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Mideast edition, Sunday, September 23, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps has increased extra pay offered to pilots to extend their time in the Corps but dropped pay for naval flight officers, who control electronic and weapons systems in an aircraft.

The Corps announced the changes to its Aviation Continuation Pay program recently. The program gives aviators extra money each year if they extend their commitment, according to a Marine Corps Administrative Message.

For fiscal 2008, the maximum extra pay for fixed-wing, rotary-wing and tilt-rotor pilots has been increased from $18,000 to $20,000 per year, said Maj. Dan Smith, the aviation officer planner at Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

“This program is reviewed annually and adjustments are made based upon the best interests of the Marine Corps,” Smith said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The bonus is available to captains, majors and majors-select who extend for 36 months or longer to reach 16 years’ commissioned service, the message said.

Bonuses for captains who extend for 24 months or longer to reach 13 years of commissioned service remains at a maximum of $10,000.

Meanwhile, the extra pay for naval flight officers has been reduced from $7,000 per year to $5,000 for servicemembers who sign long-term contracts, and dropped from $3,000 per year to $2,500 for short-term contracts, Smith said.

The reason for the decrease is the Corps has more naval flight officers than it needs, Smith said.

About 320 Marine aviators are eligible for the extra pay.

The Corps hopes 198 extend their service through the program.

“With the growth that is occurring in aviation coupled with the extensive cost and time-to-train associated with training an aviator, it is in our best interest to maximize the retention of our aviation officers,” he said.

For more information, go to MARADMIN 551/07 at: www.usmc.mil.

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