Tuesday, April 17, 2007

That's new

I should check my USAREC Messages more often. I suppose I disregarded this as an April Fools joke.

Effective 1APR07 the Army Reserve Education Career Stabilization (ECS) went into effect. For those with access to the USAREC homepage you can find it on UM 07-109. Read it. It's some good stuff.

What it boils down to is this:

Qualifying reserve applicants can receive a 2-4 years exemption from deployment for OIF/OEF to attend college. They must be a full or part time student and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. Only Non Prior Service (no split-op, PS, or DOS) Alphas are eligible for the program. They must enlist for an 8x0 contract to receive a 4 year exemption, and can receive a 2-3 year exemption for a 6x2. They're also eligible for any other incentives in effect at the time of their enlistment.

So, basically, I can honestly tell someone they will not go to Iraq or Afghanistan for up to four years. Tomorrow I'll be looking through my processing list to find those kids who are going to college, or whose parents were the issue. This is similar to the College First option the RA had years ago, and is almost exactly the same as the College First Program the National Guard has now.

It is refreshing to see an acknolwedgment that recruiting for the Reserve has changed in the years since 9-11. More than once I've stood at parade rest, or sat at attention, across from someone telling me how successful they were in recruiting for the Reserve back in the late 90s. Yesterday marked my 12th year in the Army Reserve. I've served both as a TPU and an AGR during this time. When I joined the Army Reserve my recruiter told me that the Reserve was a great scholarship and that the Reserve unit I was going to would never be activated during my 6 year enlistment. I would have joined anyway, but hearing that was reassuring. A recruiter making this same statement today would be, rightly, branded a bald-faced liar.

Recruiting for the Reserve during a time when the Reserve is no longer "strategic" but "deployed into the freaking war" is fundamentally different from back in the day. The ECS is an official acknowledgment that something needs to change in recruiting for this force. I'm glad to have it as an option. Now I just need to try and put it to use.

Because I'm curious, was anyone else out here aware of this earlier? Cause Lord knows I didn't find out about it until two weeks after it was out.


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