Active Reserve(AR) Program – USMC – Eligibility and Templates

I have been on the Active Reserve(AR) program for three years now and would like to share some opinions about the program and provide a small guide to getting on the program.

First I will talk about what AR is.  Active Reserve Marines are by contract and component designation reserve Marines.  You should read that sentence again.  The designation as reserve Marine has a lot of meaning in our world.  I want to make you aware of some of the negatives about being in the AR program and then some of the advantages.


  • Bonus funding is almost nonexistent.  You will most likely never receive a bonus for reenlistment.
  • Promotions can be very cyclical.  The very small number of personnel inside each occupational field can lead to some stagnation within the ranks.  Their is a lot of up and down with  available promotions.  Plan on getting promoted at the target years see this  MARADMIN 068-11.
  • Being reserve component excludes you from most active duty special assignments and commissioning programs: Warrant Officer, Congressional Liaison, Intel College, and many other small active duty programs.
  • You will be stationed in New Orleans at some point.


  • Some great duty assignments.
  • Very low deployment cycle. (Can be a good and bad thing depending on your preference)
  • Most duty stations are not at large Marine Corps bases. (good and bad also)
  • Great community relations(COMREL) opportunities.
  • Very tight working groups of I&I staff.
  • Lots of opportunity to excel and carry many billets.

Weigh the pros and cons in your own circumstances carefully before you move forward.

Marine Corps Manpower Active Reserve Website

I will cover this process in steps as questions.

1.  Are you prior active duty or SMCR?  Are you qualified?

The following Career MOSs are supported:
0121, 0151, 0193, 0231, 0311, 0331, 0369, 0411, 0431, 0451, 0481, 0491, 0621, 0629, 0691, 0651, 0656, 0699, 0699, 1141, 1142

1161, 1169, 1171, 1181, 2111, 3043, 3051, 3451, 3521, 3522, 3529, 3531, 3537, 5711, 6046, 6019, 6048, 6072, 6073, 6112, 6113

6114, 6152, 6153, 6154, 6172, 6173, 6216, 6217, 6256, 6257, 6242, 6322, 6391, 6316, 6317, 6324, 6336, 6337, 6591, 6531, 6541

6672, 7041, 8412, 8421
and Limited Tour MOS supported are:
1371, 1391, 1812, 1833, 2146, 3381, 5811, 7011, 7372, 7382

You have to be one of the above or eligible to lateral move into one of the above MOS.

It doesn’t matter, except for your Date of Rank, more later about that.  Here are the shorthand qualification requirements.  MCO 1001.52H

    1. Be a Marine, active or reserve.  Active duty can not apply until they have less than 6 months left on there contract.
    2. Completed PME(MCI’s and acadamies for SNCO’s) for your grade.  Requirements are here MCO P1553.4
    3. Meet height and weight standards.  Found here MCO P 6100.12.
    4. Can not be retired or disabled by any service.
    5. Meet age requirements(waiverable).  Sgt(31) – SSgt (35) – CWO(39) – Lt(28) – Capt (34) – Major(39)
    6. Pass a physical.  DD Form 2807 and DD Form 2808.
    7. Have 3 years on a reserve contract before assignment.
    8. Be able to serve 5 consecutive years before retirement.

Just to clear up some things that are incorrect in this section of the MCO, there is no selection board for enlisted AR packages now, they are accepted/denied by the monitors.  Commanding officer endorsements are not required unless you are a drilling reservist or on active duty.

I would recommend finding out who the most senior enlisted Marine for you MOS that is on the AR program and give them a call.  The monitors regularly speak with the AR MOS sponsor. (hint hint)

You will need to get on  or on the site and check the current maradmins for any Active Reserve messages that may have more strict guidance than those listed here.  They sometimes add small changes.

2.  Can you type and use a copy machine?

Below is a template for the package itself.  You will have to attach all of the documentation listed in the enclosures section and get it signed off.  This signature can be difficult for IRR Marines because you will have to work through a Prior Service Recruiter.

Finding your local PSR is hard.  First go here then call the district closest to you and ask them for the PSR phone number.  I know that seems silly but most of the Recruiting websites are broken or out of date so best to just call.

UPDATE** I have added this Prior Service Recruiter point of contact page.

The PSR will be able to pull the currently avaliable billets and let you know what is open.  You can use my template attached or they might provide you one.

Find the closest military hospital.  Go there get a physical, this is very hard if you are not SMCR and have a good relationship with our command, they should let you RMP or RIDT to get it done, because you need to be on duty.

3.  Submit it up the chain or to RAM-2.

Then wait. You should be contacted by phone if you are approved or denied to join.  RAM-2 will also release a naval message that will act as your orders to active duty and TMO validation.  You PSR or unit career planner will have to pull this for you most likely.

Some other info.

There are currently five “B-Billets” available: Prior Service Recruiting (8411), Drill Instructor (0911), Training Chief (8711), Special Staff Billets (8014) and Marine Combat Instructors (0913). Marines are not hired directly to a B-Billet. Once career designated, RAM-2 may screen Marines for one of these duties, or a Marine may request via AA Form to be screened. Communication with the special assignments monitor can determine availability of particular billet locations. Drill Instructors, Recruiters, and Marine Combat Instructor all receive Special Duty Assignment (SDA) pay.

Basically, service with the AR is identical to service with the active component. The major difference is that the AR mission is to support the reserve component. Also, we have virtually no overseas billets. We compete for promotions with other AR Marines on the same schedule as the reserve component. Refer to MCO 1001.52H W/ CH1, the AR Order for specifics.

P.S. This is a working document.  Subject to updates.

21 thoughts on “Active Reserve(AR) Program – USMC – Eligibility and Templates

  1. Uggi

    I was trying to look for the template to figure everything out to start a package but didn’t see it on the site. After your physical, what other big process do you have to wait on fit approval is it just an approval from your command do we have to do another background check and wait on that too?

    1. killfoot

      Sorry for the delayed response. Your primary hurdle will be the Manpower office confirming that there an MOS match to a billet. Also depending on the MOS you may have to do a phone call with the AR MOS sponsor.

  2. howareth

    I am about to go on the AR program but haven’t received my acceptance yet. I have been hearing from other AR marines that when they came on they couldn’t use TMO and had to do their first move out of pocket. Is this true? If so it would be an unexpected inconvenience for me.

    1. killfoot

      I have not heard of anyone not getting TMO when being accessed unless they were already local. That being said your orders will be released via Message and you will need to make sure to get someone to get them for you. That Marine Corps message will be the only orders you get so save the message. You will need to make sure that TMO is listed as authorized on that message, and I would try to get out in front of the release to confirm if you have more than just rumors to suggest that you may not be authorized TMO.


  3. killfoot

    I have not heard of anyone not getting TMO when being accessed unless they were already local. That being said your orders will be released via Message and you will need to make sure to get someone to get them for you. That Marine Corps message will be the only orders you get so save the message. You will need to make sure that TMO is listed as authorized on that message, and I would try to get out in front of the release to confirm if you have more than just rumors to suggest that you may not be authorized TMO.

  4. Lucifer_Sam

    If you attempt to reenlist and are denied a standard reenlistement, can you then attempt to enter the AR program? or do you just have to pick one and hope for the best. I have a prior alcohol related NJP from 3 years ago, but i’m not sure if this would be a deal breaker or not.

    1. Lucifer_Sam

      I’m a 0651, by the way. I keep hearing that they are trying to keep in data Marines who know their job.

      1. killfoot

        You should reach out to a PSR and see. They “no waiver” items change quite a bit every year. Your primary issue will be your RE code, and then any NJP history. I have the PSR POC on the site here.

  5. John

    I’m planning on using my GI Bill and doing 4-years SMCR and/or IMA duty, hopefully to pick up SSgt. Does anyone know how difficult it is to move from reserve component to active, to do MSG duty? I’d like to do it after finishing my education. Any help is appreciated.

    1. killfoot

      In all honesty, your chances of returning to Active Duty once you pick up Staff are astronomically low. It is extremely extremely rare. You will have a better chance returning as an officer.

  6. Sgt Taylor

    Any Marines seeking further information about the Active Reserve Program, or any of the other great Marine Corps Reserve programs we offer, please feel free to give me a call. I am a Prior Service Recruiter for the southern California area and I would be glad to assist in any way that I can….Semper Fi.

    Sgt Taylor
    [email protected]

  7. Pingback: New FY means New Reserve Options | KillFoot

    1. killfoot

      There will be a Naval message that will serve as your orders. It may move slightly but probably not, unless you are in direct contact with the RAM coordinator.

  8. Nate

    I joined the national guard after my IRR contract ran out, but have been spying on the open billets within my area to pursue. I spoke with a psr and tried to get him to answer a few questions but kept ignoring my questions and kind of answered questions he thought I had. My question is can I enlist back into the IRR after my national guard contract to apply for acthve reserve? He made it seem like I had to be a drilling marine to apply for active reserve.

    He kind of just threw my about 7 attachments in an email of things I needed to do with no explain of what they are or his opinion on them or anything so I’m in a boat by myself if I want to get anything going.

    1. killfoot

      The usual policy is that need to have at least the 3 years of initial contract time on a Marine Corps Reserve contract before applying to an AR position. In short he is right that you need to be affiliated, and IRR may not meet the contract requirements set by RAM-4 for AR packages.

      Couple other notes. It is possible to request a conditional release from your NG contract into a Marine Corps Reserve contract. It is a specific form based on branch, but you could release much sooner.

      Keep in mind that the PSRs talk to alot of Marines with grand ideas and very few actually sign on the line. So some of their distance may just be some basic filtering. Also you are not going to help the recruiters numbers and may not ever help their numbers if the time frames you are talking about are more than a tour.

      1. Nate

        Thank you for the quick response. My NG contract ends in June, so I am not sure if trying to roll over the remaining into a Marine Corps. Reserve contract would even be approved in that time frame.

        On another note, I still plan to continue my pursuit of that active reserve spot here in Houston. And hopefully can get just a tad bit more effort from his side.

  9. Alessandra Sams

    Good afternoon. I’m looking to put in an AR package within the next month. Is it a hard program to get into? Also what are the chances of getting the duty station you want. Thank you

Comments are closed.