8th Army offers incentives to those who stick around
SEOUL — Soldiers detained in South Korea by stop-loss orders could be offered bonuses if they volunteer to stay even longer.
At issue are six-month stop-movement orders the Army issued in late December and Jan. 23. Such orders extend tours beyond when they were supposed to end.
While no units on the peninsula are designated for stop-movement, soldiers here may not be able to rotate to their next duty station if replacements aren’t arriving from other units, Army officials said.
But options — in effect, deal sweeteners — are available if “stop-movement” orders force an extension here, said an 8th Army news release.
After the Jan. 23 announcement, 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Steve Boylan told Stars and Stripes that “there are provisions that allow us to request involuntary extension” for limited people and targeted jobs in Korea.
And, the release said, local commanders are working with the Army leaders to decide “whether … to implement a limited stop-move in Korea in the very near future.”
“We have an enduring commitment with the Republic of Korea to maintain the security of the peninsula and stability in the region, which may require the extension of some soldiers in Korea past their normal departure date,” 8th Army Commander Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell was quoted as saying in the release.
Soldiers involuntarily extended beyond their rotation date in South Korea can extend voluntarily for 12 months to take advantage of the Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Program (OTEIP), the release said.
The OTEIP offers four options:
Free round-trip air ticket to the servicemember’s home of record.30 days of free vacation (non-chargeable leave).Free round-trip air ticket to Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle and 15 days of free, or non-chargeable, vacation.A $2,000 bonus received on the first month of the extension.Regulations determine which option soldiers may choose.