A friend going back into the Army

A friend of mine was a sergeant in the Army, a Scout. He was discharged, started a business, was successful, got burned out, closed the business, and moved across the state. I got an email from him today saying the ‘Army has its meat hooks’ in him and it looks as if he may have to report on the first of the month.

First: What are the Scouts? He’s mentioned a few things, but I’m not clear on it.

Second: What’s the deal with recalling soldiers after they’ve put in their time and have been discharged?

Again, I’m not clear on the whole story. There seems to have been some sort of choice: He could re-join and get a choice of assignments, or he could get recalled and be put wherever the Army decides to put him. I don’t know what he chose. Last I saw him was at his wedding a few weeks ago, and it sounded as if he was trying to figure out what to do.

When you enlist, IIRC, it’s normally for so-many years of active duty (I signed up for 6 years in the Air Force, but many folks sign up for 4, and I’ve heard of folks doing 2 years in the Army), and around 8 years total, with the balance of your time not in Active Duty or the Reserves in the Inactive Ready Reserve, which is basically a talent pool of servicemembers who have been trained, have done the military thing, but aren’t on the payroll, and so aren’t currently training.

After you get out, you have so much time to spend in the IRR where you can be recalled to active duty by Uncle Sam if they decide they need some extra manpower, but otherwise are free to pursue a civilian life.

As for what Scouts do, I dunno, but I’m curious about that too.

Most likely he was a Cavalry Scout, which is MOS 19D. It is basically the Armor Branch’s version of Infantry. As the name suggests, they scout. There are used to guard, screen or cover the main body of a unit. They are generally not used in a stand up fight. They are trained to find and fix the enemy so a larger force can take them out. In general they are trained to sneak rather than fight. They can fight out of either Bradleys or scout Humvees. Of course that is per doctrine. In Iraq they are used pretty much the same as infantry.

As to the him going back, I don’t think you have the whole story. The only way the army could easily bring him back is if he is not yet done with his initial commitment. Everybody signs up initially for 8 years. Usually you don’t sign for the full ammount for active duty. You sign with the understanding that after your 4 or 6 years of active the remainder of your commitment will be in the Inactive Ready Reserve. When your 8 years are up then you get your discharge. If he is past his 8 years then he either voluntarily decided to stay in the IRR or he signed back up and he isn’t telling you.

Loach: That sounds familiar. He did mention being in Bradleys and sneaking around.

Once someone enters the United States Armed Forces, they incur an 8 year Military Service Obligation. That obligation includes both Active and Inactive time. Those who complete their required Active Duty prior to eight years are not discharged. They are released from Active Duty and transferred to a Reserve component. At the 8 year mark, they are then discharged from that component.

Those of us who have retired from the Armed Forces are subject to recall to Active Duty for a certain number of years (or until we reach a certain age; I don’t rememeber right now and am too lazy to look it up). For example, one of my older brothers had retired from the Reserves and got recalled to Active Duty and sent to the Mid-East for one year.

Turns out he joined in 2000.

I’m not saying that it is impossible that he is being called up involuntarily. I just find it hard to believe, especially with less than one year to go in his obligation. Several thousand IRR soldiers have been called up since 911. A lot fewer than many would think from listening to the media. A large percentage of the call ups were voluntary (one cite said over half but I’m not sure if that is true). Most of the involuntary call ups were for very specific jobs, not scouts or infantry. Many of them have been officers. Most if not all were taken with more than 2 years left in their obligation.

Are you sure that he isn’t being asked to join a TPU unit in the Army Reserve? Global Security explains it pretty well

I got recalled back into the Army while in the IRR; I’m here in Iraq serving out my time right now.

Here’s the deal: If he got orders, he has to report, pure and simple. There’s no choice at all. If he didn’t get orders, and he joined up in 2000 with an 8 year commitment, he might just slip through without being recalled. Although he could technically be recalled on his last day of IRR time, and then stop-lossed for another year (or 15 months) while deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

If he wants to sign back up, there is an excellent TPU program going on that Loach alluded to: Re-enlist for three years with a local reserve unit, get a $5000 bonus and “two years stabilization”. (I used scare quotes because I’ve personally known people who thought they were stabilized but got deployed anyway. So I don’t know if I trust that guarantee.) They might have presented him with that option, along with a description of all the IRRs getting called up, leaving the impression that his choice is to join a TPU or get recalled.

Oh, and Loach: I got called up involuntarily, with less than 2 years left. My roommate right now is also IRR and his 8 years are already up. Everyone else who reported to Ft. Jackson at the same time as us (around 70 soldiers, though supposedly almost twice that many were called up and didn’t show) were involuntary. We met up with some IRRs who got called up to Ft. Benning, and they said about the same number were called up there, all involuntary. So it isn’t hard at all for me to believe that this guy is getting called up involuntarily with less than a year left. We’re all getting ready to go back home this summer, so maybe the OP’s friend is coming to replace us.

Sneaking around in a Bradley?? :open_mouth:

When did it change to 8 years? It was only 6 years for me back in the 70’s and for a nephew that went into the Air Force in the mid 90’s.

1980s. When I entered the Armed Forces in the very late 1970s (as in 1979), it was six years. Last I heard, the MSO has not been decreased.

Here is a PDF of the DD Form 4 Enlistment/Reenlistment Document Armed Forces of the United States, version dated October 2007. You will notice, on page 2 of the DD 4/1, Section C, Item 10, a detailed explanation of the eight year MSO. My guess is that either you or your nephew misremembered the obligatory period for him.

Separate events. :wink:

Am I reading this right? You’re saying that you can be on the last day of your eight years and then get called back for 15 months for a total of 9 years 3 months? That’s not much of an 8 year commitment if it can last over 9.

Compared to the noise, smoke, and dust of a couple dozen M1 Abrams and all the armored support vehicles, sure… we’re talking scout for a larger armored unit, not true reconnaissance.

More likely his mission was avoiding contact with a larger opposing armored force while pinpointing their location and moving about the field of engagement outside of the line of sight of the larger armored unit.

Enlistment became an 8 year commitment before 1991 at least, because I had an 8 year (4 active 4 IRR) commitment. I used up my IRR commitment in the Air National Guard.

What MOS? Everyone I met that has been recalled have been in very specific MOS’ that are in high demand.

And the cite I have seen say that they attempt to get people with two years or more left on their MSO. It is not a guarantee.

For anyone who is wondering MOS stands for Military Occupational Specialty; it’s a 5-digit code that defines your job and your rank / skill level at it in the military.

Air Force MOS was slightly different, in that our rank was not part of it but skill level was. I was a 2W151 (Aircraft Armament Systems Journeyman technican) - the 5 is the skill level of 1 (basic), 3 (skilled), 5 (journeyman), or 7 (master)

Just pro-actively fightin’ ignorance and all…

Pretty much. It depends on the type of unit the scout is in. Sometimes they are in a heavier force and there job is to destroy enemy scout elements and to locate and fix larger forces so follow on forces can continue the fight. Sometimes they are configured as a lighter force and use HMMVs. They also are trained in dismount operations. They are in Armored Cavalry Regiments (which contains scouts in Bradleys, tanks and helicopters) which can be used to guard, screen or cover a larger unit such as a Corps (either as a tripwire to the front or rear or as flank security). Along with that infantry and armor battalions have scout platoons which do the same job on a much smaller scale. So the job can cover quite a bit, from a large armored force to a small light force.

I joined in 1989 and the commitment was 8 years and had been for at least a few years. Since I’m at 19 years and counting I have passed that a few years back.

Yeah, I kinda figured if he was a Bradley troop it was light armored force and recon screen, not true recon which would be HMMV / helo / etc…

Joined in 1991, so I was out and done in 1999. I called the IRR office in St Louis last year; I didn’t give them anything but name and social security number and asked them if any orders outstanding because my understanding was that the AF was crying out for 2w151s like me at the time - they said “No orders outstanding, but if I wanted to join back up we can offer you a re-enlistment bonus of…”

I have never hung up a phone so fast in my life. It was great when I was 18, and I’m glad I did it. I just don’t want to repeat the experience at 34 and have to operate out of Bagram or Diego Garcia or Guam, thanks very much.

That’s the beauty of stop-loss! If you are on deployment orders to go overseas, you’re going. It doesn’t matter if you’re supposed to get out next week, as long as you are still assigned to the unit going overseas before your ETS (End of Time in Service) date. Just because it is possible doesn’t mean it happens all the time, though. Of course I heard rumors of people getting stop-lossed on their last day, but I never knew them personally.

I’m 94A, Tow/Javelin Misslie Systems Repairer. My job was overstrength when I got out, but apparently nobody is signing up for it anymore. But when I got called up to Ft. Jackson there were an awful lot of mechanics, MPs, small arms repairers, etc… In other words regular, non-special MOSs they just need more of.

Here’s how the drill sergeants who inprocessed us at Ft. Jackson (admittedly not exactly the horses mouth) explained it: When you enter the IRR, they put your name at the bottom of a big list. When a unit is getting deployed, the folks at HRC pull names off of the top of the list according to MOS to fill that unit’s vacant slots. There is no consideration for how long you’ve been out, how long you have left, anything. If your name comes up, they cut your orders, even if it is days before your ETS.

I like to tell people about all the old bastards who were out of the army for 16 years getting called up. Big fat, 55-year-old PFCs. It reminded me of the War with the Eskimos. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.