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.
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
- Be a Marine, active or reserve. Active duty can not apply until they have less than 6 months left on there contract.
- Completed PME(MCI’s and acadamies for SNCO’s) for your grade. Requirements are here MCO P1553.4
- Meet height and weight standards. Found here MCO P 6100.12.
- Can not be retired or disabled by any service.
- Meet age requirements(waiverable). Sgt(31) – SSgt (35) – CWO(39) – Lt(28) – Capt (34) – Major(39)
- Pass a physical. DD Form 2807 and DD Form 2808.
- Have 3 years on a reserve contract before assignment.
- 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 www.marines.mil 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 https://www.marines.usmc.mil/PA_NEW/MCRC_PA_REGDIST_00.html 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.