Early retirement from the Marine Corps — are you eligible?

As the fiscal belt gets tightened and the end strength of the armed forces shrinks, the services are using force-shaping tools get in line with the post-war realities of a smaller military.  The Marine Corps recently announced an opportunity for career non-commissioned officers is certain Military Occupational Specialties to retire with less than 20 years of service.

The Corps’s announcement of the Enlisted Temporary Early Retirement Authority, or TERA, is one of the many different measures will be used to help those in uniform transition back to the civilian world with a reduced pension and other benefits, which is not a bad deal at all considering that not too long ago the services were using Reductions in Force — RIFs — to essentially lay off (read: fire) “excess” personnel.

The offer is limited to some specific job areas, so if you are not in one of the listed MOS’s then you are out of luck.  This time, that is.  There will certainly be more programs announced as the need to shrink the force becomes more pronounced.

Here is an extract that lists those eligible from the Marine Administrative Message (MARADMIN) that announces the program:

ALL ACTIVE COMPONENT MARINE STAFF SERGEANTS (E6) IN THE FOLLOWING MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES ARE ELIGIBLE: 0369, 0481, 0619, 0629, 1361, 2146, 2311, 2862, 5524, 6074, 6112, 6122, 6152, 6172, 6174, 6212, 6252, 6322, AND 6469.  ALL ACTIVE COMPONENT MARINE GUNNERY SERGEANTS (E7) IN THE FOLLOWING MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTIES ARE ELIGIBLE: 0161, 6112, 6152, 6172, AND 6322.  ADDITIONALLY, ALL MARINE STAFF SERGEANTS (E6) WHO HAVE FAILED SELECTION FOR PROMOTION TO E7 AT LEAST ONE TIME ARE ELIGIBLE TO APPLY.  MARINES WHO REQUESTED NON-CONSIDERATION FOR PROMOTION ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR TERA.

Progams like this one were very common about 20 years ago as the entire Department of Defense reduced the endstrength of all four services as a “benefit” from the end of the cold war.  The so-called “Peace Dividend” required steep cuts across the board, and all of the services employed TERA as well as other programs to soften the blow for those who had to get out.

For what it is worth, these programs won’t last forever, and if you are thinking about getting out then this may be a way to do so and still keep some retirement benefits.  It certainly provides some food for thought.

If you would like to read the MARADMIN in its entirety, click here.

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