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Marine Corps considering $5,000 bump in bonuses for enlisted troops

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps is considering bumping up the maximum bonuses it offers its enlisted troops by $5,000, according to Marine Corps officials.

Under the Corps’ proposed plan, the max bonuses for Marines would go up to $35,000 for those in Zone A and $40,000 for those in Zone B and C, each up $5,000.

Zone A covers those Marines signing their first contract following their initial enlistment.

Zone B includes those with 6 to 10 years of active service, while Zone C covers Marines with 10 to 14 years of active service.

A final decision on the move isn’t expected until this summer and, if approved, won’t go into effect until October, when the new fiscal year begins, said 2nd Lt. Tom Dolan, a Marine Corps spokesman.

The decision is made by the deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs.

The potential increase is still less than the maximum standard re-enlistment bonuses offered by the other services, which max out at $60,000 as dictated by congressional mandates.

Some bonuses for specialties are higher still. Senior special forces troops can earn as much as $150,000 for re-enlisting.

The idea behind the proposed increase is to keep up with base pay increases that are causing some Marines to get stiffed in bonus money, Dolan said.

Here’s how it breaks down:

An E-4, for example, with three to four years in the Corps has a monthly base pay of $1,787. If he re-enlists for four years in a specialty receiving the Corps’ maximum multiple of five, he’d get a bonus of $35,742.

“Because the current Zone A maximum is $30,000, this Marine misses out $5,742, assuming he was in a tax-free zone,” said Dolan. If the bonus is taxed, it would be at the $30,000 maximum, lowering the total cash in pocket to about $22,000.

“It makes little sense to offer a Marine a multiple of five when he or she can’t receive the benefit of the higher multiple,” said Dolan.


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