B-179334, APR 25, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 794

B-179334: Apr 25, 1974

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GRATUITIES - REENLISTMENT BONUS - CRITICAL MILITARY SKILLS - TRAINING IN RELATED SKILL IN SAME OCCUPATIONAL FIELD MARINE CORPS MEMBER SERVING IN A CRITICAL SKILL AT THE TIME OF HIS REENLISTMENT IS ENTITLED TO A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER 37 U.S.C. 308(G) NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE REENLISTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING TRAINED AND SERVING IN A NEW CRITICAL SKILL SINCE SUCH NEW SKILL WAS WITHIN THE SAME OCCUPATIONAL FIELD AS THE OLD SKILL AND THE NEW SKILL WOULD REQUIRE THE USE OF THE OLD SKILL PLUS ADDITIONAL TRAINING AND. 1974: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER (FILE REFERENCE 430:RSM:CDS 7200) FROM MR. IS ENTITLED TO A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS INCIDENT TO HIS REENLISTMENT IN THE MARINE CORPS ON JUNE 22.

B-179334, APR 25, 1974, 53 COMP GEN 794

GRATUITIES - REENLISTMENT BONUS - CRITICAL MILITARY SKILLS - TRAINING IN RELATED SKILL IN SAME OCCUPATIONAL FIELD MARINE CORPS MEMBER SERVING IN A CRITICAL SKILL AT THE TIME OF HIS REENLISTMENT IS ENTITLED TO A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS UNDER 37 U.S.C. 308(G) NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE REENLISTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING TRAINED AND SERVING IN A NEW CRITICAL SKILL SINCE SUCH NEW SKILL WAS WITHIN THE SAME OCCUPATIONAL FIELD AS THE OLD SKILL AND THE NEW SKILL WOULD REQUIRE THE USE OF THE OLD SKILL PLUS ADDITIONAL TRAINING AND, THUS, THE OLD SKILL WOULD CONTINUE TO BE UTILIZED AND NOT LOST TO THE MARINE CORPS.

IN THE MATTER OF ENTITLEMENT OF VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS, APRIL 25, 1974:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER (FILE REFERENCE 430:RSM:CDS 7200) FROM MR. R.S. MUZA, DISBURSING OFFICER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS SUPPLY ACTIVITY, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER SERGEANT ROBERT C. RADLE, USMC, XXX-XX-XXXX, IS ENTITLED TO A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS INCIDENT TO HIS REENLISTMENT IN THE MARINE CORPS ON JUNE 22, 1973. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS LETTER DATED JULY 31, 1973 (FILE REFERENCE CD-WSD 7220/4) AND HAS BEEN ASSIGNED CONTROL NUMBER DO-MC-1200 BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MILITARY PAY AND ALLOWANCES COMMITTEE.

THE SUBMISSION STATES THAT AT THE TIME SERGEANT RADLE REENLISTED, HE HELD THE MILITARY OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALTY (MOS) OF 2851, AVIATION RADIO REPAIRMAN. HOWEVER, PRIOR TO AND CONTINGENT ON HIS REENLISTMENT THE MARINE CORPS AUTHORIZED HIS ASSIGNMENT TO COURSES OF INSTRUCTION LEADING TO HIS ESTABLISHMENT OF AND SERVICE IN MOS 2861, RADIO TECHNICIAN. THAT ASSIGNMENT WAS EFFECTED 3 DAYS AFTER HIS REENLISTMENT. AT THE TIME OF SERGEANT RADLE'S REENLISTMENT, BOTH MOS 2851 AND MOS 2861 WERE DESIGNATED AS CRITICAL SKILLS ELIGIBLE FOR A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS AT THE "MULTIPLE 4" LEVEL.

SINCE SERGEANT RADLE WAS REENLISTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING TRAINED AND SERVING IN MOS 2861 AND NOT MOS 2851, THE CRITICAL SKILL HE HELD AT THE TIME OF HIS REENLISTMENT AND UPON WHICH HIS VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS WAS TO BE BASED, THE DISBURSING OFFICER EXPRESSES DOUBT AS TO HIS ENTITLEMENT TO SUCH A BONUS. THE HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS TRANSMITTAL LETTER INDICATES THAT SUCH DOUBT APPARENTLY STEMS FROM OUR DECISION 52 COMP. GEN. 416 (1973), IN WHICH WE EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT WHERE IT IS KNOWN AT THE TIME OF REENLISTMENT THAT THE MEMBER IS NOT TO BE UTILIZED IN THE CRITICAL SKILL WHICH HE POSSESSES AND UPON WHICH THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS IS BASED, THE PURPOSE OF THE BONUS IS DEFEATED AND NO ENTITLEMENT TO IT ACCRUES, WHETHER OR NOT THE NEW SKILL IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS TO BE TRAINED AND SERVE IS A CRITICAL SKILL.

HOWEVER, ENCLOSED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S LETTER IS A LINE-FLOW DIAGRAM FROM MARINE CORPS ORDER P1200.7B (MOS MANUAL) THAT REFLECTS PROMOTIONAL PROGRESSION AND SKILL RELATIONSHIPS IN OCCUPATIONAL FIELD 28, TELECOMMUNICATIONS MAINTENANCE, WHICH FIELD INCLUDES BOTH MOS 2851 AND MOS 2861. AS IS STATED IN THE TRANSMITTAL LETTER, THAT DIAGRAM INDICATES THAT MOS'S 2851-53 NORMALLY PROGRESS TO MOS'S 2861-66 UPON ADVANCEMENT IN GRADE AND COMPLETION OF ADDITIONAL TRAINING. ALSO, THE DESCRIPTION OF THE DUTIES ASSOCIATED WITH MOS 2861 APPARENTLY EMBRACES ALL THE DUTIES OF MOS 2851 AND IN ADDITION REQUIRES HIGHER LEVEL AND MORE EXTENSIVE SKILLS. THE TRANSMITTAL LETTER STATES, THEREFORE, THAT IN VIEW OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MOS 2851 AND 2861 IT IS NOT CERTAIN THAT THE PRINCIPLE STATED IN 52 COMP. GEN. 416, SUPRA, APPLIES IN THIS CASE. IN FACT IT IS INDICATED THAT IT COULD BE CONSIDERED THAT SERGEANT RADLE WILL CONTINUE TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF THE CRITICAL SKILL HE POSSESSED AT THE TIME OF REENLISTMENT AND ON WHICH HIS VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS WOULD BE BASED EVEN THOUGH SUCH DUTIES ARE PERFORMED UNDER A DIFFERENT MOS, AND HE WILL ALSO BE REQUIRED TO UTILIZE HIGHER LEVEL SKILLS IN THE NEW MOS.

THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS IS AUTHORIZED BY 37 U.S.C. 308(G) WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

(G) UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE *** A MEMBER WHO IS DESIGNATED AS HAVING A CRITICAL MILITARY SKILL AND WHO IS ENTITLED TO A BONUS COMPUTED UNDER SUBSECTION (A) OF THIS SECTION UPON HIS FIRST REENLISTMENT MAY BE PAID AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT NOT MORE THAN FOUR TIMES THE AMOUNT OF THAT BONUS. ***

IN 47 COMP. GEN. 414 (1968), WE HELD THAT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS THEN IN EFFECT, ISSUED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 308(G), CONTEMPLATED PAYMENT OF THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS ONLY TO A MEMBER WHO POSSESSES A MILITARY SKILL IN CRITICALLY SHORT SUPPLY, AS AN INDUCEMENT TO REENLIST FOR THE PURPOSE OF RETAINING THE USE OF HIS SERVICE IN SUCH SPECIALTY, WHICH WAS PRECISELY THE INTENT OF CONGRESS IN AUTHORIZING THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS. ACCORDINGLY, WE HELD IN 52 COMP. GEN. 416 THAT A MARINE CORPS MEMBER WHO AT THE TIME OF HIS REENLISTMENT WAS QUALIFIED AND SERVING IN MOS 0351, ANTITANK ASSAULTMAN, A CRITICAL SKILL, WAS NOT ENTITLED TO A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS WHEN IT WAS KNOWN PRIOR TO HIS REENLISTMENT THAT UPON REENLISTING HIS MOS WAS TO BE CHANGED AND HE WAS TO BE TRAINED IN A NEW AND TOTALLY DIFFERENT SKILL (OCCUPATIONAL FIELD 21, ARMAMENT REPAIR) AND WAS NOT TO BE UTILIZED IN THE CRITICAL SKILL WHICH HE POSSESSED AT THE TIME OF REENLISTMENT AND UPON WHICH HIS BONUS WAS TO HAVE BEEN BASED.

THAT DECISION IS CONSISTENT WITH OTHER DECISIONS IN WHICH WE HAVE REPEATEDLY HELD, IN EFFECT, THAT THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS IS A FORM OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR INDIVIDUALS SERVING IN THE CRITICAL MILITARY SKILLS AND, WHILE PAYMENT OF THE BONUS IS NOT AFFECTED BY SUBSEQUENT DUTY CHANGES, THE REENLISTMENT MUST BE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONTINUING TO SERVE IN SUCH CRITICAL SKILL. THUS, WE HAVE HELD THAT NO ENTITLEMENT TO THE BONUS ACCRUED TO ENLISTED MEMBERS WHO HAD BEEN SELECTED FOR COLLEGE TRAINING LEADING TO COMMISSIONING AS OFFICERS WHO REENLISTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF MEETING OBLIGATED SERVICE REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCH TRAINING (47 COMP. GEN. 414, SUPRA); TO AN ENLISTED MEMBER WHO WAS DISCHARGED AND REENLISTED WHILE UNDERGOING TRAINING IN AN OFFICER CANDIDATE SCHOOL PROGRAM (48 COMP. GEN. 624 (1969)); TO AN ENLISTED MEMBER WHO HAD BEEN TENTATIVELY APPOINTED A RESERVE OFFICER PRIOR TO HIS REENLISTMENT (49 COMP. GEN. 206 (1969)); OR TO AN ENLISTED MEMBER REENLISTED WHILE UNDERGOING TRAINING IN A PROGRAM SUCH AS THE NAVAL ACADEMY PREPARATORY SCHOOL DESIGNED TO AID ENLISTED MEMBERS TO ATTEND AND GRADUATE FROM THE NAVAL ACADEMY AND SERVE AS OFFICERS IN THE NAVY (52 COMP. GEN. 572 (1973)).

HOWEVER, IN 51 COMP. GEN. 3 (1971), WE RECOGNIZED THAT IN SOME INSTANCES FURTHER TRAINING OF MEMBERS POSSESSING CRITICAL SKILLS MAY BE DESIRABLE IN THOSE SKILLS AFTER REENLISTMENT. IN THAT DECISION WE AUTHORIZED PAYMENT OF THE VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS TO A MEMBER WHO REENLISTED TO ACQUIRE NECESSARY OBLIGATED ACTIVE DUTY REMAINING TO ENABLE HIM TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MARINE CORPS ASSOCIATE DEGREE COMPLETION PROGRAM. THERE, WE SAID THAT WHERE A MAJOR COURSE OF STUDY PURSUED IS REASONABLY RELATED TO THE MEMBER'S CRITICAL SKILL AND WHERE IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT UPON COMPLETION OF THOSE STUDIES HE WILL RESUME HIS DUTY IN THE SAME SKILL IN WHICH HE PERFORMED PRIOR TO HIS ASSIGNMENT TO THE TRAINING PROGRAM, THE BONUS IS AUTHORIZED.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE MEMBER, WHILE NOT RETAINING EXACTLY THE SAME MOS HE HELD AT REENLISTMENT, WILL REMAIN IN THE SAME OCCUPATIONAL FIELD (28- TELECOMMUNICATIONS MAINTENANCE). IT IS INDICATED THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO UTILIZE THE CRITICAL SKILL HE HELD AT THE TIME OF HIS REENLISTMENT, BUILDING UPON SUCH SKILL WITH ADDITIONAL TRAINING TO BECOME MORE HIGHLY SKILLED IN THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS MAINTENANCE FIELD AND ADVANCE IN GRADE. THUS, HIS CRITICAL SKILL WILL NOT BE LOST TO THE MARINE CORPS BUT WILL BE MORE FULLY UTILIZED AS HE RECEIVES FURTHER TRAINING AND ADVANCES WITHIN HIS OCCUPATIONAL FIELD. THIS CASE, THEREFORE, DIFFERS MATERIALLY FROM THE SITUATION IN 52 COMP. GEN. 416, SUPRA, WHEREIN IT WAS CONTEMPLATED PRIOR TO REENLISTMENT THAT AFTER REENLISTMENT THE MEMBER WOULD BE TRAINED AND SERVE IN A NEW SKILL APPARENTLY UNRELATED TO THE SKILL WHICH HE HELD AT REENLISTMENT AND, THUS, SUCH OLD SKILL WOULD BE LOST TO THE SERVICE AND THE TRAINING OF A REPLACEMENT REQUIRED.

THEREFORE, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE WE SEE NO BAR TO THE PAYMENT OF A VARIABLE REENLISTMENT BONUS. ACCORDINGLY, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, PAYMENT ON THE BONUS, MULTIPLE 4, MAY BE MADE TO SERGEANT RADLE.