Enlisted sailors currently accepting orders to most commands in Naples, Italy, and Sigonella, Sicily, will no longer have their tours counted as sea duty, but will receive a little extra in their paychecks.

Starting this week, sailors accepting orders to shore duty in either location, or Misawa, Japan, will receive an additional monthly bonus under the Navy’s new assignment incentive program, or AIP. Misawa is already considered shore duty but is one of the three AIP test locations.

When applying for any of the three test locations, sailors will be able to bid an amount not more than $450 a month for which they’d be willing to serve.

At the end of the weeklong cycle in which orders are listed, the sailor who is best qualified for the position and has the lowest “bid” will most likely get the orders.

Traditionally, Naples and Sigonella were considered sea duty as an incentive for sailors to accept these hard-to-fill billets.

Until the change, sailors could opt for orders to commands in the two locations instead of serving sea time on a ship. Sailors are required to rotate between shore and sea duty in regular intervals determined by their job specialties.

Chief Petty Officer Dwight Scott, of the Military Sealift Command staff in Naples, thinks the incentive program will be a good deal.

“I’m all for the change,” he said. “Who can’t use the extra money?”

All personnel currently assigned, or already ordered, to the affected commands will have their term counted as sea duty.

“I’m thinking that, when I’m eligible to roll from my command, I’ll apply for AIP and stay here,” Scott said.

He believes that many senior enlisted personnel wanting orders to either Italian location will take them, whether sea or shore duty.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Melissa Kesil, of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station in Naples, said she would have gone to Naples either way, but many junior personnel would not.

“Many people are afraid to come overseas,” the five-year Navy veteran said. “Most of these people come overseas to avoid sea duty [on a ship].

“I wanted to come here,” Kesil said of her transfer to Naples last November. “I would have come here even if I made less money; I’d sacrifice. This is a free two-year tour in Europe.”

According to Navy officials, the three test areas will determine the feasibility of AIP for other locations. The test is expected to take around two years.

A list of affected commands within Naples and Sigonella is available at:

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