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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy is offering some sailors between $500 and $750 per month to extend sea duty or cut short their time ashore.

About 1,400 sailors will be eligible for the Sea Duty Incentive Pay pilot program over the next 18 to 24 months, said Jeri Busch, head of military pay and compensation policy.

The Navy hopes that between 50 percent and 75 percent of the eligible sailors take the incentive, said Busch, who serves on the staff of the chief of naval personnel.

Under the program, the following sailors are eligible for the bonus:

E-9 aviation boatswain’s mates.E-8 aviation boatswain’s mates (launching and recovery equipment).E-8 aviation boatswain’s mates (fuels).E-8 aviation boatswain’s mates (aircraft handling).E-6 engineman.E-5 fire controlmen for Aegis cruisers in Navy Enlisted Classifications 1106, 1107, 1115, 1119, 1143, 1144, 1318, 1322, 1335, and 1337.The ratings listed were chosen for the pilot program because they present “at-sea manning challenges,” Busch said.

The move comes as the Navy is deploying more sailors in shallow water assignments, such as riverine duty, or far inland, such as individual augmentees for ground forces in the U.S. Central Command theater of operations.

“Even with the Navy’s efforts to support … ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we still have our worldwide missions,” Busch said. “And in that regard we still need to achieve balance between our assignments ashore and permanent assignments at sea.”

According to a Navy Administrative Announcement this week, eligible sailors can receive the bonus in a lump sum, with sailors outside the continental United States able to extend up to 36 months.

Busch said the Navy will release in the near future exactly how much money sailors in each of those ratings will receive.

Service officials also will work to assign forward-deployed sailors on shore duty or at sea to the same geographical region they are in.

For more information, sailors can view Navy NAVADMIN 070/07 at: www.npc.navy.mil.

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