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Navy’s ‘Golden Ticket’ Gives Career Sailors A Chance To Test Civilian Life

Sailors and Marines render honors on the flight deck of the amphibious transp...

Credit: Department of Defense

Above: Sailors and Marines render honors on the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) while arriving at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Jan. 23, 2018.

The Navy is offering sailors a "golden ticket."

The new program announced by the Navy personnel command will allow sailors to test civilian life with an option — a golden ticket — to return after a year. It’s designed for sailors and officers who are at the end of their enlistment and already considering leaving.

The Navy wants to hold onto midcareer officers and highly-trained enlisted personnel, who might be ready to jump ship into civilian life.

"Talent is tough to draw in and even tougher to keep," said Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of Naval Personnel, in a release issued by the Navy. "Just like corporate businesses are adapting, the Navy must adapt to modern personnel policies as well. These changes are designed to maximize opportunities for command triads to advance their best sailors."

Asked about the program, Lt. Hannah Lee, who serves aboard the USS Comstock in San Diego, said some of her fellow sailors might want to come back.

“A lot of people joined just out of high school,” Lee said. “They don’t even know what civilian life is like. This way they have an opportunity to see if it’s right for them. They can see both sides, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but sometimes it is.”

Life away from friends and family is draining, though the Navy is also a draw, she said.

“A lot of people say it’s respect,” she said. “For me, it’s more about the adventure the experience. A lot of people in the military don’t appreciate what they get to do. They don’t appreciate how much they learn in a short span of time.”

The program is geared toward the top-rated enlisted personnel, E-4 to E-6 and their officers, O-3 and O-4. The program is labeled a "golden ticket." There is also a "silver ticket" for sailors with a few minor dings in their past. Their re-admittance be subject to the needs of the Navy when their tickets are up. Everyone in the program has to stay out of trouble while they are out in the civilian world.

The golden ticket is part of a host of programs being rolled out to lower the attrition rate among top service people.

The new program announced by the Navy personnel command will allow sailors to test civilian life with an option — a golden ticket — to return after a year.

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