Marines and sailors permanently stationed on Okinawa have been granted Special Leave Accrual of up to 120 days, effective until Sept. 30, 2024. Catherine Kessmeier, the acting assistant Navy secretary for manpower and personnel, granted the leave in a July 9 memorandum, citing Japan’s Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The Japanese restrictions have “significantly limited the ability of sailors and marines permanently assigned to Okinawa to take leave during the national emergency,” Kessmeier wrote. “Therefore, in recognition of the impact of the response to Covid-19 on sailors’ and Marines’ ability to take leave and properly manage their leave balances, permanent duty in Okinawa during fiscal year 2021 is designated as other duty for the purposes of Special Leave Accrual.”
Sailors and Marines must be stationed on Okinawa for at least 180 days during fiscal year 2021 – Oct. 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021 – in order to qualify for Special Leave Accrual. Any sailor or Marine who meets this criterion can accumulate leave in excess of 60 but no more than 120 days by the end of fiscal 2021. They will be able to retain their unused leave through Sept. 30, 2024, the end of that fiscal year.