Sailors in good standing who want to get out and test the waters of civilian life, but not completely sever ties to the Navy, may now have an option that will be just the ticket — literally.

The Targeted Reentry Program was announced Feb. 27 by Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke. With the program, the Navy will offer gold or silver tickets to qualified officers and enlisted sailors who might be dead set on leaving, but may want to return within a couple years.

The Navy is planning to grow the fleet to the tune of 25,000 more sailors over the next five years, and this is one way the service hopes to reach that goal.

“Talent is tough to draw in and even tougher to keep,” Burke said in a press release. “Just like corporate businesses are adapting, the Navy must adapt to modern personnel policies as well.”

The talent the Navy is targeting are O-3 and O-4 officers, and E-4 to E-6 enlisted, those who have completed their initial service obligations but haven’t surpassed 14 years of total active service.

The fine print for both officer and enlisted states they must already have their basic warfare qualifications, have passed their latest fitness test and have “superior” performance evaluations or fitness reports.

Disqualified personnel are officers who have failed to select for promotion or any sailor who has record of civil or military convictions, to include nonjudicial punishment.

Golden ticket recipients are guaranteed a quota that will give them an expedited return to active service as long as they request the return within one year of their release.

Silver ticket recipients, meanwhile, get a two-year window to return, but it comes with more risk. This population’s request will be “subject to the needs of the Navy.”

Golden tickets convert to the status of silver if not not used within the year. and sailors lose their quota guarantee. Silver tickets that go unused within two years expire.

Returning to service for everyone is also contingent on them remaining fully qualified — both legally and physically.

Upon reentry under either ticket, sailor time in rate and officer dates of rank are adjusted to put them at the same career level when they got out. If a sailor was first class eligible for chief when leaving active service, for example, that sailor will still be eligible upon return.

Those attempting to return after the two-year mark lose their guarantee and are subject to different rules. Enlisted sailors in this group generally lose their time in rate, and depending how long a sailor has been separated, a paygrade could be docked as well.

Part of the reason the Navy is offering the program is to keep sailors within an arm’s distance of the service.

Those getting the ticket will be put into a Standby Reserve-Inactive category, where there is no drilling requirement. But in this status, sailors will not be eligible for promotion, advancement, health care or reserve retirement points.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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