Commanding officers of aviation units could earn a $100,000 retention bonus — provided they remain in the Navy for three more years.

The Aviation Command Retention Bonus program “incentivizes highly talented, hard-working, Naval Aviators and Naval Flight Officers screened for aviation command to choose to remain on active duty,” according to a new naval administrative message.

Officers will initially receive a payment of $34,000, followed by two $33,000 payments annually.

It’s the same agreement offered to active duty commanding officers for the past two fiscal years under the program. After the CO tour, officers must serve a post-command commander tour lasting between 24 and 36 months.

“Our cadre of Commander (O-5) commanding officers lead our [naval aviation enterprise] today, and they are the major commanders and flag officers of tomorrow,” the NAVADMIN state said. “Their skills and leadership experience are essential to the success of the Navy.”

The retention bonus obligation expires following 22 years of commissioned service, the projected rotation date of the assigned post-command commander tour, or three years from the acceptance date — depending on which date is later. These officers cannot apply for a change in designator, nor can they apply to separate or retire from the service until they are within 12 months of their obligated service expiring.

Those eligible for the bonus must have been screened on the FY22 Aviation Command Screen Board as CO of an eligible operational, operational training, or special mission commander command to apply.

Reserve aviators serving on acting duty are not eligible to apply for the bonus, nor are aviators who have accepted a transfer to another community.

Applications opened June 7 and close Aug. 31.

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