Wednesday, August 15, 2007

One Small Step for Army 2.0...


Hey there, everyone. As part of my much talked about (and little acted upon) expansion of the blog, I'm putting together a Frequently Asked Questions page. This is my first stab at it, and I would really appreciate it if you could comment with other questions that you think would be nice to have answered here.

A blog can be a tricky way for those of you who (much to my chagrin) don't check in 5 times a day to read and absorb every important nugget that I bury in a sea of posts about religiously themed video games and hateful license plates.

As such, the FAQ section will be a nice starting point for folks looking for a summary of where I'm at and what I'm doing, without having to dig through the rest of my (fantastically entertaining and life-enriching) content.

Sooo....lemme know what you think, and these FAQ's will migrate on over to the side navbar. Thanks in advance for your question suggestions!


1. Where are you? What is your timeline for deployment?

I’m at beautiful Fort Bragg, NC through at least mid-November 2007. From here, I’ll likely deploy to Iraq with a reserve Civil Affairs unit. Afghanistan is a possibility, but right now the powers that be are offering those slots to guys who agree to a longer commitment. I don’t think that I would commit to a longer tour just to secure a slot in the ‘Stan.

2. When will you be done with the Army?

Best case—Holidays 2008

Worst case—May 2009

3. Can you explain those dates in more detail?

Surely.

My orders called me up for 545 days. I reported for Army Training on June 24th, 2007, so 545 days takes me to December, 19th 2008.

If the army sticks to 545 days, they need to release me from active duty on the specified date. They also have to allow me to use whatever leave I’ve accrued by then, and they have to allow me 2-4 weeks for outprocessing and de-Iraqification. Connecting all those dots we have a timeline that looks something like the following (all dates are in 2008).

31 October Return to Fort Bragg, NC
14 November Complete outprocessing, sign out on terminal leave
19 December Released from active duty
26 December Boxing Day

Of course, the “if” up there is a big one. You might have heard of something called a “stop-loss”. This is when the military prevents soldiers from leaving active duty when their release date falls in the middle of their unit’s deployment.

The Army might stop-loss us so that we complete the entire 12 or 15 month deployment with the rest of our unit (whatever unit that ends up being). The Army would have to extend us past the 545 day mark to do so, which is entirely within their rights. They have done this to some folks, and not to others. I probably won’t know until late summer 2008 whether I’m coming back in mid-fall, or not until spring 2009.

4. What is the IRR? How did you get on the IRR in the first place?

Every time someone signs a contract to join the US military, they sign on for an 8 year commitment. Depending on the terms of your contract, the number of those 8 years that you have to serve on active duty will vary. For example, a service academy (e.g. West Point) graduate owes 5 years of active duty. An officer commissioned through ROTC owes 4 years active duty.

From there, the balance of the 8 years can be served with additional active duty, national guard/reserves, or on the Individual Ready Reserve, or IRR.

I chose to continue my service on the IRR. While on the IRR, imagine a roster filled with about 100,000 names behind a little piece of glass that says “Break In Case of Emergency.” After the terrorist strikes on 11 September, 2001, the President authorized the activation of IRR soldiers, and that’s how I ended up back on active duty.

As for the more metaphysical aspects of the IRR and my reactions to it, I go into additional detail here, here and here.

4 comments:

Mrs. Exnicios said...

I think a FAQ is "how is your wife and that adorable orange kitty?"

auntjoan said...

Thank you,sweetie.You answered all my questions.

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