"Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game.
In the deed the glory."

Friday, August 18, 2006

IRR Soldiers - Rebecca Santana

Even though she has left LSA Anaconda, Rebecca Santana is still writing articles about our unit. This is the latest about IRR Soldiers. The IRR (Individual Ready Reserve) is what is sometimes referred to as inactive service. Basically, when you sign up for the Active Army, Army Reserve, or National Guard, you are required to serve an 8 year contract. Within that 8 years, there are different variations, for instance the Guard is pretty standard at 6x2 (6 years of "active" guard - drill, AT, etc; 2 years of inactive guard). During your 2 years of inactive guard, you don't drill or get paid for anything, but you are subject to recall if your country needs you. Active contracts can be as short as 3x5 (3-active, 5-IRR), and I think maybe you can even do a 2x6 year now. So, you are taking a little bit of risk when you get out of the Army before your full 8 years has been served.

Now, back when I enlisted, getting called up from the IRR was pretty much unheard of. With this war dragging on longer than anticipated, and the Army stretched all over, they have called up a ton of soldiers. Some of you may remember that I was at this crossroad last year when my original 6 years ran out. I choose to re-enlist in the Guard, as I didn't want to do any time on the IRR and was willing to take a chance on not getting deployed in that 2 year window. When you get recalled for Active Service, you can get called up to serve in any unit anywhere, and pretty much in any job. So my worry was that I would get recalled, trained as an MP, and sent with some unit from Texas to guard prisoners. There are definitely benefits to being deployed as part of a unit from your home state. They guys we have here at good soldiers, they did the right but difficult thing of showing up for duty and fulfilling their contract. Many choose to ignore the summons and go on the run, which ends up with them being treated the same as a deserter.

This story was on and is about an Iowa Guard unit that is deployed with us. They are also attached to the 1/34 BCT for this mission only, similar to how the Cav is attached. They are unfortunately stationed with a bunch of Marines out in Western Iraq. They are on the base where the 67th ASG out of Nebraska is stationed, so their paralegal, SPC Dumbauld, works with my buddies from back home, SGT McNally and SGT Hannant. The ASG is getting ready to roll home here shortly, which definitely makes us here jealous.

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