AT-TAQADDUM, Iraq --
Fifteen career monitors from Headquarters Marine Corps visited Marines here June 5 to 8, resulting in 140 reenlistments.
The monitors are touring bases in Iraq to give as many Marines as possible the chance to sit down and talk about their career options.
“This is one of the best opportunities a first-term Marine will have,” said Cpl. David J. Eichner, career retention specialist clerk, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
This unique opportunity allowed Marines to sit face-to-face with the monitor and negotiate a reenlistment contract.
“A lot of Marines were able to get special duty assignments such as drill-instructor, recruiting, or independent duties,” said Eichner, from Philadelphia.
The Retention Assist Visit took place at the new CRS building, “Tun Tavern,” which was completed last month.
More than $6 million in reenlistment bonuses were given out during the team’s visit, said Gunnery Sgt. Donald G. Bird, head monitor and trip coordinator.
The bonus has very little to do with reenlisting, the location of the next tour was more important, Bird said.
“Today, I just reenlisted three Marines who received no bonuses ‘because they didn’t qualify for a bonus,’” said Bird. “This one Marine’s mother was sick back home and his plan was to get out and take care of her,” explained Bird. “He saw that if he could take care of his mother and get a duty station close to home, he could take care of her needs as well as the Marine Corps’ needs.”
Bird said negotiating that “dream duty station” is best to do in person.
“A monitor can tell you ‘No’ on the phone all day long, but when you come see him in person he is more willing to work with you,” Bird said.
Cpl. Carlos S. Pereyra, embark chief, H&S Co., 1st MLG, was one Marine who took advantage of this unique opportunity.
“At first, I wanted to get out of the Marine Corps,” said Pereyra. “What made me reenlist was deploying to Iraq. I was in the Marine Corps for four years and never deployed.”
Pereyra said as soon as he came to Iraq, he got a better understanding of how the Marine Corps works and how the different occupational fields work together to accomplish a mission.
“The monitors told me what was out there for me. They gave me the tools I need to plan the next four years as a Marine,” said Pereyra. “I got the perfect orders for me and on top of that a decent bonus.”
Pereyra said the discipline, drive and the “mission accomplishment” attitude is what he loves about the Marine Corps.
"Whatever you do out here doesn’t just effect one person, it effects a whole country,” said Pereyra. “You won’t get that in the civilian world.”
Before leaving Iraq, the team will visit Camp Fallujah, Al Asad, Hit, Al Qaim and Korean Village.