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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Navy Issues Lists Of Upcoming Layoffs

The Navy will release a list today of enlisted officers who will be laid off in the coming year. It’s the second phase of a strategy to re-balance the service after a period of low turnover in the force.

Altogether about 3,000 people nationwide will get the message they need to leave the Navy by September of next year. That’s about one of every 100 people in the force. Several years of high re-enlistments mean certain job categories are now over-staffed, and the Navy is looking for ways to downsize, and create room for fresh blood.

Lower ranking sailors got their lay off notices two weeks ago. Higher ranking petty officers will find out this week who is on the list. A specially convened “Enlisted Retention Board” reviewed more than 16,000 sailors in 31 over-manned job categories, people in mid-career who have been with the Navy for between seven and 14 years. Only those who have been with the Navy for 20 years qualify for a pension.

Captain Winton Smith, Commander of Naval Base San Diego, said it’s a painful message to have to deliver. But he said the Navy is taking pains to give those who have to leave plenty of support to be ready for the transition.

“In the early '90s, the Navy went through this,” Smith said. “We started laying people off. It wasn’t as calculated and thought out the way we’re doing it this time. Here, I think we’re doing it right.”

Smith said he plans to host a “What’s Next? “ seminar in mid-December for everyone on the list in the Navy’s southwest region.

He did not know how many will be affected in San Diego, but if 1 percent of active duty personnel are on the list, it could be more than 600 people.

Rear Admiral Martha Herb helps organize Family and Community Services for the Navy nationwide. She said the Navy will contract with civilian job coaching services to help those who need advice on resume writing or interviewing skills.

“We’ve provided time for our overseas sailors, " Herb said, " those who may be serving in Afghanistan or some other oversees location. We’ll bring them back to the United States so that they have a minimum of 60 days time to focus on what they need to do before their separation.”

Herb said there will be many transition assistance programs and other benefits. For example, the Navy will offer six months of extended health benefits to those laid off.

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