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Army & Reserve enlistment contracts in 1990s


RebeccaNY
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RebeccaNY

Hi, I'm a writer working on a fictional story about a male character who was in the US Army, then the Army Reserve. I'm asking about the length of enlistment contracts beginning in the 1990s.

 

I would like for my character to join the Army in 1995, at age 19, and serve in some capacity in the Army and Reserve for 12 years, until age 31 in 2007. I'm not sure if that's realistic.

 

Potential timeline: Starting in 1995, he serves two years at the base in Hawaii, then three years at the base in Germany. Right after September 11, 2001, he works full time as a Reservist at Fort Drum for four years. He then goes home, and for the next 1.5 years, just does one training drill per month and two weeks per year. It's now May 2006, and he is called up for a 12-month deployment to Iraq, which ends his service.

 

My questions:

 

– Is this a realistic timeline? Five years full-time in the Army, a one year gap, four years full-time in the Reserve, 1.5 years part-time in the Reserve, then one year in Iraq.

 

– If this is not realistic, what would make it more realistic? For example, less time in Germany? Less full-time in the Reserve and more part-time?

 

– Would he have to reenlist at any point for this timeline? If so, when?

 

– Is it realistic to have a one year gap between 2000 and 2001, or would he be on part-time Reserve duty during that time?

 

– What does the Army mean by PART-TIME Reserve work? Is that, indeed, training drills once per month, plus a two week annual training?

 

– If I'm unable to get my questions answered on this forum, could you point me to a forum or resource where I could get the answers? Thank you!

 

Rebecca

Syracuse, NY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Salvage Sailor

Aloha Rebecca & welcome to the forum,

 

We have several published authors on the site so you're in good company.  Your timeline seems very realistic and accurate but I'll wait for the USA/USAR Cold War veterans to chime in on the details.

 

Thank you for asking very specific & detailed questions.

 

Just give this a few days for the members to notice the topic and respond

 

There ya go.....

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Sounds plausible.

 

When I went from Active Duty to Reserve in the mid 1980's, I fulfilled my original six year contract for service with 5.5 years active and just over a year in the Reserves.  I don't recall there being a further service obligation for my time in the Reserves when I left.

 

I am not sure if it was different for Enlisted personnel moving from Active Duty to Reserve or if it was similar.  I am thinking once they had resolved any prior contract obligation further enlistments would have been typically for either 2 years or 4 years.  Attending a service school or special training could extend your service obligation.

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RebeccaNY

 

Sailor and gwb123, thank you very much for your responses! And thanks for your service to our country.

 

Have you ever heard of a Reserve contract of at least six years? If so, then my character could start in 1995 with a six year contract, as gwb123 did (about five years active and one year Reserve). Then my character, in about the spring or summer of 2001, could reenlist — in the Reserve — for six years. (Of course, my character would have no idea what would happen later, on September 11 of that year!)

 

This would give me the 12 years I need, from 1995 to 2007.

 

Also, do you know if a service contract for the Reserve could cover BOTH full-time work while living at a Army base AND part-time work (one drill per month, two weeks per year)?

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Salvage Sailor

When Gil & I served (1970's-1980's) there was a combined service obligation of six (6) years active/reserve duty.  The mix of active and reserve service was prescribed by your enlistment contract (i.e. 2 years active/4 years active reserve, 3 years active/2 years active reserve/1 year inactive reserve, 4 years active/2 years inactive reserve) but the first enlistment commitment totaled six (6) years.  This held true for ROTC/USMA/USNA graduates & enlisted volunteers.

 

In the Navy a six (6) year active duty enlistment contract was required for specialized training (Nuclear ratings, advanced electronics, etc.) as this entailed two or more years of college level specialized education and then an additional four years with the fleet or shore installation.

 

If you reupped for a second enlistment of active duty, you were transferred from the Reserves to the Regular forces (USAR to USA, USNR to USN, etc.) and the term could be 2, 3, or 4 years, typically being 4 years.  The active reserves worked under a different set of parameters and length of enlistment contracts, often dependent upon your billet (job, MOS, etc.) and what was available on the table of organization of the Reserve unit to which you were assigned.  Sometimes this also involved a reduction in rank, especially if you took a year or two break as you mentioned for your character.

 

Later in the 1990's I believe, the service obligation changed to eight (8) years and hopefully someone with direct experience in the active Army Reserve will share their knowledge of the terms of enlistments.

 

 

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RebeccaNY

Thank you for this helpful response! I really appreciate it.

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Unicorn

Realistic and doable. I'm curious how you think he'd be full time in the reserves then part time later though? There are some full time, active duty, positions in the Reserves and National Guard, and I'm wondering if those are what you mean? Most units have two or three AGRs, "Active Guard/Reserves." A Supply Sergeant, and one or two as admin who often have a different role in the unit when it's drill or when activated. There are also full time positions at the national level.

 

Other than that, everyone in the Reserves is part time... a weekend a month and two weeks in the summer (ish... sometimes it can be three or even four days instead of a two day weekend).

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During the early 80's it was a 6 year contract with full time and reserve/inactive reserve obligation making up the 6 years . I joined on delayed enlistment in September 80 and left in June 1981, I served untl july 1989 and did not have any obligation. I believe in the late 80's is when the obligation was raised to 8 years.  Fyi Hawaii like Alaska are oconus and it would have been hard to go from them to Germany without re-enlisting

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  • 3 weeks later...
RebeccaNY

Unicorn and bummer, thanks for your responses. And thank you again to all you veterans for your service!

 

Unicorn, you asked about my character being full-time in the Reserve, then part-time later. My fictional character is based on a friend of mine who was in the Reserve.

 

After September 11, my friend was mobilized to full-time duty at Fort Drum, where he lived and worked for over a year. In about October 2002, he was sent home for a few months. In the winter of 2003, he was mobilized back to full-time duty at Fort Drum for about 15 months. He went home again in about May, 2004.

 

I don't actually know what my friend did when he was back home, besides his regular job. I assumed he was doing a monthly training drill for the Reserve, but I don't know that for sure. (I've been calling the monthly training drill "part-time" in the Reserve, but I don't even know if part-time is the correct term.)

 

I will try to find out whether it's realistic for my fictional character to be doing monthly training drills at home AFTER he lived at Fort Drum full-time for a while and BEFORE he is deployed to Iraq.

 

I'm wondering now if my friend was affected by "stop-loss" in connection with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I guess it's possible that my fictional character's timeline in the Reserve could also be explained by stop-loss, if the timeline is not otherwise realistic.

 

However, according to Wikipedia, stop-loss affected only about 1% of active duty, Reserve, and National Guard troops:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop-loss_policy

 

 

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Zack Miller

Either option is feasible.  He could have been drilling for the year or re-activated by stop-loss.  I know of two physicians who were reactivated by stop loss during Desert Storm.  
 

I wrote a novel called Texas Medicine about a physician mobilized for Desert Storm. 

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