IRR Call-Up Redux
A group of Army Reserve soldiers rarely tapped for duty could soon be heading to Iraq, Pentagon officials said Wednesday. The troops, part of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), could be called to fill holes in units deploying to Iraq as part of the upcoming rotation of troops later this year. As many as 6,500 IRR troops could be called and would be chosen because of critical skills needed in Iraq, such as Military Police, infantry or engineers, Pentagon officials said. A decision by the Pentagon to call up these troops is expected within the next week, according to officials.
The Pentagon has a pool of about 118,000 Army IRR troops, consisting of people with past military service who have a remaining mandatory service obligation. The category is distinct from regular Reserve troops because they do not perform any military service during the year, yet are still eligible to be called to service. About 2,000 IRR troops already serve at some capacity with Operation Iraqi Freedom, though many of them volunteered for service, according to Pentagon officials.
The last time a significant number of IRR troops were called to duty was for the Gulf War in 1991, according to Pentagon officials.
This has been a slow-developing story, especially since word of it was leaked and exploited by recruiters to dupe the uninformed into “volunteering” for duty. [See all OTB posts on the issue here.]