Bonuses available for transfers
By Bridgett Siter/The Bayonet
FORT BENNING, Ga. (TRADOC News Service, Aug. 10, 2005) – While the Army’s transformation will result in a larger force, the opposite is true for the Navy and Air Force. The Navy is expected to reduce its force by 8,000 by the end of this year, and the Air Force will likely trim at least twice as much.
To help meet the needs of a growing Army and retain quality, experienced servicemen from the overstaffed services, the Department of Defense launched a program last year to allow sailors and airmen, enlisted and commissioned, active and Reserve, to transfer to the Army.
“It makes sense to bring on board someone who is already military-minded,” said Sgt. Maj. Lyle Hogue, Fort Benning’s command career counselor. “Why waste this talent when we can offer them a transition into the Army?”
Under Operation Blue to Green, sailors and airmen willing to enlist for three years may be eligible for bonuses up to $40,000. Those willing to retrain in one of more than 50 priority military-occupation specialties can receive bonuses of up to $10,000. The recruiting command will determine the amount of the bonus based on the skill and availability of training.
Those airmen and sailors in an MOS “equal” to an existing Army MOS may qualify to receive the Army’s selective re-enlistment bonus currently offered to Soldiers re-enlisting. Those amounts fluctuate.
“That will probably be the biggest challenge – matching up what they did in the Navy or Air Force with what they want to do in the Army,” Hogue said. “If it’s something like security police, that’s a good fit. It’s pretty much the same as our MPs. Otherwise, they have to be willing to retrain.”
If the servicemember has a transferrable job skill, he or she will attend a four-week Warrior Transition Course to learn essential skills and information needed in the Army such as rank identification, uniform policy and career progression.
Those who require new skill training will attend a much more extensive course.
Though sailors and airmen interested in transferring should see their post retention counselor, the Human Resources Command has contracted Resource Consultants, Inc., to handle applications. The company will provide civilian recruiters to contact prospects and conduct seminars on Air Force and Navy bases stateside.
The program is not designed for those who have already left the service or are being chaptered out for any reason.
“The Army wants people who meet our standards,” said Master Sgt. Jeff Wolfe, retention-operations NCO. “As long as they’re physically fit, and they meet the prerequisites for re-enlisting in their service, they’ll probably qualify for ours.”
Operation Blue to Green is open to all ranks and specialties. Officers and E-1s through E-5 will retain their rank. The rank of E-6s and above will be determined case by case.
The program is also an option for Air Force and Navy ROTC cadets.
As of February, 39 officers have transferred. More applications are pending approval.
Transferring from one service to another will not affect Montgomery G.I. Bill benefits, Hogue said.
For more information, visit your installation retention counselor or the Army Human Resources Command Website at https://www.perscomonline.army.mil/opdistacc/IST/CIST.htm.