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ARLINGTON, Va. — Enlisted Navy hospital corpsmen will not be able to separate or retire from the service because the Navy has enacted its stop-loss policy to keep those sailors on the job.

The targeted stop loss affects only those hospital corpsmen with navy enlisted classification code 8404 (field medical service technician) in pay grades E-1 through E-6, according to a Navy press release.

The measure could affect between 300 and 500 corpsmen who had plans to leave the Navy between now and December.

“We don’t have and exact figure on this,” said Cmdr. John Kirby, bureau of personnel spokesman. “We’re basing that figure on historical retention figures and it’s hard to give an exact number.”

The Navy has authorization to enact stop loss for a total 16 jobs, covering skill sets in the anti-terrorism, force protection, cryptologic technician, and explosive ordnance disposal. If stop loss is enacted for those fields, it could impede up to 5,270 officers and sailors from leaving the Navy as scheduled.

“We are constantly reviewing manpower requirements and we don’t have a timetable for implementation” for the other 15 jobs, Kirby said.

“In fact, we may never implement them. We wanted the authority to impose it rapidly if we need to. If we don’t have to, we far prefer that.”

Stop loss will not affect sailors who are on separation or retirement leave, who have shipped household goods, are on active duty for special work and one-year recall, or who are within 21 days of their separation or retirement date, a press release states. Waivers to the policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

On March 14, the Air Force enacted stop loss for 99 jobs, a move that could affect up to 21,000 airmen in 43 officer and 56 enlisted specialties by the end of the year.

On Feb. 20, the Army announced active-duty soldiers whose units are part of the war plan involving Iraq would be prevented from voluntarily leaving the service. The units and numbers of soldiers are not releasable to the public.

On Jan. 7, the Marine Corps enacted both stop loss and stop move across the service. Under the current policy, the policy applies to all Marines active duty and reserve and affects roughly 14,000 Marines.


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