitive in any fields with little room to grow after recent recruiting and retention success.

Boatspaces are re-enlistment openings available in a given military occupational specialty. The caps limit the number of re-enlistments allowed in an MOS in order to maintain the correct balance of personnel at different ranks.

“Some may feel that boatspace caps are bad or unfair, but really it helps the Corps from stagnation,” said Sgt. Jose Lopez-Gonzalez, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 career retention specialist. “The caps keep our numbers down, which helps with promotion rates and professional growth within the Corps.”

The caps were announced in Marine Corps Bulletin 7220, released June 30.

Boatspace caps were suspended during fiscal year 2008 in an effort to ultimately grow the Corps to a force of 202,000 Marines by the end of fiscal year 2011.

When weighing the re-enlistment options, those who procrastinate could end up “missing the boat.”

“Because the boatspace caps are on a first-come, first-served basis, some Marines may find themselves limited with options,” said Lopez-Gonzalez.

Even after an MOS has reached its limit for the year, first-term Marines may still have an opportunity to re-enlist.

The Quality Re-enlistment Program allows for additional boatspaces to be opened for exceptional Marines.

“The Marine Corps realizes that sometimes good Marines, for whatever reason, don’t get a space, and that’s where the QRP comes into play,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Gielarowski, Marine Aircraft Group 13 career retention specialist.

The program applies only to corporals and sergeants who have been recommended by their commanding officer. Selection criteria includes: proficiency and conduct marks averaging at least 4.5/4.5 in service; a first-class score on the physical fitness test; no history of assignment to a weight control or body composition program; a clean criminal record; and no convictions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

For Marines who don’t qualify for the QRP, hope still remains to stay in the Corps.
“If a first-term Marine has run out of options, it is possible for that Marine to make a (lateral) move into another MOS and potentially still receive the bonus money for that new MOS,” explained Lopez-Gonzalez.

If a Marine doesn’t want to make a lateral move, then the only option left is to get out of the Marine Corps when his current contract expires.

“At the end of the day Marines need to make the decision that is best for them,” said Lopez-Gonzalez.

For more information about boatspace caps and re-enlistment, contact your unit’s career retention specialist.


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