Matt Carberry (kingpin248) wrote,
Matt Carberry

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here we go again...

Last week, the Navy put out a message that readjusts the multiples on which reenlistment bonuses are calculated for the various eligible rates. Just as was the case last October, all submarining nuclear trained personnel in Zone A (less than six years' service) will see a jump in the payout for a given pay grade and additional service obligation. Another similarity to six months ago was my reaction to the higher multiples (specifically, the jump to 10.5 for my NEC of 3353). The count (now down to 259 days) continues without reconsideration of my course. I should note now that it would be very difficult to turn back and re-enlist at this stage. For one, I am missing the very important Electronics Technician Maintenance School, about which I have complained here previously. For two, even if I had a positive opinion of the Navy on the whole, I am faced with the prospect of significant additional time on the Submersible Death Trap should I again recite the affirmation. There's a chance that I'd get off the boat at or earlier than my current EAOS - the training unit in Ballston Spa is currently short on sea-returnee instructors. However, I'm inclined to agree with the sentiment expressed by one of my colleagues. Once the command has secured a Sailor's re-enlistment (and thus boosted its retention numbers), that man's ultimate fate is of no concern - and thus the boat will endeavor to retain him for as long as possible. Those last few sentences are a lengthy way of saying that I don't trust the command to be looking out for my well-being. It's on me to do what's best for number one, and remaining steady on course toward Goal No. 1 is the best way to make that happen.

As for the macroscopic picture, the Navy continues to believe that the solution to undermanning in the nuclear community is to throw more money at the problem. From what I've heard over the last several days, it's not going to make much of a dent. With that, I'll share some interesting proposals that have been floated by one of my more senior co-workers. He's a sea-returnee, and he recently had the chance for a brief chat with some high-ranking Naval brass. His first idea was aimed at quality-of-life, the lack of which is one of the main detractors to staying Navy. He proposed that all sea tours be shortened to three years. As it happens, there's been some recent movement in this direction; while a nuke Sailor's first two tours have not been shortened (they're 54 and 60 months respectively), all subsequent tours are now thirty-six months, no matter one's pay grade. (Previously, E-6 and below would do five years on a boat, regardless of how many tours they had under their belt.) The other radical change he proposed would have completely reshaped the bonus structure. Instead of paying small ransoms to buy a few additional years' service at a time, my esteemed colleague proposed spreading the maximum amount a Sailor can pull down in bonuses (currently $200,000) over the course of a career. There would be a large lump sum at the (mandatory retirement) point of 20 years, with the remainder spread in increasing yearly increments, starting at five or six years. I like the idea; it rewards those who choose to make a career of the service, while throwing away very little on those inclined to leave after a single shore tour. He'd also tie retirement pay (that is, the percentage of base pay in the pension) to paygrade; this, along with the 20-year service cap and current high-year tenure requirements, would make the Navy a much more competitive organization, and thus increase productivity. I'm honestly not sure what it would do for Zone A retention. But I think it'd produce a better force in the long run.
Tags: memphis, nuclear power

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