CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Now that Uncle Sam has you, he wants to keep you at the 1st Marine Division.
And with boat spaces for fiscal year 2009 filling up fast, now is the time to talk to a career retention specialist if you plan to stay a Marine or sailor.
“The main goal of a career planner is to make sure that we retain highly
qualified Marines within the 1st Marine Division and the Marine Corps,” said Master Sgt. Gabriel T. Gordon, 37, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of career planners, from Omaha, Neb.
Helping those Marines that love the Corps receive the benefits they desire is also a goal of the career planners.
“I enjoy being a Marine, and I wanted to keep doing what I was good at,” said Sgt. Denise L. Betts, a mobile multi-channel equipment operator with Communication Company, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division. “I would have reenlisted without any of the benefits, so the extras, like the bonus, were just a cherry on top.”
Should a Marine decide to reenlist, there are a number of incentives that are available to them.
For those that have served one enlistment in the Marine Corps, incentives include 20 days of free leave, a bonus, if their military occupational specialty rates one, and guaranteed choice of duty station.
“Other than the bonus, choice of duty station can be a very attractive incentive for Marines who have deployed two or three times during their first enlistment,” said Gordon. “Most Marines just want a break. If we can give them the opportunity to serve three or four more years in our Corps where they are not deploying as much, Marines will take advantage of that.”
New career opportunities are another way that career planners can give Marines the chance to stay in the Marines.
“Marines have the opportunity to make a lateral move into a different occupational field if they would like to try something new in their career,” said Gordon.
A Marine must meet the requirements for the MOS they are trying to move into, but there must also be space in the field before the move can be done.
“I tried to make a lateral move, but the MOS I wanted was not open for females at the time,” said Betts, 24, from Harbor Springs, Mich. “When I could not do the lateral move I wanted, the career planners helped me decide my next step, which included reenlisting in the same MOS under a different billet.”
There are also other opportunities to get a break from a current MOS or deployments, while still enhancing a career in and out of the Marine Corps.
“We can also offer Marines the opportunity to enhance their career by stepping up to the challenge of completing a special duty assignment,” said Gordon.
According to Gordon, a B-billet, like recruiting or drill instructor duty, can help advance a Marine’s career.
Aiding Marines who decide to leave the Corps is another way career planners provide guidance to Marines.
“We help Marines who decide to transition from our Corps to the civilian world smoothly,” said Gordon. “Once they make the decision to transition we support them one-hundred percent and provide them with the necessary counseling and classes to prepare them.”
Naval Career Counselors have a similar mission as Marine Corps career planners.
“The mission of our office is to help out each individual sailor to do what is best for them and the Navy,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Street, 27, a Navy career counselor from Kodiak, Alaska. “The main goal is to put the right sailor in the right job.”
The majority of the naval personnel that fall under the 1st Marine Division are assigned to different units across Southern California.
“The predominate type of Navy personnel in the Division are corpsmen and Religious Programs Specialists, so the 1,127 total personnel are spread throughout the different units providing support to the Marines,” said Street.
According to Street, financial stability for the sailor and their family is a main reason for reenlistment.
“The job security, dependent medical and dental benefits and guaranteed housing are a lot of the reasons why I decided to stay in the Navy,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin D. Devers, 28, a Navy career counselor, from Alabaster, Ala. “I also took advantage of the option to choose my duty station, allowing me to stay here at Camp Pendleton for two more years.”
“A lot of the corpsmen reenlist because they just love being with the Marines,” added Street.
With the help of these dedicated Marines and sailors, career specialists say that the legacy of the Department of the Navy will never die because of the outstanding Marines and sailors they help reenlist.