USS PELELIU, At Sea (NNS) -- Approximately $500,000 in Selective Re-enlistment Bonuses (SRBs) has been paid out to Sailors aboard USS Peleliu (LHA 5) who have decided to "Stay Navy" during the past four months.
The group of 33 Sailors took advantage of the fact that the ship was operating in the tax-free zone of the U.S. 5th Fleet's area of operation from June 13 until Sept. 23 when making their decision to re-enlist.
Senior Chief Navy Career Counselor (SW/AW) Rita Carman, Peleliu's senior career counselor, explained SRBs are a market-based incentive allowing enlisted community managers to strategically adjust award levels as retention needs change.
"This program is one of the Navy's best career incentives," said Carman. "The SRB program enhances the Navy's ability to size, shape and stabilize the force by using a monetary incentive to encourage Sailors with critical skills and valuable experience to 'Stay Navy'."
Prior to receiving an SRB, Sailors must meet certain pre-qualifications such as required job certification and certain job-specific training that make them essential to the Navy's mission.
Peleliu Command Master Chief (SW/SS) Brent Williams noted it is important that the Navy use the SRB program to keep quality Sailors in uniform.
"It allows us to retain the much needed talent that it takes to keep the Navy operating," said Williams. "Not to have the SRB or any incentives for that matter, would allow the civilian sector to take more Sailors than they do now. The bonuses allow us to ensure that we maintain the qualified and much needed personnel; I wish we could give more bonuses to more rates across the board."
Sailors who made the decision to re-enlist said the SRB incentives made their choice very easy.
"It feels awesome," said Intelligence Specialist 2nd Class Martin Lopez, who received a $45,000 tax-free SRB. "It's very comforting to know my financial worries are now gone. I plan to pay off bills, put some into TSP [Thrift Savings Plan], and save the rest for some business investments."
Peleliu is the flag ship of the Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group (PELESG) and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit which is conducting operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The PELESG departed San Diego May 4 on a scheduled deployment.
For more news from USS Peleliu - Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group, visit www.navy.mil/local/lha5/.