Corps filling some GWOT billets with retirees

19 Apr 2004 | Staff Sgt. L.C. Holloway

The Marine Corps is looking for a few good retirees -- about 150, to be exact.

The commandant of the Marine Corps recently authorized the expanded use of the retired Marine population to help fill the more than 2,500 existing Global War on Terrorism-related billets, according to Lt. Col. Linda McGowan, deputy section head, Mobilization, Plans and Policy branch, Headquarters Marine Corps.

Retirees with experience in the intelligence, communications, public affairs, civil affairs, linguistics, logistics and administration fields are among the prime targets, McGowan said.

While reserve Marines remain valuable assets to the Marine Corps, retirees typically have the higher levels of rank, security clearances and relevant experience required to fill many of the GWOT billets, said McGowan.

Activating retirees is also more cost effective. When a retiree is mobilized, his retirement benefits stop for the duration of the mobilization, and he receives regular pay and allowances according to his grade and time in service. Compared to the cost of mobilizing a reserve Marines of the same grade, the Marine Corps saves money equal to the amount of the retired Marine's benefits, according to an approved Secretary of the Navy memorandum.

The intent is to maximize the use of our large pool of qualified and capable retirees who volunteer for active service, said Lt. Col. Jeffrey A. Riehl, officer-in-charge of sourcing, MPP branch.

"We currently have about 20 retirees retained or recalled to active duty serving in GWOT-related billets," said Riehl. "Retained" retirees are those who haven't yet left active duty, but upon reaching their scheduled retirement date remain in their current billet. Once their mobilization orders are complete, they will begin to collect retirement benefits, based on their original retirement date. In contrast, "recalled" retirees are those who retired as scheduled, began collecting retirement benefits, and then were mobilized to support GWOT. Upon completion of their mobilization orders, their retirement benefits are reinstated.

As far as their effect on the rest of the Marine Corps goes, retained and recalled retirees will count toward active duty end strength, said Riehl.  However, because of the anticipated small number of retiree activations, they won't negatively impact manpower plans, and, based on a SecNav waiver, they won't count toward controlled promotion tables either, he said.

Bernard McGowan, currently a project manager for the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center in Jacksonville, N.C., is a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who was one of the first in the "retired/recalled" category to be mobilized.

"I knew the Marine Corps was looking for folks with my (military occupational specialty) and I felt a call to duty, so I volunteered," he said.

After retiring in September 2000, McGowan was then mobilized for 179 days in January 2002. He served as the assistant chief of staff, G-6, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), Camp Lejeune, N.C.

"The Corps needed me, and I was glad to help out," he said.

To be qualified to serve, retirees must not have a medical disability rating or have been retired more than five years, added Riehl.

Retirees interested in volunteering should immediately submit their information via Reserve Duty OnLine (RDOL) at (A user ID and password can be obtained by registering on Marine OnLine at

Retirees or commands seeking retirees should contact Lt. Col. Jeffrey Riehl at (703) 432-9177/78, e-mail; or Master Sgt. Vincent Tate at (703) 784-9317, e-mail
Headquarters Marine Corps