The U.S. Navy announced Wednesday it is offering up to $115,000 in enlistment bonuses and loan repayment incentives for recruits in certain occupational ratings amid military-wide struggles with recruiting.
“The maximum current enlistment bonus is $50,000, and the maximum loan repayment is $65,000,” Rear Adm. Lex Walker, Commander Navy Recruiting Command said in an emailed statement to American Military News. “They are not mutually exclusive, so if a Future Sailor maximizes both, that adds up to a life-altering $115,000, and the opportunity to serve in the world’s finest Navy.”
New Navy recruits as well as Navy veterans (NAVETS) and veterans of other services (OSVETS) are eligible for the new incentives if they re-enlist with the Navy.
In order to qualify for the maximum benefits from this bonus and loan repayment incentive, Future Sailors and NAVET/OSVET must be able to ship out by Sept. 30, 2022. NAVET/OSVET applicants must also enter active duty service in an E-4 pay grade or below, meet specific bonus eligibility, and not have received a bonus in their first enlistment.
“If you are a Sailor, Marine, Airman, Soldier, Guardian, or Coast-Guardsman who recently separated, this is an opportunity without precedent,” Walker said. “And if you have student loan debt, you could be eligible for the Loan Repayment Program if you ship in any month of any fiscal year while the program remains active.”
Navy veterans will not have to complete recruit training but will have to first report to Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes for in-processing. Veterans of other service branches are also not required to attend recruit training but do have to complete a three-week Naval Orientation Course at RTC Great Lakes.
While current high school seniors eager to join will not be able to take advantage of these new recruiting incentives, there is a $10,000 enlistment bonus if they enter the delayed entry program (DEP) by Oct. 31, 2022, and graduate High School prior to shipping in July 2023.
These Navy recruiting incentives come as all U.S. military branches have struggled with recruiting this year.
In January, the U.S. Army announced an up to $50,000 enlistment bonus for recruits in high-demand specialties. The U.S. Air Force also began offering up to $50,000 enlistment bonuses for hard-to-fill job specialties in April.
Despite various incentive programs, the military services have still struggled to fill their ranks.
Last month, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Martin said the Army expects to have about 466,400 troops in its active component by the end of the 2022 fiscal year on Sept. 30. That number is down about 18,000 troops from the 485,000 goal the service had set at the beginning of the fiscal year.
On July 26, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adml. Mike Gilday said the Navy is still facing recruiting challenges but the service is still on track to meet its force size goal for the fiscal year, Navy Times reported.