Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

US military calling up Individual Ready Reserve

Old 11-16-04, 10:41 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
US military calling up Individual Ready Reserve

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/16/na...rint&position=


Former G.I.'s, Ordered to War, Fight Not to Go
By MONICA DAVEY

The Army has encountered resistance from more than 2,000 former soldiers it has ordered back to military work, complicating its efforts to fill gaps in the regular troops.

Many of these former soldiers - some of whom say they have not trained, held a gun, worn a uniform or even gone for a jog in years - object to being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan now, after they thought they were through with life on active duty.

They are seeking exemptions, filing court cases or simply failing to report for duty, moves that will be watched closely by approximately 110,000 other members of the Individual Ready Reserve, a corps of soldiers who are no longer on active duty but still are eligible for call-up.

In the last few months, the Army has sent notices to more than 4,000 former soldiers informing them that they must return to active duty, but more than 1,800 of them have already requested exemptions or delays, many of which are still being considered.

And, of about 2,500 who were due to arrive on military bases for refresher training by Nov. 7, 733 had not shown up.

Army officials say the call-up is proceeding at rates they anticipated, and they are trying to fill needed jobs with former soldiers as they did in the Persian Gulf war of 1991.

Still, the resistance puts further strain on a military that has summoned reserve troops in numbers not seen since World War II and forced thousands of soldiers in Iraq to postpone their departures when their enlistment obligations ended.

Tensions are flaring between the Army and some of its veterans, who say they are surprised and confused about their obligations and unsure where to turn.

"I consider myself a civilian," said Rick Howell, a major from Tuscaloosa, Ala., who said he thought he had left the Army behind in 1997 after more than a decade flying helicopters. "I've done my time. I've got a brand new baby and a wife, and I haven't touched the controls of an aircraft in seven years. I'm 47 years old. How could they be calling me? How could they even want me?"

Some former soldiers acknowledge that the Army has every right to call them back, but argue that their personal circumstances - illness, single parenthood, financial woes - make going overseas impossible now.

Others say they do not believe they are eligible to be returned to active duty because, they contend, they already finished the obligations they signed up for when they joined the military. A handful of such former soldiers, scattered across the country, have filed lawsuits making that claim in federal courts.

These former soldiers are not among the part-time soldiers - reservists and National Guard members - who receive paychecks and train on weekends, and who have been called up in large numbers over the last three years.

Instead, these are members of the Individual Ready Reserve, a pool of former soldiers seldom ordered back to work. Ordinarily, these former soldiers do not get military pay, nor do they train. They receive points toward a military retirement and an address form to update once a year.

When soldiers enlist, they typically agree to an eight-year commitment to the Army but often are allowed to end active duty sooner. Some of them join the Reserves or National Guard to complete their commitment; others finish their time in the Individual Ready Reserve.

For officers, the commitment does not expire unless they formally resign their commissions in writing, a detail some insist they did not know and were not told when they signed their contracts, although Army officials strongly dispute that.

Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, a spokeswoman for the Army, said people in the service are well aware of the provision. "We all know about it," Colonel Hart said.

She said problems with the call-ups of former soldiers have involved a relatively small number of people, are being worked out, and are hardly unique to this conflict. In the first gulf war, she said, more than 20,000 former soldiers were called up. With medical problems and no-shows, only about 14,400 were actually deployed, she said.

Most of the deployments in the first gulf war lasted 120 days, the Army said. The current call-ups are more likely to last a year.

Of those seeking exemptions now, the Army is studying each person's case individually, Colonel Hart said, and has no set rule on what allows a person to avoid deployment. Army officials are still weighing more than half of the requests. So far, only 3 percent of requests for exemptions have been turned down, while 45 percent have been approved.

As for the former soldiers who failed to appear at bases by their assigned dates, the Army is trying to reach them, one by one, to discuss their circumstances, Colonel Hart said. In late September, some Army officials suggested that they would pursue harsher punishments - declaring people AWOL and possibly pursuing military charges - but the Army has since taken a quieter, more conciliatory approach.

"These are challenging times in their lives," Colonel Hart said, adding that some former soldiers who failed to report might have moved and not received the Army's notice. "We're contacting them as best as possible."

For the rest, though, some questions linger over who really qualifies for the callback.

Colette Parrish said she burst into tears the evening that her husband, Todd, walked into their house in Cary, N.C., with a letter from the Army calling him back to service. "We had no idea this could happen," she said. "We hadn't been preparing for any of it because we thought it wasn't possible."

At first, Mr. Parrish, 31, said he was convinced that the letter was just an administrative error because he believed that his time in the Individual Ready Reserve had ended.

He had gone to college on an R.O.T.C. scholarship, then served four years as a field artillery officer. He said he resigned his commission after that, became an engineer, and still owed the Army four years in the Individual Ready Reserve to complete his total obligation.

To Mr. Parrish, who has filed a lawsuit against the Army in federal court in North Carolina, that obligation ended on Dec. 19, 2003. But the Army apparently does not agree, and says that it never accepted Mr. Parrish's resignation as an officer.

As the court fight has continued, Mr. Parrish's date to report to Fort Sill, Okla., has been pushed back, again and again, one month at a time. Instead of thinking about long-term plans, for his wife and their future family, he is living in 30-day increments.

He said he always looked back on his service years fondly, and with a deep sense of patriotism.

"I guess I feel disillusioned now," he said. "This isn't about being for or against the war. It's not about Democrats or Republicans. It's just a contract, and I don't think this is right. If they need more people, shouldn't they get them the right way? How many more like me are there?"

Mark Waple, Mr. Parrish's lawyer, said he had received calls from 30 other former soldiers in recent months, all of whom had heard of Mr. Parrish's case and had similar stories.

At least two other former soldiers have filed suit over the question.

In Hawaii, David Miyasato, a former enlisted soldier who served in the first gulf war, said he would never go AWOL; he would have gone to Iraq, he said, if need be.

But Mr. Miyasato also said that his eight-year commitment ended nearly a decade ago. After he received his letter calling him back to service, he said, he called the Army repeatedly to argue that he was not eligible. Finally, he said, with his date to report to a base in South Carolina just days away, he contacted a lawyer and filed suit on Nov. 5.

"This was actually my last resort," said Mr. Miyasato, a former truck driver and fuel hauler who said that, at 34, he led an entirely different life, with an 8-month-old daughter and a window-tinting company to run. "I had been calling around everywhere for help."

On Nov. 10, Mr. Miyasato said, he learned that the Army had rescinded his orders.

In New York, Jay Ferriola, a former captain in the Army, filed a suit saying he had resigned his officer's commission in June and no longer qualified for call-up in the Individual Ready Reserve. On Nov. 5, the Army rescinded his orders and honorably discharged him.

"This shows that the system works," Colonel Hart said. "If the soldiers bring their situations to our attention, we're going to do what's right."

Barry Slotnick, Mr. Ferriola's lawyer, said he wondered how many other soldiers might be in similar positions, but without the money, the contacts or the certainty to sue. Mr. Slotnick said he had received numerous calls from others since he filed Mr. Ferriola's case in late October.

"We might as well add another phone bank," Mr. Slotnick said. "What I can see is that there are many, many cases of people being called up that shouldn't have been. This is a backdoor draft. I also have to wonder how many are already in Iraq who shouldn't be there, who just didn't think to question it."

The Army's current plan is to fill 4,400 jobs through March from among 5,600 former soldiers ordered to duty. But an Army official said last month that more former soldiers, perhaps in similar numbers, might be called on later next year, as well.

For now, those being sent to Iraq and Afghanistan are being asked to handle a variety of support positions, including truck drivers and fuel and food suppliers.

Months ago, the Army said some of the former soldiers would be needed to play the French horn, the clarinet, the euphonium, the saxophone and the electric bass as part of the military's bands, but the notion drew criticism from members of Congress who questioned the need to order people to give up their civilian lives to play instruments. Colonel Hart said the Army has since filled the musician jobs with volunteers.

Before going to Iraq, former soldiers are receiving as many days of training as they need, an Army spokesman said. Some of the soldiers said they were worried, though, about the prospect and safety of trying to get up to speed in a few months.

"These guys like me are basically untrained civilians now," said Mr. Howell, the former helicopter test pilot. Mr. Howell said he left the Army years ago with an injured back, knee and elbow, leaving him wondering about his own physical condition.

"I don't even have a uniform anymore," he said. "But they don't have any more reserves left, so we're it. All they want is some bodies to go to Iraq, just someone to be there, to sit on the ground."

When he left the military in 1997 as part of a reduction in forces, Mr. Howell said, he saw a note in the "little print" in his annuity agreement about a future commitment. But he said he was told that his obligation to the Individual Ready Reserve would be brief and meant little anyway. "They said it was just a way of having me on the books," he said.

After that, Mr. Howell said, he jumped into the civilian world. He got married. He and his new wife began building a house. They struggled to have children.

In September, his first child, Clayton, was born. Just before that, his orders arrived.

"It does rip my heart out that these young men and women are over there, and there is part of me that wants to be with them," he said recently. "But I have responsibilities here now."

Mr. Howell said he had applied to the Army for an exemption but was recently turned down. If he loses his appeal, he will be given a new reporting date. His best hope, he said, is that his appeal is buried somewhere at the very bottom of a big stack of them.
nice blurb from the NY Times today about the army calling up the IRR. I'm 99% sure I'm not going to be called up since i did my 8 years and refused to join the NG or any of the reserves.
al_bundy is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 11:36 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Mole177's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Glendale, Ca
Posts: 4,376
oh wow. no more reserves left?

that is some harsh stuff to swallow.

if there are no more reserves, these folks are needed to report in? as a lot said, they havent been up to par in a long time and they're way to old to be sent over.
Mole177 is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 11:40 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
DVD Polizei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 52,505
Well, looks like a draft is necessary then. And we can proudly blame AWOL soldiers.
DVD Polizei is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 12:00 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Ruler
 
General Zod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Posts: 21,435
I just got out of the IRR a couple of years ago (after my mandatory 4 years was up), but they make it very clear that you could be called be into active service at any time and for any reason. So these people can file their lawsuits and do whatever, but bottom line is that years ago they signed on the dotted line and when you have to go you have to go - you already raised up your hand a swore you would.

It is concerning, however, that they are reaching into the IRR bucket.
General Zod is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 12:20 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
DVD Polizei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 52,505
GZ,

This tells me that the Bush Administration is doing EVERYTHING possible to avoid a draft--which is disturbing, because I think this will do more damage to the "prestige" of being a fighter for the US.

Kerry would have done the same thing, and I just don't understand why the draft is so un-PC, when it's the law. We might as well not even legally have a draft if our government refuses to act due to illogical society pressures.

The draft is part of being a US citizen. No discussion. I mean, I read a news article about a lady who was getting disability social security from the US government, and here she is crying about losing her son. Well, lady, that's tough titties.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 11-16-04 at 12:22 PM.
DVD Polizei is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 12:40 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Ruler
 
General Zod's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Santa Clarita, CA
Posts: 21,435
Agreed. It has always been bantered about whether our army should be all-volunteer or if it should be required as, for example, the Isreali army is. My opinion on it is that it gives kids a sence of duty, honor, and patriotism that is sorely lacking in this country. We've become a country that instead of being united, we bitch about absolutely everything and look for scapegoats and play the blame game. When some idiot flys 2 planes into buildings we blame ourselves - how completely stupid.

Off my soap box now and back on topic.. There's lots of good people in the IRR just a few years out of the service. There may be enough there to do what we need. But the IRR recall is the step before the draft - but it certainly doesn't mean the draft is imminent.
General Zod is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 12:50 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
i support the all volunteer force and I am against the draft. I think it works for israel because they are a small country and they have a bigger sense of community unlike the american sense of independence. they don't have kibbutzes in the US.
al_bundy is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 02:10 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 68,522
I was drafted.

I didn't mind the draft.

Well, when I got to Vietnam I must admit that I didn't think so much it then.
classicman2 is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 02:16 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Legend
 
AGuyNamedMike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: (formerly known as Inglenook Hampendick) Fairbanks, Alaska!
Posts: 15,252
As said in the article, IRRs were called up in the Gulf War, and there was never any question of a draft. We have military personnel all over this planet and their presence must be maintained. As soldiers get rotated out of the Iraq theater, somebody has to replace them and at this point, primarily because of the massive drawdown in the last decade, we don't have a lot of spare troops painting rocks or whatever. BTW, my IRR obligation ended in 1995.
AGuyNamedMike is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 07:21 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 4,551
Ok, draft ain't going to happen. The article makes it perfectly clear that this was done in the last gulf war (I don't recall worries of draft and running out of troops then). It seems it's perfectly legal, and nearly 20,000 people were called up in the last Gulf War, so it seems this isn't just some last ditch effort to dig up troops.
jaeufraser is offline  
Old 11-16-04, 09:59 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: West Coast of Canada
Posts: 4,437
Does anyone know any of the numbers of new signups to the Army in the last few years? Is it above the regular numbers?
solipsta is offline  
Old 11-17-04, 08:35 AM
  #12  
Admin-Thanos
 
VinVega's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Caught between the moon and NYC
Posts: 31,602
Originally posted by classicman2
I was drafted.

I didn't mind the draft.

Well, when I got to Vietnam I must admit that I didn't think so much it then.
Why do the Democrats have to keep bringing up Vietnam?



Nice article. My friend who I worked with in NYC was called up. He hasn't served in 5 or 6 years and he's an out of shape bastard. He was an NBC (Nuclear/Biologocal/Chemical) Seargent though, so I guess they could send him off to look for some WMD over there. He's appealing the call up, but he's not going to file anything if he loses his appeal, he's gonna go to Iraq.
VinVega is online now  
Old 11-17-04, 11:23 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: US
Posts: 9,629
Does the military still believe that they can fight 2 major regional conflicts at the same time?
If so, I fail to see how they are even close....

dave
Dave99 is offline  
Old 11-17-04, 11:46 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: in da cloud
Posts: 26,196
technically there are enough forces to fight 2 wars at once. the current policy in iraq is to deploy a unit for 1 year, go back to home station for some time and then get ready to come back to iraq again. The stretching of the force is trying to maintain a family friendly force structure where people spend enough time away from Iraq.

if need be there are enough units to fight another war. not sure about having enough supply resources though.
al_bundy is offline  
Old 11-17-04, 11:53 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk God
 
kvrdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pacific NW
Posts: 86,201
Originally posted by Dave99
Does the military still believe that they can fight 2 major regional conflicts at the same time?
If so, I fail to see how they are even close....

dave
If you have to fight two, you fight them much differently than if you are just fighting war. You only do it if you have to, and you use much more bombs, and probably nukes.
kvrdave is offline  
Old 11-17-04, 11:57 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk God
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 68,522
Originally posted by Dave99
Does the military still believe that they can fight 2 major regional conflicts at the same time?
If so, I fail to see how they are even close....

dave
It greatly depends on the nature of the conflict and the goal that you wish to obtain.

Some conflicts don't require as much manpower as others do.
classicman2 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.