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How to Join the Army After a Higher Tenure in the Navy

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The Navy isn't a place to get comfortable. Your commanding officers want to see you progress in rank within a certain number of years. A sailor who stays in a pay-grade for too long, called high tenure, may not qualify for re-enlistment and his career with the Navy could be over. There is hope, however. A Navy servicemember can cross branches and enlist with the Army, where the high tenure policies are more liberal and advancement opportunities are greater. The Army calls this going from blue to green.

When to Apply

In most cases you must be within three months of ending your tour with the Navy to make the switch to the Army, says the "Navy Times," though your commanding officer does have the power to let you go up to six months early at his discretion.

The Early Career Transition Program, created by the Navy to allow members with at least two but not more than 16 years of service to finish the rest of their tour in the Reserves, has been suspended as of July 2013, but may be reinstated in the future as the Navy sees fit. Under that program, anyone qualifying would also be free to discuss joining the Army with a recruiter.

Keeping Your Rank

Sailors who hold ranks of E-1 to E-4 will retain them when they become soldiers, says Those who are E-5 or above will have their ranks decided by Human Resources Command. Officers will make the transition with their current ranks in place as well as the date when they earned that rank. Enlistees for certain military occupational specialties, or MOS, may also be eligible for sign-on bonuses. Discuss bonus possibilities with your Army recruiter.


In order to be eligible to serve in the Army, transitioning sailors must meet a few qualifications. They must be in good physical condition, meet the Army's standards for height and weight (see Resources) and have an approved DD 368 Form, which is your Conditional Release Form from the Navy. You must be willing to commit to eight years minimum as you did with the Navy, three of which must be active duty.

Warrior Transition Course

Once you've made the switch, it's time for the Warrior Transition Course (WTC). This is the Army's way of introducing recruits from the Navy and other branches of the Armed Forces, says Trainees go through classroom instruction about the Army's structure as well as basics such as teamwork before moving on to the firing range, where they will learn how to discharge their weapons both day and night. Then comes the physical training, cited by some to be the most difficult part of the WTC. Finally, trainees are put through tactical training, the lengthiest section of the WTC.


Brooke Julia has been a writer since 2009. Her work has been featured in regional magazines, including "She" and "Hagerstown Magazine," as well as national magazines, including "Pregnancy & Newborn" and "Fit Pregnancy."

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