Author Topic: What is the army reserves ...  (Read 7653 times)

FuckRx

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What is the army reserves ...
« on: February 17, 2014, 10:06:00 AM »
Someone mentioned being in the army reserves as a side hussle. I read up on it a little but I guess I don't quite get the concept.

Posthumane

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 10:15:33 AM »
I'm a reservist in Canada so it may vary depending on where you live, but basically here the army reserve is part time army. This is also available with the navy and air force.

Basically, reserve personnel are members of the forces and do similar jobs as their regular force counterparts but on a part time basis. Not all military trades are available for reservists as some have to be done full time, but most of the combat arms roles and some support trades are available. We have training evenings every week as well as approximately one weekend exercise a month, plus you can do a variety of courses either on a full time (multi-day to multi-month) or part time (spread over many weekends) basis. My basic training was done over 20 weekends, then I went off to do a three month full time course for my trade when I was still a student and had summers off.

Reservists are able to deploy on tours although in Canada they do so as individuals who augment a regular unit, and it's typically voluntary. We can be called in for mandatory service in case of emergency, although I personally have only had this happen once.

Johnny Aloha

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 10:57:10 AM »
Not sure I would call it a side hustle ...

Really depends if you are an officer or enlisted.  Requirements to be an officer: college degree.  Either way, you'll need to pass extensive physical exams, but don't worry - there are waivers for almost everything (depending on how badly the recruiter need to fill slots).

You'll need to do the basic 1 weekend/month and 2 weeks/year.  But you can always volunteer for more if you want, including 1 or 2 year full time assignments.  Seems like the general trend is to downsize the active military and increase the reserve side, mainly because the financial cost of active personnel is so much higher than reservists.  So I see it as a stable and growing field.

I'm in the reserves (but not the Army), and planning to stick with it for a while because it's very flexible and will make an outstanding part time job once I quit the full time job.  As a mid-grade officer, the per-hour pay is high and (for everyone) the benefits are great (especially the health insurance).  Plus, the assignments can be incredibly interesting and I really enjoy the people.

But don't forget, there is the possibility that you will be involuntarily recalled and sent to a war zone....


Kierun

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2014, 04:17:31 PM »
The reserves are at the federal level, there's also the national guard which is at the state level.  Both are fairly similar with the 1 weekend/month and 2 weeks/year.  One thing to note is the length of commitment you sign up for.  Pretty sure it's still 6/2 for the reserves/national guard.  Meaning, you are pretty committed to serving 6 years as an active reservist/guardsman and 2 years in the inactive ready reserve.  Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.  I deployed with some folks who were out of the military for 15 years, but were called back to duty.  The other branches also have reserve/national guard units, not just the army.  Personally, if you were seriously interested I'd suggest the Air Force.  I went into the army reserves and ended up with several deployments to Iraq and spending almost 4 out of 6 years in the Middle East.

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2014, 05:09:04 PM »
Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.

I was considering it (and have considered it in the past), but that's probably a deal-killer for me.
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Kierun

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2014, 08:06:01 PM »
Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.

I was considering it (and have considered it in the past), but that's probably a deal-killer for me.

Well, if you think there won't be any massive conflicts for the next 20 years or so where the country will need to scrape the bottom of the barrel, it probably won't be bad.  =)  The deployment I was on where they called up people who've been out of the military for awhile, the general said this to us, "You are the best of the best of what's left in the US Army Reserve that hasn't already been killed or deployed."  Quite the pep talk eh.

Nords

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2014, 10:27:27 PM »
Someone mentioned being in the army reserves as a side hussle. I read up on it a little but I guess I don't quite get the concept.
Everybody loves the Reserves and National Guard... until they're involuntarily mobilized.

But the idea of working "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" sounds attractive to people who are underemployed (or unemployed) and who can use the Reserve billet as an opportunity to get additional duty.  It's also a great way to intern yourself to a better career-- when my spouse was on her Reserve duty at PACOM, she was perpetually offered civil-service or contractor jobs.

Another reason to join the Reserves/Guard is because you've had enough of active duty.  You get to hang out in a culture you already understand, with people whose camaraderie you enjoy, largely in locations & billets under your control, and you escape a lot of the active-duty crap. 

It's the most popular topic on my blog-- and the #1 post for many months has been the tutorial of calculating how much your pension will be when you retire from the Reserves/Guard.
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/02/27/calculating-a-reserve-retirement/

Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.
I was considering it (and have considered it in the past), but that's probably a deal-killer for me.
Hey, we serve at the pleasure of the President.  When they recall you, I'll be coming with you.

Keep in mind that if they recall me then the world is in deep hurt and the military may be the safest place to defend yourself.  Tell 'em you want duty on my submarine...

I'm not sure where or when this photo was taken, but reportedly it was during either DESERT STORM or the Iraq invasion:

libertarian4321

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 01:14:47 AM »
Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.  I deployed with some folks who were out of the military for 15 years, but were called back to duty. 

Those folks were probably NOT "out of the military."  They were in some sort of reserve status, probably not drilling reservists, but people from the IRR, Standby reserve, or retired reserve.  These folks may not put on uniforms, but they are still in the reserves, and they know it.  I served ~9 years active, and another 24+ years in various forms of reserves- regular, inactive, IRR, standby, retired- I think I've done every kind of reserve service possible.  I haven't put on a uniform since 1994, but I've been theoretically available for call up since then (and still am, though a call up is highly unlikely at this point).

If you serve a few years active (or reserve) and get out without retiring or going into the IRR (or similar), they won't "call you up" because you aren't even on the lists anymore- you are no longer a soldier, just a citizen like everyone else.  The only way you'd be forced to go back in is if Congress authorized a draft.


Boz86

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 07:37:32 AM »
Someone mentioned being in the army reserves as a side hussle. I read up on it a little but I guess I don't quite get the concept.
Everybody loves the Reserves and National Guard... until they're involuntarily mobilized.

I did new reserve orientation speeches for 3+ years at my last command. Opened with something along the lines of:

"You're here as a reserve force member, which means your job is to be called up to augment the regular force in a unit or as an individual, which means you need to be mentally prepared to deploy. Have a plan for the baby, the spouse, the job, the pets, the house, the business, whatever, but do it now.

Don't let it surprise you. And know what you're volunteering to do."

I know a lot of people who made good money doing more than the minimum, and a lot who volunteered to be mobilized (I hear those opportunities are drying up) and made a bunch of tax-free money.

Heard a guy in a different command say, "I didn't sign up to be in combat zones and get shot at."

Uhm, yes you did.

There's good bennies because the risks can be large.



Johnny Aloha

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 01:36:50 PM »
Hmmm .... some others have mentioned it but I'd like some clarification: how many people have been involuntarily recalled from IRR status?  I thought the answer was none.

Lots of people have been involuntarily mobilized, but (I thought) they were all actively drilling reservists, not IRR.

I was in the IRR at they height of involuntary recalls and have never heard of IRR folks being mobilized.  It's basically the last resort before a draft.

jba302

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 02:17:10 PM »
Everybody loves the Reserves and National Guard... until they're involuntarily mobilized.

I have a buddy finishing up an involuntary 9 month mobilization. He got called 6 months after completing a voluntary 9 month tour. He was not pleased.

Kierun

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 02:47:40 PM »

Those folks were probably NOT "out of the military."  They were in some sort of reserve status, probably not drilling reservists, but people from the IRR, Standby reserve, or retired reserve. 


Didn't know about the retired reserves, but I guess that's where that 50+ year old folks were in.  Some probably didn't know, they weren't too pleased.  But most didn't pass the medical/physical and were sent back home.  The other disgruntled folks, not sure, they were pretty adamant that they had fulfilled their obligations and were no longer in the IRR, most had been out for 8+ years, so no idea what reserve category they'd fall in.  How long can one be in the standby reserves on inactive status?

Johnny Aloha

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2014, 02:58:57 PM »
How long can one be in the standby reserves on inactive status?

My understanding is that someone can be in the IRR as long as they want, as long as stay active and meet the 'points' requirements.

The Navy has a great website for this and other FAQs:  http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/career/reservepersonnelmgmt/IRR/Pages/default2.aspx

Nords

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 08:52:07 PM »
Hmmm .... some others have mentioned it but I'd like some clarification: how many people have been involuntarily recalled from IRR status?  I thought the answer was none.
During the years 2001-2008, my spouse heard of exactly one happening at PACOM, and I think the description was "grudgingly" vice "involuntarily". 

However I did a few minutes of searching and discovered that tens of thousands of servicemembers have been mobilized from the IRR-- and I think "involuntarily" was the norm:
http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=51343
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individual_Ready_Reserve

How long can one be in the standby reserves on inactive status?
My understanding is that someone can be in the IRR as long as they want, as long as stay active and meet the 'points' requirements.
The Navy has a great website for this and other FAQs:  http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/career/reservepersonnelmgmt/IRR/Pages/default2.aspx
Yep, the IRR is the "last chance" to earn points for good years toward retirement, and once the Reservist gets their Notice of Eligibility they can apply to retire.  I'm not sure why someone would stay in the IRR past receipt of their NOE unless they felt that they had a really sweet gig-- or a burning desire to complete every correspondence course in the catalog.

Johnny Aloha

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 10:27:47 AM »
Nords - thanks for the links.  Good data.

dragoncar

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2014, 11:43:15 AM »
Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.

I was considering it (and have considered it in the past), but that's probably a deal-killer for me.

Let's face it, if they need people bad enough, they can still draft you.  I'm guessing the odds of either scenario happening is basically nil, and if the world is in such bad shape that it's happening you'll either volunteer (because your hometown is literally being invaded) or bugger out (because the US government is completely corrupt or collapsing)

Nords

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2014, 02:40:29 PM »
Not to mention, that once you're in, you're in for life, regardless if you've been out for a decade or longer, in times of national need, they can call you back to duty.
I was considering it (and have considered it in the past), but that's probably a deal-killer for me.
Let's face it, if they need people bad enough, they can still draft you.  I'm guessing the odds of either scenario happening is basically nil, and if the world is in such bad shape that it's happening you'll either volunteer (because your hometown is literally being invaded) or bugger out (because the US government is completely corrupt or collapsing)
The all-volunteer force has only been around for 40 years, and the last full mobilization was WWII.

But the military wants draftees just as much as the draftees want the military.  I hope wars are more about logistics and strategy and not so much about throwing bodies onto the battlefield.

libertarian4321

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 11:13:35 AM »
  I'm not sure why someone would stay in the IRR past receipt of their NOE unless they felt that they had a really sweet gig-- or a burning desire to complete every correspondence course in the catalog.

I was on IRR and standby for years.  Part of that time, I was fulfilling commitment to remain aligned with the reserves that I incurred as long as I was receiving small yearly payments as part of my voluntary separation (from active duty) incentive.  Then I stayed on just because I figured they'd only call me up if something really bad happened. I wasn't getting any points because I wasn't doing anything.  Then they moved me to the retired reserve, even though I don't have enough points to get military retirement.  I'm sure I could get off of it, I just never bothered to do so.

Nords

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2014, 07:58:03 PM »
  I'm not sure why someone would stay in the IRR past receipt of their NOE unless they felt that they had a really sweet gig-- or a burning desire to complete every correspondence course in the catalog.
I was on IRR and standby for years.  Part of that time, I was fulfilling commitment to remain aligned with the reserves that I incurred as long as I was receiving small yearly payments as part of my voluntary separation (from active duty) incentive.  Then I stayed on just because I figured they'd only call me up if something really bad happened. I wasn't getting any points because I wasn't doing anything.  Then they moved me to the retired reserve, even though I don't have enough points to get military retirement.  I'm sure I could get off of it, I just never bothered to do so.
There's a fine point buried in my commentary which causes a lot of confusion in the Reserves/Guard, and I get the question all the time on The-Military-Guide.com.

You were in the IRR because you had a military commitment.  No issues there.

However once anyone in the Reserve/Guard is eligible to retire (20 good years), the only reason they would want to stay in the IRR would be if they wanted to pile up more drill points before applying for retirement.  The IRR is a painful way to earn points & good years because you can't go on active-duty orders and your activities are largely self-directed.  Some can achieve satisfaction at knowing each point they earn on a correspondence course is worth another 30-50 cents/month in military pension for the rest of their lives.  Others wonder why they're working so hard for so little and whether their time could be better spent on more lucrative ventures. 

Many servicemembers stay in the IRR after they're eligible to retire because they don't understand how the Reserve/Guard pension is calculated.  In my spouse's unit (and in many questions on the blog) people had received their Notification of Eligibility letter and could apply for retirement, but they thought that they had to keep drilling for the next seniority pay raise.  For example, an O-6 with 22 good years (and their NOE) didn't care about drill points but wanted to retire as an O-6>26 (a healthy pay raise).  They thought that they had to stay in the IRR (or in a drill billet) in order to achieve that status.

However the Reserve/Guard military pension is calculated using the pay tables in effect at the date when the pension starts, and with the assumption that the servicemember had been on active duty for the entire time.  This usually results in the maximum longevity pay for their rank.  All that O-6>22 had to do was file for "retired awaiting pay" status, and in four years their pension would be calculated at the O-6>26 pay table column.  In another four years their pension would be calculated at the O-6>30 pay scale. 

Most servicemembers join the military before age 30 and most start their pension at age 60, so the vast majority of Reserve/Guard retirees have a pension calculated at the ">30" column in the pay tables.  Even if someone joined the Reserve/Guard at age 17, racked up 20 good years, immediately filed for "retired awaiting pay", and didn't start their pension for another 23 years, that pension would be calculated at the pay tables (and their longevity) in effect when they turned age 60.  In other words their pension would enjoy the benefit of over two decades of pay raises (and longevity raises) before they even got their first check.

Of course when you're in the IRR or in "retired awaiting pay" status ("gray area") then you're subject to involuntary mobilization.  But most people think that the payoff is worth the risk.

I completely understand why someone would stay in the IRR to earn good years for retirement (or to complete an obligation).  Once they've received their NOE, however, it's usually far better to file for "retired awaiting pay" and stop earning points the hard way.

Travis

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2014, 12:39:04 AM »
Calling the Reserves a "side hustle" is a bit inaccurate.  It's a contracted commitment and not something you just pick up "on the side."  It requires the exact same initial training as active duty troops (3 months to a year) and (in the US) the initial enlistment is usually 4-8 years.

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2014, 02:02:29 AM »
My old man did 20 years Navy reserve and it was a dream.  To wit:
- he put on his uniform and played pool at the reserve hall a couple Thursday nights each month
- took a free trip to San Diego for war games two weeks each year
- was paid for it all
- "retired" from the active Reserves as a Captain in his 40s but kept base access and the bird on the bumper of our car (preferred treatment, parking, etc)

Once he reached 65:
- he and my mother get free lifetime medical and dental care
- they both have full access to two large local military bases with rec facilities, RV parking, discount shopping, etc.
- they both can fly free domestically on standby on air force flights. He flies to California to see his sister and golf every few months

Not a bad deal in return for playing pool Thursday nights!

goatmom

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2014, 05:57:16 AM »
Well, the days of it being a dream are probably over.  My dh worked in a unit that processed reservists in and out of the war.  Quite a few unwilling people there.  Some were happy because the job situation at home was so bad, at least they were making some great money putting their lives on the line in Iraq and afghanastan.  I knew at least one IRR guys who was activated back in 2005/2006. He wAs not happy about it in the least.
 I got out of the IRR asap after serving my time - a retirement wasn't worth the risk of missing a year or more of my kid's life.  Also, no free dental at least We pay for that coverage.  Also Tricare prime is not free either - maybe cheaper than other healthcare but it is difficult to find a provider that takes it where we live.  Yes, you get to use the commisary - not that great a deal unless you live right next to a post.  My advice is join the reserves if you want to serve.  The only great deal i see is the new post 9-11 GI bill is a pretty awesome benefit. 

Chris

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2014, 01:42:37 PM »
There is also the Coast Guard Reserve, for those not-so-interested in combat.

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2014, 01:29:42 AM »
Here is reserves from the active duty point of view.
 
Pros:

You may deploy

Could get huge cash bonus to join (My reservist buddy got a $20K bonus off the bat to do the same job as me, except part time)

You get some guaranteed pay each month

If you pick the right job, you may promote very quickly

Some benefits available
 
A good way to keep your hand in the game for former active duty


Cons:

You may deploy

You will not gain much meaningful experience in the the job you were trained for and are still expected to perform on deployment, unless it happens to be the same field as your civilian job or you put in huge effort to keep up your skills.

You won't be military fit unless you exercise on your own all the time.

It is difficult to make service connected VA disability claims because you spend the majority of your time off duty. You also can't collect disability until you get out ( a long time for reserves)

Reserve military retirement generally takes an anti-Mustachian amount of time.

Serving in the reserves takes away time you could spend at one job, or just enough time to ruin full time college (this one was told to me by an unhappy reserve recruiter that requested to go active duty and was denied.)

Nords

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Re: What is the army reserves ...
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2014, 06:55:42 AM »
Reserve military retirement generally takes an anti-Mustachian amount of time.
I'd call this the equivalent of a deferred annuity that starts at age 60, with health insurance (Tricare Prime or Standard). 

When I ER'd in 2002, my spouse knew that she could ER in 2003 or keep drilling for the fun.  We both knew that my active-duty pension would cover most of the bills starting in 2002, and that her Reserve pension (20 years later) would cover the rest of the bills.  The significance was that our ER portfolio would only have to bridge that 20-year gap between pensions instead of stretching out to cover the rest of our lives.  In the 2002 bear market our planning showed that our savings were just enough to cover the gap.  In the dozen years since, between cost-cutting and the market recovery, we've turned out to be much more on the 95% success side of FIRECalc than on the 5% failure side.

I know several Reservists who have the same asset plan.  They've done their 20+ and received their NOE, they've filed for "retired awaiting pay", and they built up the savings during their working years to be able to ER in their 40s or 50s.  They just happened to incorporate that deferred annuity (at age 60) in their asset allocation.