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Fun with Navy Reserve billets
Old 11-22-2007, 01:50 PM   #1
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Fun with Navy Reserve billets

Spouse has spent a significant portion of her masochistic career dealing with personnel requirements. She can sling Navy lingo with the best of them and we've had many enjoyable "BUPERS efficiency reviews" where we've contorted exerted our utmost exploitation of the system to survive "rightsizing".

So there was much cynical snickering last month when Scrooge Commander Navy Reserve Force announced that, out of the goodness of their hearts and in their wholesome spirit of the holiday season, the Reserve officers who didn't win a billet for next year will be permitted to remain in a pay status for one more year. These Cratchits valued servicemembers won't have to languish in the Volunteer Training Unit, drill for points (but no pay), or scrabble for crumbs of active duty. Heck, no, they'll be eligible to drill for full pay as long as they stay eligibile for worldwide mobilization and maybe they'll get their careers back on track at next year's billet-selection board! As Telly Savalas used to say, "Stay Navy, baby!!"

Notwithstanding the soft-pedaled prospect of a no-notice one-year individual augmentee gig, did I mention that their pay status also entitles Scrooge & Marley Reserve HQ to announce that end strength is holding up, despite all the scurrilous rumors about people transferring to the IRR or even retiring?

As part of the Law of Unintended Consequences, these billet manipulations have inspired the inmates' popular pastime of gaming the system. For example my spouse holds one of three local billets of the same duty type. After five years of applying for them, she earned her billet this year when its incumbent finished his term and was required to take a one-year break. He was resigned to retirement (not the VTU, augh!) but the news that he's entitled to a year's pay has encouraged him to stay on as the 4th guy of a three-box diagram.

Encouraged by that example, a second incumbent won a one-year extension to his own three-year billet. Now other hot-running Reservists can't compete for that billet until the deadwood highly-trained and experienced veteran is good & ready to leave it. The third incumbent just applied for his extension, too, secure in the knowledge that he'll get paid whether he wins or loses.

Spouse is still in year one of three so she hasn't been tweaking, but these other three amigos would keep those billets locked up for the next decade if they didn't have to retire at 30 years of service. They were bemoaning this cutoff because some of them lead a very materialistic consumerism post-divorce lifestyle, and their Reserve retirement would mean a loss of at least 20% of their income with no more civilian-pay-differential on their active-duty days.

They were all at a meeting last week when one of them turned to spouse and said "So, have you filed your extension yet? Because you could extend in this billet, then apply for that billet, then do another thing, and before you know it you'll be at 30! And imagine if the new 40-year pay tables let us stay for another 10 years!!"

Spouse said "I think we have enough money-- we won the game in the third quarter and we're just running up the score. I'll have over 26 years when my billet runs out in 2009, and I'm getting a little tired of all the hassles, so I think I'll just retire then."

By their reactions you would have thought that she was feeding $100 bills into the shredder-- now she's afraid they're going to kidnap us for an intervention.

I think we have plenty to be thankful for this season...

Co-author (with my daughter) of “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

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Old 11-22-2007, 03:24 PM   #2
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In the late 70s I was in the process of having the the Padre bless me and turn me from an enlisted to an officer. Finally pulled the plug after evaluating all the crap (politics, travel at your own expense across the country for points only, etc) and still have a difficult time putting in at least 20 good years. Stayed enlisted. They kept me even through downsizing until after 38 years total active plus reserve.
Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. That's my story and I am sticking to it.
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