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Re-up now: Army offers up to $12,000, plus bigger bonuses, to eligible soldiers

If you missed the big re-enlistment bonus bucks the Army was offering this year, you’re in luck.

Soldiers whose last day in the Army is coming up in the next 15 months could earn up to $12,000 on top of a selective retention bonus if they re-up in the next several weeks.

The Army brought back the so-called “kicker” in its latest SRB message, offering $3,000 for four years, $6,000 for five years and $12,000 for six years to soldiers who are in their re-enlistment windows and eligible for a retention bonus.

Additionally, MilPer message 17-331 includes a new SRB chart, with big bumps in bonus dollars for a range of military occupational specialties.

At the top of the list are 11Bs — particularly those with no additional skills or special qualification identifiers — who are eligible for bonuses at every rank. The infantryman MOS has been up and down this year in terms of re-enlistment bonuses.

Other big winners are fire support specialists: a staff sergeant, for example, is eligible for between $15,200 and $46,000 to re-enlist, and that’s before adding the kicker.

Also eligible for big bonuses are combat medics, Criminal Investigation Command special agents, cyber network defenders, cryptologic linguists and psychological operations specialists.

The armor branch, on the other hand, saw a drop in bonuses for cavalry scouts and crewmen, including the end of bonuses of 19Ks above E-5.

Soldiers who have a training spot scheduled to transfer into one of the SRB-eligible MOSs are also eligible for bonuses.

On the other hand, soldiers who are currently eligible for an SRB but are scheduled for training to re-class into a non-eligible MOS are not able to get an SRB.

The new bonus program is operational as of Oct. 23, but is subject to unannounced changes after Nov. 23, according to the message.

The Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel told Army Times in September that the service is hoping to add another 17,000 troops to the total force in the coming year.

On the retention side, said Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, the plan is to stick to bonuses, rather than offer large lump sums for one-year extensions, as they did in 2017.

“We don’t think we will do an extension. That was a decision that made sense last year in ’17,” Seamands said. “What we’re looking for now is a longer commitment. We will have re-enlistment bonuses for our NCOs. But, they won’t be for extensions. I don’t see that happening.”

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