Naval Aviators Are Being Offered More Cash to Become Commanding Officers

Naval Aviators Are Being Offered More Cash to Become Commanding Officers
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Caitlin Flynn/Navy

Editor’s note: This article by Konstantin Toropin originally appeared on, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.


Big cash bonuses are not just for Navy recruits. The Navy is also offering more than $100,000 to naval aviators to stay in the service and become senior officers and admirals.


[MORE FROM MILITARY.COM: Air Force Pilots Have One Month to Extend Contracts for Up to $50,000 Per Year in Bonuses]


In an administrative message, the sea service announced that pilots who are commanders in rank and eligible to head up a squadron could receive $105,000 if they agree to three more years of service.


The amount is $5,000 higher than in previous years, and the Navy has also introduced a two-year obligation option with a $35,000 bonus as well.


[RELATED: Thoughtful Questions Can Separate You From Other Job Candidates]


The message notes that officers who take the three-year bonus -- paid out in $35,000 increments over those years -- will have a 22-year obligation of service. The two-year bonus carries a 21-year obligation.


Meanwhile, the Navy's recruiting website for new enlisted sailors boasts that future active-duty sailors who leave for boot camp before October can earn up to $140,000 between bonuses and loan repayment offerings.


The Navy says that its goal with the large retention bonus for pilots is to keep "highly talented, hard-working naval aviators and naval flight officers, screened for aviation command" on active duty and hold on to "their invaluable and irreplaceable skill sets and leadership."


[RELATED: Is the Blended Retirement System Meeting Its Mission?]


"They are the major commanders and flag officers of tomorrow," the message added.


While there is little recent data, historically, government investigations and reports have found that the Navy has struggled to retain pilots in necessary numbers. However, that problem is not as severe as the struggle the Navy's surface warfare community faces. It's also not the only branch facing the challenge.


The Navy also runs a similar retention program for reserve pilots at the department head level. This year, it offered similar-sized bonuses for some pilots to stay past that mid-career point as well.


Applications for the commanding officer bonus are due by the end of August.


Upcoming MOAA Transition and Career Events

More MOAA Events

Related Content