More years to come for mass reenlistment Marines

12 Aug 2011 | Cpl. Timothy L. Solano

Mass reenlistment ceremonies like the one that took place in front of the 5th battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division command post on August 8, 2011, are commonplace aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, where Marines from all units are signing on for another term of enlisted service.

Across the Division, Marines swear in on a new contract to receive bonuses, duty station relocation, job security or a better salary. Whatever the reason, the Corps’ efforts to retain its best Marines are being met by those who have answered the call to stay on active duty.

“The perks of reenlisting look like they’re going to outweigh the benefits of getting out,” said Cpl. John Galletta, a motor transport operator currently attached to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. “Reenlistment can help provide for my family and give me something to look forward to for the future.”

Though Marines may have numerous justifications for reenlistment, the Marine Corps has its own plan for deciding what makes a Marine eligible.

Frequent changes to the Marine Corps’ retention standards (most recently revised in Marine Administrative Message 433/11, Aug 2.), have caused the enlisted career force to become more selective with who it chooses to keep on board.

“The Marine Corps is downsizing and boat spaces for (military occupational specialties) are limited,” said Sgt. Joseph Hinson, a career planner for 2nd MarDiv. “We are trying to keep the best of the best as the Marine Corps continues to get smaller.”

The stricter regulations on who stays and who goes will push many Marines out the door, but will also be vital in passing on Marines’ experience and leadership to the Marines of future generations.

“Retaining our best Marines is essential in preserving unit readiness and perpetuating the Corps' hard earned combat lessons learned,” said Lt. Col. Walker Field, commanding officer of 5/10. “Our (non commissioned officer) leadership is imperative to this unit and the Corps as they are our combat leaders who train, coach and keep the standard for our young enlisted force.”

A slew of additional incentives are put on the table to keep good NCOs around such as points for promotion, lateral moves into other MOS’s, secondary or “B” billets and follow on schools and training.

The perks of swearing in for another four years may sweeten the deal for both first term and careerist Marines, but for some, the pride of wearing the eagle, globe and anchor is a bonus all its own, a quality distinct to U.S. Marines.

“Incentives such as a bonus are great, but they are not the compelling reason most are choosing to remain on active duty– an intangible call to serve prevails,” said Field.