ARLINGTON, Va. — Marines serving seven-month deployments can now earn $250 per month for up to five months if they are extended.

The change should affect an estimated 1,500 Marines in Iraq who were extended as part of the troop buildup known as the “surge,” said Capt. Phillip Bonincontri, compensation policy chief for the Marine Corps.

In January, two Marine infantry battalions in Iraq were extended for about 60 days and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s deployment to Iraq was extended for 45 days as part of an increase in U.S. forces in Iraq.

Marines who were part of the “surge” and have since returned home must go through their chain of command to apply for the money, Bonincontri said Monday.

The new policy became effective March 16, according to a recent Corps-wide message, or MARADMIN.

The move does not indicate that the Corps plans to extend Marines now in Iraq or Afghanistan, Bonincontri said. Nor does the new policy mean that rotation lengths for Marines downrange will change.

Most Marines are deployed for seven months, with Marines at the regiment/group level or higher, such as headquarters elements, serving 12-month deployments. Those Marines are already eligible for $1,000 per month for up to three months if they are extended, Bonincontri said.

Commandant Gen. James Conway initiated the new policy, Bonincontri said.

“The intent is to provide compensation to members who as a result of operational requirements have been involuntarily extended beyond the original return date,” Bonincontri said.

Eligible Marines must be in the U.S. Central Command theater of operations or “other locations designated by the commandant,” the new policy says.

Under the policy, Marines receive the full $250 even if they are extended for only part of a month.

“If a unit/individual is involuntarily extended for 61 days, the total AIP (Assignment Incentive Pay) that is payable is $750 because the unit/individual exceeded 3 months of involuntary extension,” the policy says.

Marines cannot receive the compensation if they have already received money under a separate program that pays Marines $500 per month to stay in the Corps past the end of their active service when their unit is extended, the policy says.

Bonincontri told Stripes in February that only 20 Marines were eligible for the $500 per month compensation program.

For more information, see MARADMIN 397/07 at:

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