NAVAL AIR STATION KINGSVILLE, Texas (NNS) -- Four Naval Air Station (NAS) Kingsville Sailors not selected for retention by the Enlisted Retention Board (ERB) are now looking at their options, and what the Navy is doing to help with that process.
"The ERB looked at 31 ratings and Sailors in those ratings that had more than seven years service, but less than 15, as of Oct. 1, 2011," said Chief Navy Counselor (AW/SW) Minerva Verley, NAS Kingsville's career counselor.
The first step for separating Sailors is to obtain a DD Form 2648, Preseparation Counseling Checklist for Active Component Service Members from their command career counselor. The counselor goes over the form with the Sailors to ensure they are aware of the assistance and benefits available to them.
The checklist covers employment assistance, relocation assistance, education, training, health and life insurance, finances, and veterans benefits among other items.
The next stop is the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC).
The FFSC offers transition assistance classes, among other services for departing service members. Transition assistance is one of Ramon Panganiban's chief responsibilities, at the NAS Kingsville FFSC.
"Many of the Sailors I see are really stressed out, especially the ERB Sailors," Panganiban said. "Many of them came into the Navy straight from high school and have spent the past 12 to 14 years in their current career field. This, the Navy, is all they know. I prepare them to become a civilian."
Fire Controlman 2nd Class (SW) Natascha Josey entered the Navy out of high school and was not selected for retention.
"I don't take it personally," Josey said. "But it's hard to absorb. It feels like I'm standing on rocky ground and that everything I have been working for has been taken away from me."
Josey said she is not sure what she wants to do or where she wants to go when her enlistment ends in September.
Helping to reduce that uncertainty is what Panganiban says is one of the objectives of the FFSC.
"We ensure they know what resources are available to them and that they go to TAP class," Panganiban said. "I continue to touch base with them, too, sending them vacancy announcements, as I see them, and referring them to job fairs and counseling, if needed."
The FFSC offers transitional assistance that includes resume writing, financial counseling and relocation counseling. They also answer questions about veterans' and educational benefits.
Panganiban says everyone's circumstances are different; from their rating, to marital status or education, to whether they rent or own a home. He says its his job to guide them to varying resources based on their circumstances.
For example, Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Nathan Jones, would like to move to Georgia where he owns a home. He'd like to work for the military there in his chosen career field. However, he may have to consider other options.
"Because of the economy, Sailors may have to relocate to find jobs," Panganiban added, "and not necessarily where they were looking to move to.
"My heart goes out to these Sailors who are getting caught in this (ERB)," Panganiban said. "But, we're here for them, the FFSC. We not only offer transition assistance, but have two counselors on staff available to talk to. We'll send them information about job fairs and job opportunities, but the rest they have to do on their own."
Both Panganiban and Verley believe the Navy and the command are doing everything possible to support ERB-affected Sailors. That includes offering opportunities to receive one-on-one counseling, as little or as much as they need, so they are as prepared as possible to depart the military and enter the civilian workforce.
"After I give them pre-separation counseling," Verley said. "They can come back anytime as questions come up."
"I have the resources I need (because of command support), I just need to decide what I want to do and put it in resume format," Josey said.
"I'm trying to look at it like this could open the door for better opportunities," Jones said. "Things happen for a reason. I may not like how it happens, but when one door closes, another opens."
For more information about ERB and other transition benefits, visit the NPC ERB Web Page at www.npc.navy.mil/boards/ERB/, contact the NPC customer service center at 1-866-U-ASK-NPC (1-866-827-5672) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more news from Naval Air Station Kingsville, visit www.navy.mil/local/nask/.