Second involuntary extension order in S. Korea
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — About 1,800 enlisted soldiers and warrant officers will spend 90 days longer than planned in South Korea following a Monday announcement of a second involuntary extension order.
Affected are soldiers in 110 job specialties whose departure dates were to have ranged from June 1 to Aug. 30. Not affected are soldiers and warrant officers covered by the 90-day extension issued Feb. 24. The order also does not apply to soldiers scheduled to retire or complete their enlistment.
Those affected were notified Friday through their units, said Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, 8th Army spokesman. Soldiers with orders for another duty station still will go there after the 90-day extension, he said.
Soldiers deemed in mission-critical job specialties have been tagged, Boylan said. One more involuntary extension may be possible after Aug. 30, he said, “depending on how fast the Army gets back in track from worldwide deployments.”
This extension was implemented to head off personnel shortages, said Lt. Gen. Charles C. Campbell, 8th Army commander.
“The readiness of 8th Army is absolutely critical, and we will maintain our personnel strength at the readiness rates to ensure that we are prepared to accomplish all missions,” Campbell said in a press release.
About 2,800 soldiers were affected by the previous extension, which targeted some soldiers scheduled to leave South Korea from May 1 to May 31. That extension affected soldiers in more than 80 job specialties.
Soldiers whose tours are being extended for 90 days, and who opt to extend their tour for another nine months — for a total of another 12-month tour in South Korea — are eligible for the Overseas Tour Incentive Program. Soldiers on two-year tours who extend for another two years also are eligible.
Incentive options include a free round-trip ticket to the servicemember’s hometown, 30 extra days of leave, a round-trip ticket to Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle plus 15 days of extra, nonchargeable leave or a $2,000 bonus given within the first month of the extension.
Soldiers affected by the second extension are not eligible to request another duty station. Under a program announced last month, some soldiers due to leave South Korea from June through September could request a new duty station until April 30.