New Policy Could Send Sailors Back to Sea Early


YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- Some shore-based enlisted sailors might find themselves back at sea sooner than expected under a new Navy policy.

The policy, announced Thursday, allows the Navy to pull enlisted sailors from shore duty early when sea duty vacancies outnumber the sailors available. It applies to enlisted sailors E-4 and above who are approaching or beyond their two-year mark on shore.

Sailors selected for early return to sea duty will have 30 days to appeal the decision.

The Navy has also announced that detailers now will be able to issue transfer orders up to six months before or after sailors' projected rotation dates. The change is designed to give detailers more flexibility to fill requirements, the Navy said. Voluntary programs such as the Chief Petty Officer Early Return to Sea and the Voluntary Sea Duty Program have helped but not completely filled requirements.

Earlier this month, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced the first sea-pay increase for sailors and Marines in more than a decade. The pay hike of up to 25 percent is expected to take effect this summer.

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