October 10, 2005
Decisions looming for NCS enlistment sailors
By Christopher Munsey
Times staff writer
It’s time for the first group of sailors serving under the 15-month National Call to Service enlistment option to decide if they want to continue on active duty, Navy personnel officials said.
Sailors who came in under the NCS option are supposed to transition to serving 24 months as drilling reservists after 15 months on active duty.
But it’s possible for them to apply to serve that time on active duty, said Master Chief Personnelman (AW) Darlene Gemuend.
Gemuend, a Reserve enlisted personnel expert in Millington, Tenn., said NCS sailors need to make a special request once they are within 10 months of their end of active-duty obligated service date.
The request must include a work evaluation and an endorsement from a senior rating specialist in their chain of command; “someone who’s observed them working in their rating and can testify to their potential to continue on active duty,” Gemuend said.
So far, about 10 requests have been received, she said.
Decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by Reserve and active-duty enlisted-community managers looking at the manning needs of both components, Gemuend said.
The Reserve component is involved because one goal of NCS is to supply sailors to serve as drilling reservists in undermanned jobs, she said.
Sailors who plan to transition to being drilling reservists need to contact a Reserve recruiter within 15 days of the end of active duty to find a Reserve billet, Gemuend said.
The NCS program began in 2004, and originated from legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Evan Bayh, D-Indiana.
Congress wanted an enlistment option open to young people who wanted to serve in the military, but for a shorter period than traditional enlistments. After the legislation passed, the services were directed to offer the 15-month option last year. The first NCS sailors started boot camp in May 2004.
During its first year, 998 sailors enlisted under the NCS option, said Cmdr. Glen Kaemmerer, enlisted programs officer for Navy Recruiting Command in Millington.
Thirteen ratings were open to NCS sailors in 2004.
That increased to 1,905 sailors projected for this year. Navy recruiters have slots for 2,340 NCS recruits in the coming fiscal year, out of a total enlisted goal of 37,456 recruits.
Next year, 45 ratings will be open to NCS recruits, but the program will continue to be weighted toward hospital corpsman, master-at-arms and Seabee ratings, Kaemmerer said.
The program is popular because young people seem to like the option of serving 15 months active, compared to the typical four-, five- and six-year stints on active duty, he said.
“People are coming into the recruiting stations, and they ask for it,” he said.