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2014 VSP program details revealed

Oct. 8, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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A CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter crew chief, kneeling, inspects an M2 .50-caliber machine gun for a malfunction during an operational check flight. Staff sergeants and gunnery sergeants in several CH-46-related military occupational specialties are eligible for Voluntary Separation Pay in fiscal year 2014. (Cpl. Jonathan Televich / Marine Corps)
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Eligible for VSP

All active component staff sergeants and gunnery sergeants in the following military occupational specialties are eligible for Voluntary Separation Pay in fiscal year 2014:
Staff sergeant MOSs0369 Infantry unit leader
0481 Landing support specialist
0619 Wire chief
0629 Radio chief
1361 Engineer assistant
2146 Main battle tank repairer/technician
2311 Ammunition technician
2862 Electronics maintenance technician
5524 Musician
6074 Cryogenics equipment operator
6112 Helicopter mechanic, CH-46
6122 Helicopter power plants mechanic, T-58
6152 Helicopter airframe mechanic, CH-46
6172 Helicopter crew chief, CH-46
6174 Helicopter crew chief, UH-1
6212 Fixed-wing aircraft mechanic, AV-8/TAV-8
6252 Fixed-wing aircraft airframe mechanic, AV-8/TAV-8
6322 Aircraft communications/navigation/electrical systems technician, CH-46
6469 Advanced automatic test equipment technician, IMA
Gunnery sergeant MOSs0161 Postal clerk
6112 Helicopter mechanic, CH-46
6152 Helicopter airframe mechanic, CH-46
6172 Helicopter crew chief, CH-46
6322 Aircraft communications/navigation/electrical systems technician, CH-46
6152 Helicopter airframe mechanic, CH-46
6172 Helicopter crew chief, CH-46
6322 Aircraft communications/navigation electrical systems technician, CH-46


Details of the fiscal year 2014 enlisted Voluntary Separation Pay program were released Tuesday by Manpower officials.

Under the program, staff sergeants and gunnery sergeants in select jobs with between 6 and 20 years of service are eligible for payouts to leave uniform early. Those payments can, in some cases, top six figures. Additionally, any staff sergeant — in any military occupational specialty — who has failed selection to gunnery sergeant at least once is eligible to apply.

VSP is a carefully targeted incentive offered to Marines in overpopulated ranks and MOSs. This year the overall number of eligible MOSs varies only slightly from the 2013 total, although there have been shifts in which specialties are targeted.

There are five MOSs at gunnery sergeant eligible for VSP compared to just three last year, according to Marine administrative message 519/13, signed Oct. 7. Four of the five are directly tied to the CH-46 helicopter, which is being retired and replaced by the MV-22 Osprey.

Also of note, this year’s VSP program does not target the 0369 infantry unit leader MOS at the gunnery sergeant rank. Career-minded staff sergeants were frustrated in 2012 when the chronically overmanned MOS was closed to promotion. The decision not to include the specialty in the 2014 VSP program indicates that force-shaping measures designed to thin its ranks at the gunnery sergeant level are no longer necessary.

For staff sergeants 19 MOSs are eligible for VSP this year, compared to 20 in fiscal 2013. While there are few notable shifts, at least four newly eligible MOSs for staff sergeants are also tied to the CH-46 platform.

Interested Marines should act quickly. The deadline to apply for VSP is Nov. 29.

Those approved for VSP receive a taxable cash payout based on their pay and years of service, according to the MARADMIN. A staff sergeant with 12 years of service, for example, would take home $100,656 before taxes. A gunnery sergeant would receive more.

VSP is a voluntary incentive intended to cull overpopulated ranks and military occupational specialties by convincing Marines to leave uniform on their own terms. The hope is that by offering voluntary incentives like VSP, Marine Corps officials won’t be forced to push people out of service using involuntary measures, particularly now that the service is on a trajectory to cut 8,000 more Marines than expected during the drawdown, to a final end strength of 174,000 active component Marines by the end of 2017.

Marines opting for VSP should consider their decision carefully, however. They will incur a three-year obligation in the Individual Ready Reserve. More importantly, Marines are forgoing the possibility of a 20-year retirement, which offers substantially more money over the course of a lifetime pension.

Marines who later affiliate with the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, Active Reserve or National Guard are also advised that if they volunteer for active duty for 180 consecutive days or more, they will be required to pay back the entire amount they received as VSP, according to the MARADMIN.

The reason is that VSP is intended to help the service reach end-strength goals under deeper-than-expected Defense Department-mandated cuts. As a result, officials do not want those who have taken VSP returning to the active component and counting towards their annual active duty end-strength, as do any personnel who are activated for more then 180 consecutive days.

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