Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Individual Ready Reserve

The Army has started calling up guys from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). I'm trying to figure out what this is, so please bear with me. From what I am reading, although there are different enlistment periods, "all soldiers have a statutory 8-year military service obligation." The IRR involves "individuals who had previously served and may have some period of military service obligation remaining."

This morning I read a NY Times article about these guys being called up for IRR. One man, who is now 47, said he ended his military service over a decade ago and got the letter calling him up. He says he doesn't understand why the Army wants him considering he hasn't flown a helicopter in over 10 years, and he's 47.

Being the self-absorbed person that I am, I couldn't help but wonder about how this could affect me. My husband also served over a decade ago. Since he served his 3 enlisted years, does that mean the military thinks he owes them another 5 years? I never thought that they could call people back after so long until I read this article. And, I didn't think my husband owed them anything until I read more about IRR.

So now I have a mission to try to dig out his old military papers to look for any fine print. I have to know that he's safe. He's served his time for his country, he should be done.

Does anyone have any information on the IRR?

To be called out, first the military would have to find him. I was under the impression that he only had to give them his address for a certain number of years that are now passed. We've moved around a lot since then, and we haven't kept in touch. To find him, they'd have to trace him through his social security number, which is not that hard.

Second, we'd appeal. Or at least I'd appeal. He's the type who if called would immediately go. That's just the way he is and why he served in the first place. Remember when his job called him for Florida for a month and he was outbound a day later? He would have been miserable if he couldn't go. And when all the soldiers from his base started being deployed to the Persian Gulf, he was ansy until he was deployed there too. He left with a smile on his face to be going into the action and being part of something big.

But I don't even know if he's really eligible. I'm hoping there's some time exemption for how much time has passed since being discharged.

If he went, I don't know what I'd do. I've faced that sort of fear for him before, and it was paralyzing.

I do know that we would have to sell our house. I couldn't afford this California house payment on my own. I also don't know how I'd finish school.

Let's just assume that the odds are tiny. Okay? I'll deal with it IF they decide to call him up, IF they can find him, and IF he tries to go.

As for the men in the article being called up after they've finished their service, they didn't interview their wives, but I know what they're thinking.


I talked to Matt and he said that his period of IRR was for 7 years after he was discharged, so it would have ended 4 years ago. I can breathe again.

Nothing like a little freak out before breakfast to get the old heart pumping.

I also told him that in case a packet does show up in the mail from the Army, he'd never know about it because I would give it to him. He laughed - but I'm serious.


Blogger akeeyu said...

Oh, hon, I know how you feel. Every time that stuff is on the news, I go sit on Sam's chest and say "This doesn't mean you, right? You're not going back in, right? They can't call you up anymore, right?"

I'm glad Matt is in the clear, too.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing I know about the IRR is my husband's experience with it. In 1970, my husband graduated from law school. He had been in the Air Force ROTC for the 4 years he was an undergraduate. He had a 4 year committment to the Air Force, but they gave him a 3 year deferrment to go to law school before he had to go on active duty. He was promised active duty as a Captain in JAG after law school. (All this was during the Vietam War). After taking and passing the Ohio Bar Exam, the Air Force sent him his active duty assignment: Intelligence Training at Lowry AFB in Denver, Colorado. So we moved to Denver and he went on active duty, but he couldn't start Intelligence Training until he had a Top Secret Security Clearance. For the next nine months he did nothing except report to the Base periodically to be Squadron Duty Officer for the day. (Having gone to Harvard University for law school during the days of anti-war demonstrations and student takeovers, he was probably suspected of being a pinko-commie-radical by the FBI) He finally did get the security clearance and started Intelligence Training, which I think was a 90 day course. A week before the Intelligence Training course ended, he received a letter from the Air Force saying that since they could not use him in JAG, he could decide to: 1.) Complete Intelligence Training and serve the remainder of his 4 year committment as an Intelligence Officer, or 2.) Transfer to JAG, complete JAG training and serve the remainder of 4 years as JAG Legal Officer, or 3.) Be honorably discharged from active duty with no further committment except 10 years in the Individual Ready Reserve. Well, he chose option 3 and went back to Ohio and practiced law. Once a year, he would receive a letter from the Air Force about his status, and I think he was promoted twice! Finally, after the 10 years, he received a final letter saying he had discharged his committment and was no longer in the IRR. He never had to do anything the entire 10 years, but he never threw his uniforms away either!

Well, that's our story.

6:46 AM  
Blogger chris said...

I was on active duty for three years and in the reserves for another 5. Funny, but when I tell people that, they are shocked. But anyway, IRR obligations depend on the individual. Mine was for three years. I would have owed 6 years for my ROTC scholarship, but they counted the active/enlisted time so I didn't have to worry about it. The helicopter pilot probably had a really long IRR obligation, especially if they paid for his college or some other incentive. In any event, this won't happen to most people. Sometimes I think about it though. Frankly, I'd be on my way to Canada. Or I'd just get really fat. Or pregnant. Okay, maybe not that last one.

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