July 19, 2012

Good bye everybody, I’ve got to go

Cpl. Jolene Bopp
Desert Warrior Staff

Every enlistment must come to an end at some point or another, the question is, when is the right time? I thought I had everything planned out, then I received an email about the Voluntary Enlisted Early Release Program and I feel as though I’ve been thrown a curve ball.

The VEERP provides Marines within the fiscal year the option of getting out before their end of active service date. For example, my current EAS date is November 13, 2012. The VEERP would allow FY13 Marines to end their enlistment as early as October 1, with terminal leave, a Marine could be gone before then.

For some Marines, this could be helpful if they would like to start college in the fall semester, usually beginning in August. For others, it could mean being able to take the job they are hoping will stay available until they get out. If a Marine has a lack of terminal leave available, this could put them between a rock and a hard place.

On one hand, a Marine could finish their enlistment, move on, and try to get a job until they start classes. This would mean finding a job right away and possibly only working for approximately four months until school starts. In today’s job market, depending on what your specialty is, this could be near impossible, especially if you’re planning on staying in Yuma, which has the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

As a mother of a 16 month old and a wife of a Marine, this provides a couple additional challenges. On top of losing half of our household income, he could possibly be reassigned in the middle of everything. I could find a job and a month later have to move and start the process over again. I could be a stay-at-home mom for a while. Now, now be nice, I know what you are thinking, but that would mean losing out on some things to ensure financial responsibility.

Before considering VEERP, it would be beneficial to look at financial situations before chomping at the bit for this opportunity. If savings could last until plans can start, whether it is a job or school, this is a great chance to get settled into the civilian life. If you’re going to be scrounging through couch cushions to try and make sure bills are paid, you may want to take a little more time and consider all options. Figure out how much is spent on bills and fun, then determine if there is anything that could be sacrificed if need be and decide if it is worth it.

Aside from individual personal advantages and disadvantages, what about the rest of the shop? If a Marine from a small shop is thinking about getting out early, what will it do to everyone else? If the Marines position is abandoned early, they will not receive a replacement for that Marine until their original EAS. This could leave the shop in quite the predicament, leaving everyone else to pick up the abandoned work load.

Talk with a trusted co-worker or a staff non-commissioned officer about the best options for you. The request could potentially be denied if the shop is really short staffed. If your VEERP is approved, try not to be a complete buddy. I mean blue falcon. Ensure someone else is up to date on what needs to be done to keep things running smoothly, this way everyone is a winner.

All in all, if finances are set, a plan or two is in motion and you’re ready to take the next big step toward your future, there is really no reason not to apply. This is a great opportunity that not many people get. Like the rest of military benefits, use it to your advantage.

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