By late 1996, I was a junior Sergeant coming up to the end of my second contract. With roughly eight years in by that time, I was eligible to re-enlist but knew that promotion opportunities were going to be very limited in the Ordnance field for many years to come.
Once again, I decided a lateral move was the only option that might allow promotion to Staff Sergeant before I was 50, and I explored the many options open to me. One that looked good from a retention standpoint was the Intel field, as it was empty enough at that time to move into and possibly be promoted when I came eligible. However, I had to get clearance from HQ Marine Corps to move to that field. By late October when no approval was coming, I extended for a month. Unfortunately, when that month ended I still had not heard back. I had reenlistment approval back into Aviation Ordnance, but was looking for that lat-move still.
After a second one-month extension in December '96 I hadn't heard anything and decided to look at options for reenlisting back to the Reserves. After finding a civilian job, I started packing the family and house for a move to Phoenix. Of course, the day I sent them away, I went back to work after chow only to learn that the Career Planner finally had my reenlistment approval...I could re-sign and start training to be in Intel, but my family was on the highway at that point, heading to Phoenix.
I've hated that decision for years. It opened up some great oportunities in the long run, but it's always left that question open about what reenlisting would have left open for me. Ahh well, there's no tellin'...
More info will follow, I'm just creating the framework right now.