MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Officials from Manpower and Reserve Affairs recently released a revised Voluntary Enlisted Early Release Program that provides eligible applicants an opportunity to exit military service up to one year ahead of their scheduled separation date.
Marine Administrative Message 371/12 promotes force shaping measures in accordance with budget cutbacks and personnel reduction plans.
Marines with an end of active service date within fiscal year 2013 (Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30, 2013) are eligible to utilize VEERP from 90 to 365 days before their original EAS, said Sgt. Cassandra Espinoza, a career planner with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Some eligibility requirements include the completion of the transition readiness seminar, not being stabilized for a deployment and being eligible for honorable or general (under honorable conditions) discharge.
"I'm using VEERP because I want to relax and let the transitional impact set in," said Cpl. Kayla M. Hermann, a combat photographer with H&S Bn., here.
Hermann is studying radiology at a local college and chose to take advantage of the early exit program to focus more of her time and effort on her studies.
Education is one of the main reasons Marines are taking advantage of VEERP rather than applying to other programs.
"School is the big reason,” said Espinoza. “Even though there is already a program for that, the early release for education, Marines see (VEERP) as an easy, no hassle way to get out early."
Unfortunately, not every Marine can take advantage of VEERP. Marines that are already on terminal leave, scheduled for transfer to the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve or retired list, indebted to the Marine Corps through pay or leave, or are engaged in the National Call To Service Program are ineligible for the program.
As a precaution, Marines experiencing symptoms from post traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries or are receiving a post deployment health evaluation are also ineligible for VEERP until that process is complete or a waiver of treatment evaluation is executed.
Fiscal year separations are not authorized, therefore, only those Marines with the EAS date of Sept. 30, 2013 can be granted the full one year early release. Marines hoping to participate in the program are encouraged to submit a request as soon as possible, keeping in mind that any request for separation more than 90 days early must be endorsed by the first general officer in the chain of command.
Marines separated under the authority of MARADMIN 371/12 will be considered as having completed their full active service enlistment and won't have enlistment bonuses recouped.
"If a Marine has (served active-duty) for more than six years and rates severance pay this early out program doesn't mean that he can’t submit for separations pay," said Espinoza. "If he rates it, he is entitled to it."
For more information about VEERP, see MARADMIN 371/12 on the website www.marines.mil or contact a career planner.