Welcome to the New Year…
After almost 27 years in the Marine Corps (joined in 1986) with a six year break in the IRR, I thought that maybe I should retire or at least think about it since I was going on my 22nd “Sat Year” according to my MOL CRCR report.
Well, last April I looked into transferring my education benefits to my children since I rated the Post 9-11 education with the tours over in Iraq and Afghanistan. I remembered they changed that law back in ’09 that you could do this but didn’t really explore that option since I planned reviewing that when I put my papers in.
You can imagine my surprise when I found out that I now incurred an additional three year commitment to receive this awesome benefit. Yeah, actually it was a mixture of anger at myself for not reviewing the new order like I should have and some serious disbelief.
I made calls to Marine Corps Man Power and Reserve Affairs, then all the way to OSD looking for a waiver. I found out that there are no waivers to this and it’s so discombobulated that you have to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
So let me enlighten you all as to what will happen when you are thinking about putting in your papers…
First, if you are eligible to enter this program, do it RIGHT NOW, don’t wait one single minute. Go Google “How do I transfer my college education benefits to my children” that will take you to the OSD/DOD website where you will sign up for this. Sign up and put how much you want for your spouse or kids to get and hit enter. That will then go to a Major up at M&RA who approves it and you get a notice back telling you of your new drop dead date of when you can retire. The OSD website gives you a notice of yes you are enrolled and when your new separation date is.
Then you have to fill out “Post 9-11 educational Benefits transferability commitment and SOU” form. You have to initial your form, have your CO sign it and then have it entered into your OMPF. A good contact for that would be Gunny Washington (Washington GySgt Tracy A <firstname.lastname@example.org) and once it’s in your record you are set.
Now for the gotchas that I see:
You have to stay in a paid IMA or SMCR unit for the next three years or (four if you are active duty )and as a reservist, you can’t have ONE day in the IRR. Let me repeat this, you cannot have ONE SINGLE DAY IN THE IRR in between jobs or this venture is null and void.
What drove me nuts is that I have served that time since ’09 when the law was made but they don’t take in account time served. Also if you are retired, it’s too late you can’t go back. So you have to do this now.
So, to my fellow Service members (all branches) if you are close to retirement, get this done now so that the rest of your time runs concurrent with your commitment.
Just my thought for the day so that you start this New Year out on the right path and not frustrated… Good Luck and Semper Fi,