NORFOLK, Va. - With careers that can be extraordinarily demanding, the Navy is seeing more officers and enlisted Sailors take advantage of a program designed to help with work-life balance.
The Career Intermission Program was established in 2009 and guidelines for it were updated last year.
It allows active duty or full time support officers and active duty or full time support enlisted Sailors to take a "sabbatical" from their active military service for up to three years. Following the career intermission, Sailors return to active duty with a two-to-one obligation for time spent away.
LCDR Kate Hirsch, a helicopter pilot currently assigned to HSC-26 at Naval Station Norfolk, is getting ready to take advantage of the program after more than a decade of active service.
"Ten years in, it’s the very first opportunity any pilot has to get out or stay in, so a lot of people look at it and I was certainly one of them – there’s a lot out there, I’ve devoted so much time to this, do I really want to commit for another 10 years?" Hirsch told News 3 anchor Todd Corillo.
Hirsch plans to take a year and a half off to travel the world and work as an international community service leader before returning to the Navy.
"I’m very excited for the opportunity to take that breather but then come right back to this awesome program without getting jaded for being in it so long."
Just three people were in the Career Intermission Program when it began a decade ago. That number is expected to grow to 400 this year.