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Deployed RC Soldiers get new re-enlist options

By Sgt. Jennifer J. Eidson

TIKRIT, Iraq (Army News Service, Feb. 28, 2005) - Deployed Soldiers in the National Guard and Army Reserve now have access to re-enlistment bonuses that were previously available only to active-component troops.

As part of the Army-wide Selective Reenlistment Bonus Program, highly-trained Soldiers in the Guard and Reserve can now receive bonuses of up to $15,000, tax free, if they re-enlist while serving in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan in the year before they are due to leave the service.

The program mirrors the Selective Re-enlistment Bonus-Deployed available to Soldiers in the active component.

Sgt. 1st Class David H. Owen, retention noncommissioned officer for the New York National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division at Task Force Danger, Iraq, said there are different levels of bonuses available to tailor the effort to individual Soldiers' needs.

"We have two options, the first option we have is $15,000 for a six-year enlistment. The second option is a three-year enlistment for $7,500 and at the end of that re-enlistment, if they want to re-enlist, there is an option for another $6,000," Owen said about the National Guard program. "The old standard was you could only re-enlist 90 days out for a bonus, or six months out if you were non-bonus eligible."

Owen said he believes the program is giving Soldiers in theater who are thinking about getting out another reason to stay in the Army.

"Some people who are sitting on the fence ... are now re-enlisting for the money," Owen said.

For Active Guard and Reserve Soldiers, who work full time, this new program provides them with an incentive that the old one did not, he said.

"If you are deployed, and you are a technician or a state AGR Soldier, which means you are full-time for the state, you can re-enlist for the bonus now," Owen said.

Sgt. Michael Walczak, a personnel service sergeant for HHC, said he re-enlisted Feb. 19, for a lump sum bonus of $15,000. Walczak is a New York Army National Guard Soldier who also works full time as a technician for the division's armory. One job prerequisite as a technician is that he serves as a National Guard Soldier, but before the new re-enlistment program, Soldiers in his position were not allowed to receive a bonus.

"Usually technicians in AGR are not eligible for bonuses, and this is one time when we are, so I took advantage of that opportunity," Walczak said.

"I do it full-time so I would have re-enlisted even if there wasn't a bonus," Walczak said. "I have to hold my National Guard status to hold my full-time job at the armory, so I would have re-enlisted anyway, but it was nice to get the bonus."

The program is a great opportunity for the Soldiers, who would not normally qualify for a bonus while in the United States, to receive a tax-free bonus on their current deployment, said Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Garcia, career counselor for Task Force Dragon, Camp Victory, Iraq.

Garcia said not every Soldier will qualify for the $15,000 bonus. The Soldiers will be classified based on their pay grade and time in service. First-term Soldiers who have served between 17 months and six years fall into zone A and will be given 1.5 times their monthly base pay multiplied by the number of years they reenlist, whereas Soldiers who have served between six and 10 years fall into the zone B and will qualify for their base pay multiplied by the number of years they re-enlist for.

Owen said Soldiers interested in finding out more about their re-enlistment options should contact their unit re-enlistment NCO.

(Editor's note: Sgt. Jennifer J. Eidson serves with the 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. Some information in this story was gathered from an article written by Sgt. David Foley, Task Force Dragon Public Affairs Office.) OCPA Public Affairs Home OCPA Public Affairs Home


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