CORPS CONNECTIONS, FEATURES
By Cpl. Christofer Baines
The Marine Corps sears an indelible mark upon the hearts and minds of Marines, so leaving the Corps can be bittersweet.
But, even while pursuing jobs in the civilian world, Marines don’t have to part ways with the honor, courage and commitment that made the Corps an important part of their lives.
Continue to serve in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve. There are reserve units in 48 states, Washington and Puerto Rico.
Prior-service Marines are an asset in the reserves. Whether it has been a four-year or a 12-year active duty career, prior service Marines have built credibility within their respective occupational fields and as leaders, said Maj. Andrew Dausman, Reserve Continuation and Transition Branch, Reserve Affairs Division.
Reserve Marines drill once a month, and attend annual training once a year, which can range from two-weeks to a month. During annual training, Marines refresh and hone their skills within their professions and strengthen camaraderie within their units. There are also several annual training exercises, like Javelin Thrust and Cobra Gold, which put reserve Marines’ skills to the test, preparing them for mobilization and deployments when called upon.
When mobilized, reserve Marines can go to a variety of locales just as their active duty counterparts would. In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, Marines have deployed to South America, Europe and Australia.
Benefits for reserve Marines are comparable to their active duty counterparts, including access to Tricare Reserve Select, a comprehensive, premium-based health-care plan, and GI Bill benefits.
Reserve Marines receive pay for weekend drills and annual training, and when activated, reserve Marines are paid according to the active-duty pay scale.
If a Marine decides to continue serving in the reserves, but wants to change fields, the Prior-Service MOS Retraining Program offers them a chance to pursue another job and take advantage of numerous training opportunities.
There are also affiliation bonuses that are available to officers and enlisted. For company grade officers entering a company grade billet, a bonus of $10,000 is available. For enlisted, there is a bonus of $10,000 or $15,000 for corporals and sergeants respectively. The bonuses for enlisted Marines depend on location and billet, which may require a lateral move.
The most important thing about the SMCR is its part in the Total Force. The SMCR is the “main effort” of the Marine Corps Reserve and has become an operational asset. 100 percent of SMCR units have mobilized since 9/11. Reserve Marines that come from active duty have valuable MOS credibility and leadership experience. The Marine Corps needs that experience to help maintain a vital and operational reserve component.
Marines can talk to a prior-service recruiter to see what opportunities are available for them in the reserves. To find the nearest prior service recruiter, call (703) 784-9857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Opinions may vary, but if you want to keep serving, there is a world of possibility outside the realm of active-duty. Plus, where else can you find the camaraderie found in the Corps?
For more information, look at these online resources to get an idea of what you could do to keep serving: