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Army stops benefits for extending overseas tours

is mid tour leave chargeable

This story was first published at 4:39 p.m. EST February 26, 2016

A congressionally authorized program that provides special incentives to enlisted soldiers who extend their overseas tours by 12 months or more has been placed in cold storage by the Army.

Acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy will not approve the inclusion of any military occupational specialties or geographical locations to the Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Program, according to a notice issued Feb. 24.

"There are no active or projected MOS or geographic locations (for OTEIP) in the foreseeable future," according to the announcement.

Since the inclusion of OTEIP in federal law nearly 40 years ago, the program has been authorized for soldiers in select MOSs serving in Germany, South Korea, Japan, Alaska and other overseas locations outside major combat zones.

When authorized, OTEIP has featured a menu of incentives, including special pay, special leave, travel entitlements and lump-sum bonuses. Soldiers who met the specialty requirements, and who extended their overseas tours by at least 12 months, were eligible for one of the following benefits:

  • Special pay of $80 per month during the period of extension.
  • 30 days of non-chargeable leave.
  • 15 days of non-chargeable leave, and free transportation of the soldier (but no family members) to the nearest stateside port.
  • Annual $2,000 lump-sum bonus.

During the period of heavy deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army used OTEIP to reduce assignment turbulence and improve the personnel readiness of overseas units outside the combat zones.

In recent years, participation in the program has been sharply curtailed. For example, in fiscal 2015 the Army provided OTEIP benefits to 27 soldiers at a total cost of $54,000.

Budget projections submitted to Congress in early February indicated the Army would limit OTEIP benefits to no more than nine soldiers in 2016.

Pentagon personnel officials emphasize that two programs similar to OTEIP remain in effect for overseas commands.

Those are the In-Place Overseas Tour Extension (IPCOT) and Assignment Incentive Pay (AIP) programs.

"The Overseas Tour Incentive Program is sometimes confused with IPCOT and AIP, which are guided by different sections (of federal law and Defense Department Instructions), and that most overseas commands use to incentivize keeping soldiers in place for readiness purposes," according to a statement provided by the Office of the Army G1 (chief of human resources).

While the Army is authorized to use OTEIP as an incentive for certain enlisted soldiers to extend their overseas tours, the program will remain in inactive status, as it has been since 2007.

"We do not need OTEIP to preserve readiness in overseas units," according to the G1 statement.

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Soldiers recharge batteries with Army’s mid-tour leave program

by Sgt. David Dasilma, 4th Sqdn., 10th Cav., 3rd BCT, 4th Inf. Div. CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq – There is a special time during a deployment which every soldier anxiously awaits. If one were to listen to the conversations around Task Force Blackjack, 4th Squadron, 10th Cavalry, 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, he or she would hear plenty of chatter pertaining to second greatest moment during a deployment: Environmental and Morale Leave. While it remains second to redeployment, EML is one of the most talked about items among deployed soldiers. They discuss the foods they will eat, the people they will see and the adventures they are planning. EML is a special privilege and is one of the things that keeps morale high in TF Blackjack. The EML Program is mandated by U.S. Central Command and was implemented on September 25, 2003. The program was initiated to provide eligible service members and Department of Defense civilians who are serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in one of the 17 designated countries, an opportunity for rest and recuperation, as well as to aid with temporary family reintegration. This leave is different from the previous tours in OIF. As of April 8, 2010, it became non-chargeable, which is to say it doesn’t count against soldiers’ accumulated leave, a provision that only applies to those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, the leave starts the day after entering one of the two assigned U.S. ports of entry, which allows a full day of travel for connecting flights. “If I had to use up 15 days of chargeable leave for EML, I wouldn’t have enough left over to take post-deployment block leave. Or I’d have to go in the hole,” said Pfc. Jason Dudley, of Seattle, Wash., Blackjack aid station medic and soldier who benefits from the new policy. In addition to non-chargeable leave, soldiers do not pay for airline expenses to their destination, a provision that falls under the Fully Funded Onward Movement Program, implemented on January 1, 2004. Army Human Resources Command sees the EML program as an investment in the well-being of soldiers which will, in turn, improve their mission performance. “I had a lot of fun on leave. I got to hang out with my old friends, relax and eat great food. What’s cool is that last deployment it was chargeable, and now it’s not,” said Spc. Lester Burgard, of Mountain Grove, Miss., Blackjack medic.


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  1. Soldiers recharge with Army's mid-tour leave program

    This leave is unique from the previous tours. On April 8, it became non-chargeable, meaning Soldiers do not use accrued leave, a provision that only applies to those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

  2. PDF Leaves and Passes

    Leave together with consecutive overseas tours • 4 - 8, page : 19. ... Calculating chargeable leave following death • 10 - 5, page : 47. Recalling Soldiers from leave • 10 - 6, page : 47: Managing leave during mobilization • 10 - 7, page : 47. Chapter 11: Leave Management, page : 48.

  3. PDF Leaves and Passes

    Steps to request leave together with consecutive overseas tour † 4-18, page 16 Section X Task: Requesting Reenlistment Leave, page 16 ... Steps to determine chargeable leave for absences after leave or pass termination date † 4-30, page 20 Chapter 5 Nonchargeable Leaves and Absences, page 21

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    Special Leave Accrual (SLA): ... SMs in Afghanistan and Iraq are eligible for non-chargeable R&R leave. Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) ... tour completion. Tours lengths for Iraq and Afghanistan have not been established, but Soldiers who serve 9 continuous months in a TCS/TDY status, or 11 cumulative months (within a 24 month period), ...

  5. Types of Military Leave & How it Works

    ARTICLE Military Leave: What It Is and How It Works 8 minute read • Feb. 17, 2023 As part of the military pay and benefits package, military service members earn 30 days of paid leave per year. You start at zero and for every month of military service, 2.5 days of leave get added to your leave account.

  6. Army stops benefits for extending overseas tours

    30 days of non-chargeable leave. 15 days of non-chargeable leave, and free transportation of the soldier (but no family members) to the nearest stateside port. Annual $2,000 lump-sum bonus.

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    Chargeable leave on the original DA 31 remains unchanged. Any authorized delay beyond the normal allowable travel time will be covered under the authorized travel delay category. Travel time is...

  8. PDF Volume 08, Chapter 05

    leave means unused leave remaining to the credit of an employee at the beginning of the leave year , 2.1.3. Reporting all leave taken , and . 2.1.3. Reporting accurate data on leave use and accruals in order to simplify the collection of leave-related debts and preparation of financial reports.

  9. Soldiers recharge with Army's mid-tour leave program

    This leave is unique from the previous tours. On April 8, it became non-chargeable, meaning Soldiers do not use accrued leave, a provision that only applies to those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

  10. Soldiers recharge batteries with Army's mid-tour leave program

    Soldiers recharge batteries with Army's mid-tour leave program. ... This leave is different from the previous tours in OIF. As of April 8, 2010, it became non-chargeable, which is to say it ...

  11. PDF DoD Instruction 1327.06, 'Leave and Liberty Policies and Procedures

    procedures on leave balances, lost leave, and cost of unused accrued leave payments. b. Heads of the DoD Components. The Heads of the DoD Components shall conduct leave. and liberty programs that comply with the policies herein to meet the stated objectives. c. Secretaries of the Military Departments. The Secretaries of the Military Departments, in


    3) Restricted/All others tour - Fort Leonard Wood to designated location in orders. b. Mileage Driving: As of January 1, 2020, the mileage rate is paid at $0.17 per authorized vehicle.The use of a maximum of 2 vehicles is authorized per family provided both vehicles are driven to the next duty station. (max $0.34 per mile). c. Per-Diem Driving:

  13. Can someone please explain how mid-tours work? : r/AirForce

    Mid tours are unofficial and common on remote/unaccompanied/short tour 12 month assignment locations. The idea is that you use all of your annual leave (30 days) in one chunk and go home and see your family. Often this also means you don't take additional leave during the year. The leave days and the plane ticket are all on you.

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    Created Date: 7/27/2020 2:56:22 PM

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    Block Leave: To allow the maximum number of soldiers & family members to participate in the block leave Operation R&R Program, reservations are limited to 2 nights. Reservations: To book a special R&R package you must send an email to [email protected] or the call the Vacation Planning Center (contact information below).

  16. Rest and Relaxation leave is chargeable leave? : r/AirForce

    Question We just had members come back from a deployment and as such, they were instructed to take their "RnR" leave. They looked at the LES' and some were notified after the fact they were in the negative. Since when did RnR become chargeable?

  17. R&R after short tour : r/AirForce

    I know the mid-tour is chargeable leave. I'm in Korea now and don't have much leave for a mid-tour AND to spend time at home before I go to Europe. I checked AFI 36-3003 and didn't see anything, but wanted to make sure before I gave up. 5 8 comments Best Add a Comment crawfish2013 • 8 yr. ago No you don't get R&R after a short tour.

  18. Need help figuring out Korea mid tour vacation : r/AirForce

    You can take leave at any point in your tour in Korea, it doesn't HAVE to be in the middle. You also don't have to do 30 days all at once. The only stipulation from when I was last there (2017) is you can't exceed 30 days OFF peninsula. I would usually take a week here and there throughout the year. loop0001 • 2 yr. ago.

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  20. No more mid-tour leave? : r/army

    Depends on the tour length. white2253. • 4 yr. ago. Have to be in county 10 months last I looked into it. Teadrunkest. • 4 yr. ago. If your tour is the new "normal" 6-9 months then yes it's common to not have mid tour leave. r/army.

  21. Emergency and Mid Tour Leave : r/AirForce

    Emergency leave should be charged against your regular leave balance. You should be getting some financial support for the travel costs if the emergency has been verified. I would ask your Shirt since they should be handling the emergency leave travel. Leave days begin the day after you arrive at the US port of entry, and end the day before you ...

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    FROM: 8 FW/CC SUBJECT: 8 FW Leave Policy The following policy has been established for all 8 FW DoD personnel taking leave travel (non- PCS) outside the Republic of Korea (ROK). This memorandum supersedes the 8 FW Commander's Leave Guidance published 13 December 2020 and is effective immediately.