I’m going to try not to make this a long story…
Like many IAs, I had assumed that I would recover 100% of my shore duty time for my Iraqi troubles. That had long been touted as a promise on the FAQ lists of official IA sources. Therefore, I had assumed that I would receive an eight month extension to cushy billet, upon which time I would gracefully resign from the Naval Service – forever cementing my legacy in the annals of naval lore. Well, I am an idiot.
In June of this year, I informed my detailer of my desire to exercise my extension. He told me I just needed to submit a request… no deadline or sense of urgency was revealed to me. It seemed a mere formality.
On Thursday of last week, the nomination package for my replacement was delivered to my command. He will be here in May to facilitate my August rotation. I called the detailer and told him that he needs to contact this unlucky officer immediately; let him know that his Helo Bubba Placement Officer placed him in a job that wasn’t available. Sucks to be him… but he probably didn’t just get back from a 10-month IA, so while I’m sympathetic, I can stomach a small amount of discomfort on his part in order to prevent my life from turning upside down. I was sure my detailer would agree… He did not.
He told me that while I was still welcome to submit my request, it would likely be denied since my job was promised to another person. Clearly, this was entirely my fault; why hadn’t I submitted this letter already? Didn’t I know the rules? Hadn’t I read the applicable chapters in MILPERSMAN chapter 13?
Sadly, I had only read through chapter 12 of MILPERSMAN, and I did not know the rules. But I do now. The MILPERSMAN is not really the issue… the real article is called NAVADMIN 273/06. If you are a returning IA, you need to read this thing but for the purposes of brevity let me summarize. The 100% extension promise only applies to enlisted personnel. For officers, the text reads as follows:
“OFFICER IAS COMING FROM SHORE DUTY: DETAILERS WILL CONTACT THE OFFICER TO DISCUSS OPTIONS WITH REGARD TO CAREER PROGRESSION, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND TOUR LENGTHS TO MAXIMIZE THE LENGTH OF A SHORE DUTY EXTENSION WHILE KEEPING THE OFFICER’S CAREER ON TRACK TO ACHIEVE ALL COMMUNITY MILESTONES.”
Read as follows: I am not entitled to shit. So here are my options:
1. Negotiate another sea-duty.
2. Resign in August 2010 vice May 2011.
3. Negotiate another IA/GSA deployment.
I have some hope; the guy who has been promised my billet will be offered other available NROTC billets. If he accepts, I’m good. If he declines, I’m fucked.
Do I feel like I’ve been screwed? Yes I do. However, I accept that I had a hand in screwing myself. If I have to choose from the options above, I’ll take number 2. If anyone knows a company in the New York City area that needs a good man around September, please let me know.
I’ll keep you posted.