The Marine Corp’s “re-enlistment intent” has hit a three-year low as more Marines are leaving the service as they become increasingly unhappy about their post-war duties and compensation.
In the service’s annual retention survey– which was obtained by Marine Corps Times— 38 percent of the 4,200 respondents indicated they were “unlikely to sign on for another term”, indicating the desire for opportunities in the civilian sector.
That’s up from 31 percent in 2013 and 33 percent in 2014, according to the Times article. There were many factors involved in this percentage increase. Aside from the loss of “meaty war-time retention bonuses,” a desire to attend college was another factor for those deciding to leave military service.
Sgt. Tim Kluska, a refrigeration and air conditioning technician, said Marines are getting out due to lack of purpose. “They get taught in boot camp to kill, but then get to the fleet and file paperwork and work on computers — including combat support jobs, not just admin.”
“First-term Marines who joined the Corps while the service was at war are instead having to do more mundane tasks like formation, uniform inspections,” the staff sergeant said. Many Marines, who signed up while the Corps was still deploying into combat, did not consider what military life would be like once that stopped, he added.
Marine veteran Sgt. Brandon Garabedian, who left the Marine Corps in 2007, warned: “The grass on the civilian side is not, I repeat not, greener…You lose out on real friendships … and your time in the Corps is not as valued as everyone will make you believe.”
“It’s important not to oversimplify,” said Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for the command. “…The Marine Corps offers pay, benefits and opportunities for advancement that are competitive in today’s economy.”
But Carlock said: “While many of today’s Marines joined with an eye toward serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, the Corps is still very actively deploying forces worldwide as part of special purpose Marine air-ground task forces, Marine expeditionary units, the unit deployment program, and sending many Marines to locations as individual augments as well.”
As a result of the recent survey, the service is scrambling to “retain top talent.” Military leaders are now trying to come up with innovative ways to motivate “standout service members” to remain in uniform. Defense Secretary Ash Carter is working on a plan which would, among other things, base more promotions on “one’s merit instead of time in grade.”