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American Forces Press Service

Army to Call up 5,600 Individual Ready Reservists

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 30, 2004 - The Army will call up 5,600 soldiers in the Individual Ready Reserve beginning July 6, Army officials here said today.

The soldiers will fill out the ranks of Army Reserve and Army National Guard units slated to participate in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. No other service is contemplating calling up their ready reservists, officials said.

The Army needs soldiers as drivers, automated logistical specialists, light- wheeled vehicle mechanics, administrative specialists and combat engineers. The service also needs cooks, carpenters and masonry specialists, petroleum supply specialists, and cable system installer-maintainers.

In the officer ranks, the specialties are concentrated in the combat service support branches.

Soldiers usually enter the IRR after finishing the active duty portion of their enlistment. Soldiers incur an eight-year obligation upon enlisting. Most soldiers, however, serve four years. That leaves four years in the IRR. Other soldiers enter the IRR after finishing selected reserve duty. Officers are in the IRR until they resign their commissions.

Those affected by the callup are a small proportion of those in the Individual Ready Reserve. As of June 22, the Ready Reserve pool had 111,323 members.

The soldiers will be mobilized for up to 18 months and can serve up to 24 months, said Robert Smiley, the Army's principal assistant for training, readiness and mobilization. "Individual Ready Reserve soldiers who have returned from operational missions in combat zones or hardship tours within the last 12 months will not be mobilized unless they volunteer."

The soldiers affected will receive mailgram notifications beginning July 6. They will receive orders five to seven days after receiving the mailgrams. "They will also receive a packet of information that will give them basic information about how to report, what to bring, how their families will be cared for and so on," said Army Col. Debra A. Cook, commander of the Army Human Resources Command in St. Louis.

The colonel said that the soldiers will receive medical screening and then individual refresher training. They will then marry up with their units for unit training before being deployed overseas.

"We will not deploy any soldier who is not trained and not ready," Smiley said.

The day they report for active duty is when their military benefits kick in, officials said. However, from the time they receive the alert notice, soldiers' families can use the military's Tricare medical system.

Cook said family needs of these reservists have been taken into consideration. Soldiers will receive packets of information to share with spouses. Each family will be collected into the family readiness group for the area. Cook said the readiness group will be contacted and told that an individual soldier has been mobilized. That group "reaches out and touches that family and incorporates them so they have a support group to work with" during the deployment.

Army officials said there may be more involuntary mobilizations from the Individual Ready Reserve in coming Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom rotations.

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