High demand for IRR sailors to muster and 2,000 must report to Reserve centers

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Subject: High demand’ IRR sailors to muster; 2,000 must report to Reserve centers

High demand for IRR sailors to muster and 2,000 must report to Reserve centers

By Christopher Munsey
NavyTimes staff writer
February 14, 2005

About 2,000 members of the Navy’s Individual Ready Reserve — sailors and officers who have served the active-duty portion of their contract but still have time left on their overall contract — will be ordered to muster at Naval Reserve centers around the country starting in April.

Navy officials describe the muster as a routine administrative measure, saying it’s not a prelude to an involuntary mobilization. “All we’re doing is updating the personnel data,” said Capt. Mike Saylor, commanding officer of Naval Reserve Personnel Command.

Regardless, Saylor described those being called in as “high demand/low density-type folks” — people who have skills and training either needed by the active-duty Navy, or to fill a joint requirement on the Navy’s behalf.

“We want to take a better look at them, to make sure they’re physically able to handle mobilization, and to let them know we need their skills,” Saylor said.

Those with a more pessimistic view note the combat-related skills of those ratings on the recall list, as well as the very public demands being placed on a stretched-thin U.S. Army in Iraq. Last June, the Army announced that due to the blistering pace of deployments for Iraq, it would seek to activate 5,674 former soldiers in its IRR rolls to relieve active-duty units. So far, the Navy has not ordered anyone from the IRR back onto active duty, Saylor said.

But since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, 400 Navy people have voluntarily come back onto active duty from the IRR, officials said. The majority of those selected for muster this fiscal year are sailors with ratings — and officers with designators — in the following communities and specialties:

• Cargo handling.

• Seabees.

• Explosive ordnance disposal.

• Naval coastal warfare.

• Special warfare.

• Judge Advocate General’s Corps and legalmen.

• Masters-at-arms and sailors with the 9545 law enforcement specialist Naval Enlisted Classification.

• Supply Corps officers.

• Intelligence personnel with linguistic training.

• Hospital corpsmen with the field medical service technician NEC.

Already, nearly 500 of the 2,000 being called in for muster have contacted the Navy and volunteered to go back on active duty, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. John Filostrat.

At the muster, sailors will get a medical examination, update all their records and hear a recruiting pitch about opportunities with the Reserve and active-duty Navy, Filostrat said. The process should take about four hours, and sailors will net a $166.25 paycheck, Filostrat said.

Musters will be scheduled from April to July. Overall, there are 67,000 sailors and officers in the Individual Ready Reserve. Everyone in the IRR is supposed to update their contact information by mail annually, Filostrat said.

A second round of musters, of about the same number of sailors and officers, should take place by the end of the fiscal year, Saylor said.
YNCS Don Harribine, USN(ret)