RT Cunningham


My 40th Anniversary of Signing up for the Marine Corps DEP

Marine Corps DEP On January 17, 1978, I signed up for the Marine Corps Delayed Entry Program (DEP). I was still a senior (12th grade) in high school.

Today is the 17th in the Philippines but only the 16th in the United States. If I adhere to time zones, my official 40th anniversary will start in a few hours. I don’t plan to celebrate anyway.

The DEP is Important

I discovered how important the DEP was while I was working at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Phoenix, Arizona. It allowed recruiters to have a pool of inductees ready to ship to basic training on short notice.

It was even more important for pay purposes until Congress changed a law. My pay entry base date was the day I signed up for the DEP. The pay entry base date became the date of going on active duty a few years later.

I have other anniversaries coming up and I’m only a little confused about them.

DEP and Non DEP Anniversaries

I was to ship to basic training (boot camp) in San Diego soon after I graduated from High School. After I got into an accident and spent time in a hospital, my ship date changed to September 26, 1978.

I spent 20 years and four days on active duty. I was released from active duty on September 30 (instead of September 25) in 1998. Some of my paperwork was signed by President Clinton. On October 1, I became a part of the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve (FMCR), which would last for another 10 years.

I received a package shortly after the end of January in 2008. It released me from the FMCR 30 years from my DEP date instead of my active duty date. Some of the paperwork was signed by President George W. Bush. The period of time between my DEP date and my active duty date is considered reserve time and counted toward that 10 years.

According to the last letter, I’ll never be discharged from the Marine Corp. If necessary, I can be recalled to active duty. Well, that was 10 years ago. I can’t find the package today and believe me, I’ve looked for it. I stashed it somewhere in 2008 and promptly forgot where I stashed it.

The United States would have to be in a world of hurt to recall me to active duty. I’m not medically fit anymore, something that can only be waived for desk duty. The older I get (and I’m 57 now), the less likely it would ever happen.

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By RT Cunningham
January 16, 2018

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