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Marine Corps will ask thousands to come back

Gordon Lubold
Marine Corps Times
Monday, January 22, 2007

The Marine Corps plans to ask up to 100,000 former Marines released from the ranks since September 2001 whether they would like to come back.

Speaking at the Pentagon on Friday, Lt. Gen. Emerson Gardner, the Corps’ deputy commandant for programs and resources, said many of those Marines had either hinted that they’d like to have re-enlisted at the time they got out or were told outright that no slots were available in which they could re-enlist.

“In the past, we’ve had a number of people who have desired to re-enlist in a particular job specialty, and, unfortunately, there is not enough room in the Marine Corps to keep them on, so we have released them from active duty,” Gardner said.

“But anecdotally, we’re all familiar with people that have gotten out of the Marine Corps, and you talk to them a year or two later and they say, ‘You know, if I had to do it over again, I sure would like to have stayed,’ ” Gardner said.

“We’re going to offer them that opportunity. Our commandant will make a call to arms and see what number of those 100,000 would be willing to come back on active duty,” Gardner said.

He did not detail how those Marines would be notified or asked to come back, but he indicated that given the Corps’ intention to grow by more than 20,000 Marines over the next five years, the initiative could come in handy.

The Corps has about 180,000 Marines, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced last week that it would grow by about 22,000 people at a rate of about 5,000 per year to a total end strength of 202,000 by 2012.

The Army, which stands at about 507,000 soldiers, will grow to about 547,000 over the next five years, or by about 8,000 per year.

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