The Fine Line, Part 2, by Guest Essayist Amy Fernaays

English: Capt. Rob Dewberry leaves his post as...

English: Capt. Rob Dewberry leaves his post as commander of the Garrison’s Headquarters & Headquarters Company after six years of service. He was the first Reserve officer in the Army to command an active duty unit on an active duty post. Since 1985, Dewberry’s military career has been filled with plenty of accomplishments. He will continue as a reservist and seek a full-time civilian job with the Garrison. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reservist Medical Officer at Camp Bastion Hosp...

Reservist Medical Officer at Camp Bastion Hospital in Afghanistan (Photo credit: Defence Images)

English: Army Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, on...

English: Army Captain Tejdeep Singh Rattan, one of the first Sikh officers in the military since permission was granted to allow beards, long hair, and turbans on active duty. Photo at Officer training, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New laws add to the confusion, and businesses are having a difficult time understanding the obligation they have to a returning employee. Organizations, companies, and the government are trying to find solutions that help meet the needs of the workforce soldier, the Reservist.
To understand, you must first know what an Individual Ready Reservist (IRR) is and why they are important.
Since 1908 there has been a Ready Reserve of soldiers that waited until they were needed to defend America. The IRR was a small army of men, skilled in various areas that would be able to fill the gaps in the active duty brigade. The concept remains the same, but the evolution of the reserves has changed into what we know today. (Tillson 2006)
A person who joins the reserves will have many of the same experiences of an active duty soldier. They will both attend basic training (Army/Coast Guard), boot camp (Marines/Navy), basic military training (Air Force), or basic combat training (National Guard). Once basic training is completed; the next step is Advanced Individual Training (A.I.T. Army), or School of Infantry (S.O.I. Marines) to become educated in the M.O.S. (Military Occupational Specialty) of choice. If the reservist has completed civilian education in their desired M.O.S. they may be able to skip A.I.T. This process can take up to six months or more depending on necessary schooling. [U.S. Army and U.S.]
This is where the reservists and enlisted soldier will part ways. The reservist will be assigned to a post. Once assigned and out-processed, the reservist will report to their post commander and receive information on when to report for duty. Reporting for duty will consist of one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. ( reservists)
Reservists are only compensated during “active” duty periods. On average a reservists earns around $3,000-5,000 a year for one weekend a month and two weeks a summer. ( benefits)They do not receive many of the benefits that active duty members enjoy. This makes their civilian job the main source of income, health care benefits, and retirement.
The military used to be made up of many active duty members, but it is very expensive to have a large active duty military and in recent years our economy has put a strain on the military system.

United States Army Basic Training

United States Army Basic Training (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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