MILLINGTON, Tenn. – As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the world, the Navy is offering opportunities for prior Sailors to serve again. To support U.S. national security during the COVID-19 pandemic, Commander, Navy Recruiting Command (CNRC) developed strategies and solutions to continue its essential mission of building the Navy the Nation needs. One solution is allowing eligible Sailors (officers and enlisted) to transition to the reserves or re-join the Navy if they have separated or retired.
With the release of NAVADMIN 89/20, the Navy made changes to allow recently separated personnel to come back to active duty. Although the Navy recruits veterans and retirees regularly, CNRC is actively bringing in a greater number of qualified and recently separated personnel. This change allows prior Sailors to restart their careers, earn benefits and provide for themselves and their families, which in turn helps the Navy fill critical billets in an uncertain time – some of those billets being medical officers in response to COVID-19.
“Officer veterans that have been out of uniform for less than 24 months can come back in if approved by the officer community manager shop through a fast track process,” said Cmdr. Heather Kirk, the Director of the Medical Programs division at CNRC. “For Doctors and Nurses, we are working with BUMED (Bureau of Medicine and Surgery) to get credentialing and board recommendations for these veterans in a shorter period of time.”
With the fast-track process in place, a medical officer that does not require credentialing can be integrated back into the Navy in as little as six weeks. Those officers that require credentialing may take up to four months to rejoin, said Kirk.
In response to NAVADMIN 89/20, CNRC released OPNOTE 94 (and subsequently, OPNOTE 94 Change 1), which outlines the actions recruiters should take when receiving inquiries about possible re-affiliation with the Navy in response to the coronavirus pandemic. OPNOTE 94 also outlines the details and requirements distinguishing which service members will be eligible for re-entry into active duty.
CNRC is also actively recruiting civilians and all military service veterans for affiliation into the Navy Reserve, while overcoming the unique challenges of reaching the Sailors who are transitioning out of the Navy.
“Since Navy Personnel Command went to Health Protection Condition Charlie, the Career Transition Office (CTO) has moved to a telework status. When you combine this with ships restricting visitors to preserve the health of their crews, contacting Sailors has become difficult,” said Cmdr. Del Gray, Director of Prior Service Accessions at CNRC. “. This complicates the process of contacting Sailors because now the prior service recruiters cannot go aboard those commands to assist CTO with helping Sailors explore all their options, including the Navy Reserves, when seeking to transition out of active duty.”
Although the process has become more difficult, it hasn’t stopped prior service recruiters from getting the job done. All Navy recruiters are available via phone, social media, messaging platforms and video chat. This includes the Navy esports team, Goats & Glory, which is actively engaging with potential recruits through live-streaming events from their telework locations.