As thousands of airline pilots face furlough because of the decline in commercial air travel from the coronavirus pandemic, those who are also former Marine aviators have the opportunity to continue flying by returning to active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps.
Recognizing that the immediate future of airline pilots is in flux, the Marine Corps is offering former Marine pilots bonuses of up to $100,000 to come back and suit up.
Eligible former Marine aviators can apply for the program by submitting an Administrative Action Form to Manpower Management Officer Assignments and request to be considered for return to active duty before November 6.
“Individuals need to be AV-8B, F/A-18, F-35, KC-130, or MV-22 pilots holding the rank of captain or major. They may also be a CH-53 pilot holding the rank of captain,” Butterfield wrote to AOPA. “Pilots will fill billets based on needs of the Marine Corps. Those needs are mostly in the Fleet Marine Force or instructor pilot billets.”
Prior to COVID-19, the Marine Corps had its own pilot shortage and struggled to attract and retain pilots who opted to fly for the airlines. Now the military hopes those pilots affected by the downturn of the commercial airline industry will come back. Military.com recently reported, “The Marine Corps wants the pilots to sign two, three, or four-year contracts to return to active duty. Those selected will be automatically career-designated if they weren't prior to leaving the service, and those willing to stay in longer could be given preference.”
In the Military.com interview, Butterfield also stated, “This interim board gives the opportunity for those no longer on active duty to fly with the Marine Corps again and continue their service to the nation.”