IRR Call-Up Scam

As I suspected–and to the relief of a surprising number of people who found this post and used its comments section as a discussion board–military recruiters were using the news that some members of the Individual Ready Reserve might be involuntarily activated to frighten people into re-enlisting.

Army does about-face on call-up readiness

Thousands of recent U.S. Army veterans nationwide were told to choose by Monday a new assignment in the Army Reserve or National Guard — meaning a potential return to active duty — or the military would decide for them. The Army now says the order was a mistake.

The consequence of the error appears to be a sharp increase in enlistments in Oregon and elsewhere by reservists who feared being assigned a unit without their consent. They face possible deployment to the Middle East.

Army Reserve officials said the order issued in early May prompted a flood of calls from confused veterans, who are among the estimated 118,000 reservists on inactive status. The Pentagon is not yet forcing re-enlistments but is “screening” inactive reservists for possible call-up, a spokeswoman said.

Nonetheless, e-mails and phone calls from military recruiters went out this month warning veterans that they could be involuntarily placed in active Army Reserve units. That shocked some Oregon reservists.

“I started crying and said, ‘I’m not doing this,’ ” said Carissa Jenkins, 22, of Keizer, who was discharged from active Army duty in January 2003. “I have a baby, a husband. All my values have changed.”

Jenkins said she joined the Oregon National Guard last week to keep from going back to the regular Army. Between 3,500 and 5,000 inactive reservists are in Oregon and Washington.

“It was something I did not want to do,” Jenkins said.

Whether soldiers who had signed up under the mistaken deadline would be released from their commitment was unclear Tuesday.

The military is reaching into the ranks of the Individual Ready Reserve because of the approximately 135,000 soldiers in Iraq, as well as other assignments around the globe. Soldiers in the ready reserve are subject to involuntary recall for a period of as long as four years after leaving active duty.

In Oregon, National Guard recruiters contacted soldiers on ready reserve after hearing of the Army orders to choose a unit by May 17 or face mandatory assignment.

It proved a recruiting boon.

Capt. Mike Braibish of the Oregon National Guard said that since Thursday, 107 ready reserve soldiers joined active National Guard units in Oregon. Normally, no more than a dozen such individuals would have signed up with Guard units in that time frame, he said.

“People are making a choice where they want to be assigned,” he said.

In the past week, 1,063 inactive Army reservists across the country have joined active reserve units, an Army spokeswoman said. Although comparative figures for the prior week were not available late Tuesday, “That’s a larger number than we usually have,” said Julia Collins, a civilian public affairs official for the U.S. Army Human Resources Command in St. Louis.

Obviously, any IRR members who were tricked into extending their service commitments ought be released without hesitation. Further, there needs to be an investigation into what prompted this fiasco to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Since this is such a popular topic for those affected, the remainder of the article is pasted below:

News of the Army’s move on ready reserves blindsided senior members of Congress, including John Warner, R-Va., chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee.

Senators unaware of plan

Several members of the committee said they were not told of the order, despite being briefed on the Iraq war separately on Tuesday by Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

“Not aware of it,” Warner told The Oregonian after Cheney met Tuesday with Senate Republicans over lunch. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he also was unaware of the order.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., also on the armed services panel, said the Army erred by not telling Congress about plans that affected so many reservists. By disrupting soldiers’ personal lives, the order ultimately could harm efforts to recruit and retain soldiers, he said.

“To just have multiple deployments is not what people expect when they get into the reserve or the Guard units,” Nelson said. “What we’ve got to do is rebalance the system so that this doesn’t happen this way in the future.”

Mistake unexplained

Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, commander of the Army Reserve, declined comment on how the mistake was made, a spokesman said. How the mistaken order was issued is a mystery, said Steve Stromvall, the civilian public affairs director for the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Atlanta.

“God only knows at this point where the miscommunication started,” he said.

What is happening, said Collins, is that the Army Reserve has been screening soldiers to determine how many can be assigned to active units.

The screening’s emphasis is on individuals with specialties such as medics, truck drivers and heavy-equipment operators. The project is almost complete, she said, and approximately 22,000 individuals have been identified.

The move illustrates the stress that the war on terrorism is placing on the U.S. military, particularly on the Army, which has forces concentrated in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with other deployments in Europe and Korea.

The Pentagon has come under repeated criticism for having too few troops on the ground in the Middle East. As a result, reliance on National Guard and Reserve forces is growing.

Call to soldier’s mother

Recruiters with the Oregon National Guard on Thursday called Joseph Talik’s mother, Lorisa Gardiner of Salem.

Talik, 26, of Portland said the recruiter urged that his mother contact her son. Talik served in the Army until his discharge last year. When Talik returned the recruiter’s call, he was told to join the Guard rather than risk being sent overseas.

“I was blown away,” said Talik, who is in college and working at a Portland restaurant. “The thought of having to go back on active duty was discouraging.”

Last Sunday Talik joined a Guard unit in Portland.

“The recruiter said I would have less chance for deployment,” he said. “It was my impression that very bad things would happen if I didn’t join.”

Jim Barnett and Jeff Kosseff of The Oregonian staff contributed to this report. Ron Soble: 503-302-8118; ro******@ms*.com.

FILED UNDER: Afghanistan War, Middle East, Military Affairs, Terrorism, , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rich says:

    This appears to be an outright lie by recruiters to help them in their efforts. It had me pinging for a couple of days. I’m pretty pissed that the guard would try such an shady move. The recruiter that called me said that if I didn’t join the guard immediately I would be deployed to Iraq in the very near future. -Rich

  2. James Joyner says:

    I’m willing to give the Army the benefit of the doubt that this was something innocent–either an internal memo someone wrote suggesting this as a possible solution to the problem or that there were going to be limited IRR call-ups for specialties in critical shortage–and then some industrious recruiters used it to their advantage. But, hell, even that’s pretty outrageous.

  3. Angie says:

    Do you think this will be widespread news? I think it’s ridiculous! I really don’t believe it was a mistake–I think it was a ploy to get people to re-enlist and they probably didn’t expect the level of outrage they got from IRRs. I KNEW it couldn’t be right! But damn if everyone didn’t believe it. I feel so sorry for those in IRR who fell for it. I wonder if there is any grounds to sue if they are not let out of their contract?

  4. erik says:

    Is the IRR thing for real? My friend’s mom got a call today from some Army guy. Does he have to go back to the army?

  5. erik says:

    Is the IRR thing for real? My friend’s mom got a call today from some Army guy. Does he have to go back to the army?

  6. James Joyner says:

    erik–Read the damn story, man.

  7. Jack says:

    Does anyone know if the 22,000 IRRs they have identified to rejoin units have already been contacted? And will these 22,000 be deployed or do they just have to join units? I was a little confused by that part.

  8. Michelle says:

    I was contacted by two recruiters who told me I had been chosen to be involuntary assigned to an active Reserve Unit. I have been in the IRR for 6 1/2 years and only have 1 and a half left. I have two small children and my own business and I absolutely refused to volunteer. The recruiter told me I would be receiving orders in the mail then. I haven’t received any orders yet though.

  9. Anon says:

    Well, my husband, who was in the IRR, is on orders to return to duty. So, while the callup may not be as widespread as was originally broadcast, it is 100% for us.

  10. paul lukasiak says:


    this is really very simple and straightforward. People’s lives are not being disrupted, and the order is not an order to active duty.

    The Reserves can be split into two groups–the “Selected Reserves” and everyone else. The “Selected Reserves” are the people in Reserve units that do the “one weekend a month, two weeks per year” training that we are all familiar with from Recruitment advertizing.

    When you sign up in the Military, you do so for eight years—but in most cases, you have to serve in the “active duty component” (e.g. the Regular Army) for only three or four years. The rest of that time, you are supposed to become part of a Reserve Unit (e.g. Selected Reserves).

    But there are only so many authorized Selected Reserve positions, and far more people who are required to serve in these positions. These “excess personnel” get designated as Individual Ready Reserves” and are not required to train as such.

    Now that the Selected Reserve Units are being mobilized for Iraq duty, the Selected Reserves themselves have tens of thousands of available positions. So, the Army is filling those positions with the people who are REQUIRED to fulfill those positions in the first place–the Individual Ready Reservists who were designated as “excess personnel.”

    But all that is being required of them is that they show up one weekend a month, and two weeks per year, for reserve training. They are NOT being mobilized for active duty, and their lives are NOT being disrupted to any great extent.

  11. Jack says:

    I thought IRRs were recalled to fill up units that were being activated so that the units would not have gaps in them. It doesn’t make much sense to pull an IRR back in just so he can do one weekend a month. Also, people choose to go into the IRR, they aren’t designated to be in it. I’ve never heard of anyone being put into the IRR who didn’t request the transfer.

  12. Army Captain says:

    Paul Lukasiak,

    Unfortunately, you’re not privy to the entire memo being sent around. Kevin Drum and others have not posted its full text. On a subsequent page, the order says that IRR soldiers selected for involuntary transfer are to be put into units scheduled to be deployed for OEF/OIF (Afghanistan/Iraq). Once transferred into units on a deployment list, these soldiers then become stop-lossed. So, you’re right that this is not an immediate mobilization order. However, it is a delayed mob order, and it effectively extends these people’s military commitment for some time because of the future deployment which has been locked in.

    Second note: most IRR soldiers are not required to serve in the select reserve, both by virture of their contracts and by virture of statute. (See AR 135-91). So it’s not true that these people are being required to serve in a way that they agreed to. They’re being forced to serve more than they agreed to.

    Third note: you’re incorrect about the enlistment terms of soldiers. It is true that soldiers sign up for an 8 year enlistment regardless of the actual terms in their contract — this 8 year period is known as the ‘statutory military service obligation’. However, if a soldier serves 4 years on active duty, he/she is *not* obligated to spend the rest of the 8 years in the select reserve (i.e. in active reserve units). In fact, the opposite is true. After completing the active-duty service obligation, soldiers are automatically discharged into the U.S. Army Reserve Control Group (Reinforcement), aka the “individual ready reserve”, and it is their choice whether they want to join the select reserve or not. Many do, for the benefits involved. But there is no obligation to do so. You may want to download a DD-4 (enlistment contract) to see this for yourself, or check out the applicable Army regs at

    Hope this helps.

  13. James Joyner says:

    Actually, Jack, that’s not right. Indeed, everyone is automatically transferred to the IRR upon their discharge unless something has changed very recently. I was in the IRR from my discharge from active duty in February 1992 until being released in 2002. I could have resigned earlier (presumably, some time in late 1995 based on my pay entry base date) but never got around to it.

  14. Angie says:

    I don’t understand why they need 22,000 IRR. The last I heard, they were only activating 37,000 Reserve and National Guard TOTAL. Obviously, 22,000 of that 37,000 are not going to be IRR. Are they only going to pull a portion of this 22,000 they identified? Any info would be appreciated.

  15. paul lukasiak says:

    I don’t understand why they need 22,000 IRR. The last I heard, they were only activating 37,000 Reserve and National Guard TOTAL. Obviously, 22,000 of that 37,000 are not going to be IRR. Are they only going to pull a portion of this 22,000 they identified? Any info would be appreciated.

    well, once those 37k Reserve/NG are mobilized, it leaves a 37K gap between the number of people authorized to be in TPUs/Selected Reserve Units, and the number who are in TPUs/Selected Reserve Units. So they are calling up IRRs to fill the Selected Reserve positions.

  16. SmartSoldier says:

    This is a real shame. I mean, when it comes down to it, being a soldier, I would rather fight next to 1 guy that enlisted on his own free will and WANTED to be there, as opposed to 2 guys that were TRICKED into being there. A real shame.

    A helpful site:

  17. Worried says:

    I am one of those lucky folks that happens to have about 7 months till my ETS date. I am also a 38A (Civil Affairs) and I am currently assigned in the IRR. I guess I fit the profile to go.

  18. Jim says:

    My IRR time has expired (did my 8 years). I don’t want to be in the active reserves but I wouldn’t mind remaining in the IRR in case my nation needs me.

  19. James Joyner says:


    I was in the IRR for eleven years or so. I finally got passed over for major–which didn’t surprise me since my DA photo still had 1LT bars on it and I hadn’t had a uniform on the entire time, hadn’t gone to the advanced course, etc.–and they finally removed me from the rolls.

  20. jeremy says:

    I’m a guard recruiter, and I can tell you guys that the info we are working on is that the IRR call up is 100% fact. If this isn’t true, it’s not a “trick” by us recruiters to get you guys back in. We are just trying to give guys the best deal possible, based on the info we have available to us.

  21. Worried says:

    Based on your info, what are the specialties or MOS that are on the top of the list? If involuntary placed will you be placed outside of your MOS? What is the time frame between when orders are issued and you have to report? When will orders be issued if at all? Will you get any prior notice that you are on the list or will you find out when western union arrives? Are you chances any better if you are closer to your ETS (i.e. within 6-8 months)?

  22. MJ says:

    Recruiters are actually getting points for tricking guys into re enlisting that have respectfully served their country, bottom line.
    I would have respected a letter that said Hey, we need these specialities like MP’s or Medical personel to fill our units, would you like to help serve your country?
    Compare that to “Join a National guard or Army Reserve unit or get deployed”…yeah thats real nice. All us vets are asking for is some honesty thats it.
    The most they can call up are 6,500 per Secretary Rumsfield’s orders. The rest might be placed into reserve or guard units that could be deployed. They are also looking into certain specialities and yes there is the chance that people can be retrained for a speciality but it’s very shady.
    The Army has already said it was a mistake and mis communication within the system. The soldiers that have already re enlisted should be released from their contract and an full investigation should take place.
    For good info on this subject check out the Department of Defense website, get it right from the source because the rest is BS.
    We should be seeing this in the national news very soon.

  23. Sgt D says:

    This is the first I’ve seen of this ordeal not being true. I live in Missouri and am in the IRR (after serving 4 yrs. active duty). I had received 2 phone calls from ARNG recruiters in the past week – one leaving a message saying that I had thirty days to join the guard or “active duty was going to take me and do whatever they want with me”. I didn’t know what that meant, but it didn’t sound good. So, I contacted other recruiters and units in my area and they mostly told me the same thing. I also scoured the internet looking for info. However, I became more and more skeptical with each story I got that differed from the last. And so I must ask, where did you (whoever posted it) find this article? I’m glad that I finally came across it. And, I must also say that I thank God that I was patient enough to find the truth before i jumped into the a contract with the ARNG. However, for those who were “tricked” into a contract, I really hope that they are released. The media would eat that story up if they aren’t poised to already.

  24. beth says:

    I called the Human Resources Department and said I wanted to have clairfication of the rumors about being recalled. She immediately asked me for my correct address I thought to myself “Does she really think I’m going to just jump and give her that info” Anyways, I then asked her if anyone had tried to contact me. The woman said that they (don’t know who this they is) were going through the list of IRR people and anyone who had more than 2 months remaining of IRR time was going to be involuntarily assigned to units. I said thank you and hung up. She never answered my question.

    Anyone know if she was correct?

    So maybe this mess of ‘misinformation’ isn’t stemming from recruiters. I would love to see the investigation for this one.

    I haven’t received any notification from western union (yet) but I’m looking into the Naval Reserve. I hated my MOS and I can change jobs in the Naval Reserve and guarantee a little more time with my family. I can’t deploy until I’ve been qualified in my new job…the recruiter told me today I have 84 drilling days to become certified in my job (through distant learning and testing)… But I know some recruiters try to paint a rosie picture for people…so he said he would show it to me in writing. so we’ll see.

    They way I see it is I signed up for 8 years of service. I served 4 years in the Army, but none of my paperwork says I have to serve the all 8 years in the same branch.

    I really think that if you don’t mind serving the remaining IRR time as active reserve, but don’t want to be on the gound over in Iraq or whatever country the US goes into next…then you should look into other ways of completing your service. Especially if you think you could contribute more in a way other than being a number for the Army.

    All that matters is you’re serving your country to the best of your ability!

  25. beth says:

    I was a little vague about clarification about the Human Resources woman (previous posting)…what I was wanting to know is where did she get the ‘2 months’ from.

  26. LTC Perry says:

    The bottom line with all of this is that SOME IRR members are going to be called up, but NOT ALL OF THEM.

    The original scare tactic used by recruiters? Some were saying that the IRR was going to be “disbanded.” Can you say “Requires congressional approval?” and “Illegal?”

    They lied by telling people that ALL IRR members are going to be called up, so they might as well choose their own assignment rather than be forced into something they didn’t want.

    The problem with that, other than the fact that it was a lie, is that the reserves are utilizing a process called “cross leveling.” That means that if your specialty is needed in another unit (especially a unit that is preparing for deployment), you will be pulled out of whatever assignment you are currently in (even if you picked it, even if it was promised to you, even if got it by pulling strings and calling in personal favors, even if you think you are “safe” in a non-deployable position, etc) and move you to a unit that is getting mobilized for a deployment overseas. No one is safe.

    A recommendation from someone who knows?

    If you are in the IRR and don’t want to volunteer, just lay low and do nothing. Keep your contact info updated, but otherwise, you are NOT obligated to answer any phone calls or e-mails from recruiters trying to manipulate you into joining a unit.

    The only thing you are obligated to respond to are official orders from the Commander of HRC- St. Louis, ordering you to report for duty. They usually come by certified mail, FED EX, or Western Union. They give you 30 days notice to report to the nearest mobilization station and tell you what to bring with you.

    When all is said and done, there will be about 7,000 IRR members called up. They will primarily call those who still have a statutory obligation left to give (i.e. if you served a total of less than 8 years).

    The specialties are pretty varied, but include Military Intelligence (especially interrogators), Military Police, certain medical specialties, certain transportation folks (truck drivers, cargo handlers), certain Engineers, certain folks with critical computer training, and everyone who has ever had any Arabic language training (although most of them have already been called up).

    If you do get called up, you will be on active duty for no more than 24 months, and likely deployed for 12 of them.

    My advice to you IRR members reading this: Get your stuff together now. Powers of attorney, wills, life insurance, family arrangements, etc. Warn your employer that this might be coming. If you get that letter, man up and do the honorable thing and report for duty. Remember you signed up for 8 years. Whether you agree with the war or not, if you get called up, your country obviously needs you.

    Good luck everybody.

  27. hua says:

    I guess I am one of those who were tricked. I called Human Resources to verify the details and they told me exactly the same story as my career recruiter. In my five years of service this is typical. Disinformation and Misinformation abound.
    If this was a trick, this was low. Tell me the truth and the whole truth so I can prepare my employer, prepare my family, and effectively serve my country.

  28. An IRR Member says:

    Sounds like LTC Perry has the real 4-1-1.

    Thanks for the information, sir.

    I left active duty because I deployed too much. I’ll take your advice and lay low. They have my current address. If they want to call me up, then let them. But I ain’t going out of my way to volunteer. I did that several times on active duty, and have done more than my fair share of time in the desert.

    I knew something sounded too fishy about this “join a unit or else” stuff. They can threaten me all they want. But until those orders show up at my house, I won’t believe it. From what I have heard, the soldiers who say “No, I won’t volunteer” never wind up getting those involuntary orders. That should be proof positive right there that this whole thing is one big scam.

    Thanks again sir, for taking care of soldiers.

  29. Worried says:

    LTC Perry,

    You should be working for those people in HRC if you aren’t already. Out of all the people I have talked to or all the things I have read, you seem to be the only one actually trying to explain things.

    As many other people on the list must feel, I feel a bit shorted by how the public and the private information I am receiving have two totally different motives. I don’t mind serving my country, I did sign a contract, serve 4 years, and have 6 months on my contract. There is no doubt I owe them on paper. What I don’t like is the fact that they are not making the attempt to truly keep people informed. They started off planting the seed (mis-information from recruiters) then let people boil over this with no other warning or information. Anxiety levels are at all time high for me personally. Saying, “we might”, is not as stressful as knowing for sure.

    Now, as for the callup, have they made the efforts outlined in law to fill those vacancies? I would think that would mean drafting before recalling. Draft some of the people who haven’t made the sacrafice yet, instead of having honorable veterans serve a possible 10 years of service (2 of which would technically be involuntary).

    Also, I own my own business and have 2 employee’s. What am I supposed to do if I get called? It has taken me 5 years to earn a profit and finally started to grow. Now I face a possible recall meaning my business would dissolve (so I would have no career to come home to), all my business loans and lines of credit would either default or come due, and 2 other would lose their jobs. Does being self employed merit grounds for exemption?

  30. Jenny says:

    Okay, almost everything I’ve been hearing has referred to ACTIVE duty people who go into the IRR to ride out the remainder of their 8 year commitments. Anyone have any idea how/if this will affect career reservists who have served more than 8 years in Selected Reserve but have re-upped a few times and are riding out the rest of their re-up time in IRR?

  31. Anonymous says:


    No, I don’t work at HRC. I’m a reservist in a totally unrelated job. I just have a good fried at the Pentagon who has been involved in reserve mobilizations and he gave me the “down and dirty.”

    I don’t know about the exemption process. I don’t think that being a small business owner would be grounds for an exemption, but you never know until you try. The HRC-St Louis website answers some questions regarding involuntary mobilizations at:

    Click on the button that says “Screening of Obligated IRR Soldiers.” It tells you who to contact regarding exemption requests.

    Good luck.

  32. jerrimy says:

    Again, as a guard recruiter(yeah, I know, here come the flying objects), I want to emphasize that we have been working on the information given to us by our headquarters. If it is misinformation, it is coming from echelons above them. I have contacted multiple people at multiple levels, including LTC(P) James Dickey, Chief of National Guard Affairs Beureu(sp?), and have been told repeatedly to drive on I am doing the right thing.

    As a National Guard recruiter, the last thing we want to do is put people in under false pretenses, for a number of different reasons. First, we aren’t just recruiters. Every drill weekend we are there with our units, working with the soldiers we’ve enlisted. Let’s just say that drill would be less than pleasant if I’m drilling with soldiers that I’ve misled. Second, when I’m finished with recruiting, I’ll be going right back to one of these units, as a senior NCO, that I’ve been enlisting soldiers into. Can you imagine how it would affect my leadership effectiveness and my credibility as and NCO if I’m trying to lead soldiers that have been enlisted under false pretenses? Thirdly, INTEGRITY!! I know that you guys are thinking “From a Recruiter?” We are all NCO’s before we are recruiters, so if you can’t act with integrity, turn in your stripes. Sure there are a couple of bad ones out there, but I’m sure you’ve all seen them in every unit you’ve been a part of. Did you turn around and make the generalization that ALL NCO’s in the unit were ate up just based on one bad apple? NO! That would be stupid, and we all know that.

    I guess the whole purpose of my rant is quit accusing the recruiters of lying and misleading. We are doing the best we can with the information we have. And if we are correct, and based on all my information we are, making the decision yourself to get back in through the Guard is probably the lesser of 3 evils. You have some say over what Unit you become a part of and what MOS you enlist or reclassify into. You belong specifically to the state you enlist into, and will not be farmed out help fill another states numbers. If you got out with an honorable discharge or RE-1 (look on your DD214, bottom right) you can enlist for 1 year, the seperate and go into the ING (Inactive National Guard), which is similiar to the IRR except you belong only to your state’s guard, for the remainder of you MSO.

    In summary, quit jumping on the Recruiters. We are at the end of a long line of information transfer, and are working in good faith with the best information we have available at the time.

  33. An IRR Member says:


    You sound like an outstanding NCO. It’s too bad they are feeding you guys bad information. Like you said, it’s only going to hurt your credibility in the long run.

    I’m sure that for some IRR members, it’s the best option.

    But I did quite a lot of research into this, after being threatened by a recruiter that if I didn’t join a reserve unit voluntarily, then I was going to get a letter by the 18th of May and I would have to “live with” whatever the Army wanted to do with me.

    Well, I told the recruiter that I would get back with him, and started my research. By the way, the 18th has come and gone, and I never got a letter. Just some thinly veiled threats from a recruiter.

    But unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who believe that EVERY SINGLE IRR member is going to be called up. And that is just not the case.

    Calling them all up, all 118,000 of them, would put us over authorized personnel end-strength limits; limits imposed by Congress.

    The President and the Sec Def are limited in the amount of IRR members they can mobilize under the Presidential Reserve Call-up (PRC). Once they go above a certain number, they need the approval from Congress. There is no way this would happen without Congress putting their two cents in.

    Under Title X, section 12304 of the US Code, Congress must approve a wide-spread call up of the IRR. Such a measure has not even been INTRODUCED into Congress, much less voted on and approved.

    The HRC St. Louis website also addresses the PRC in greater detail:

    Aside from political ramifications, there are many legal hoops the Army would need to jump through before calling up EVERY SINGLE IRR member. It just doesn’t pass the common sense test on so many levels.

    Is that what your higher ups are telling you? That EVERY member of the IRR is getting called up?

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck with all of this. You sound like a really decent guy. I sure wouldn’t want to be a recruiter right now.

  34. hua says:

    I was told just those IRR members who still had a service obligation were to be called back to the Guard or Reserve. That greatly reduces the number of people activated. That was the story a few sources told me. I don’t know if that was the loophole they were looking for or what.

  35. An IRR Member says:


    “I was told just those IRR members who still had a service obligation were to be called back to the Guard or Reserve. That greatly reduces the number of people activated. That was the story a few sources told me. I don’t know if that was the loophole they were looking for or what.”

    That sure sounds like it makes a lot more sense than calling up every IRR member on the rolls.

    But I still have a 2 year obligation left. And my MOS is on “the list” of critical specialties.

    Wonder why haven’t I been called up.

  36. Angie says:

    Sorry if I sound ignorant, but what exactly does ‘service obligation’ mean? Is just the first 8 years considered a service obligation or does it include the time (specifically a reservist)re-ups for? Thanks for any info.

  37. An IRR Member says:


    When you come into the military for the first time, you sign up for 8 years. For example: 4 active (or drilling reservist) and 4 IRR is called 4 X 4.

    Those 8 years that everyone comes in for is called an MSO, or Minimum Statutory Obligation.

    You can mix it up any which you want between active and reserve, but the bottom line is that if you signed your first contract with the military less than 8 years ago, you are still on the rolls in the IRR.

    For example, say you did 4 years on active duty, then went into the reserves for 1 year. That makes 5 years of service, and you will complete the remaining 3 in the IRR.

    You have the option of voluntarily staying in the IRR if you want to, but once you go beyond 8 years, you no longer have a MSO. You aren’t obligated and you are there voluntarily.

    A lot people don’t even know they are even in the IRR. But the truth is that every initial contract is for 8 years, regardless of branch or component.

  38. Angie says:

    Yes, that helps. My husband has been in the Army Reserves for 13 years, re-upped for 6 years about 2 months before Sept. 11th, got called up last year, then went IRR in May of ’03. Is his obligation up, then? I know he has about 3 years left on his reserve contract, but his 8 years were up long ago.

  39. hua says:

    An IRR Member,
    That fact alone( that you haven’t been called at all)could mean one of two things, in my opinion:
    1) This is a scam, misunderstanding, mistake, etc.

    2) This is real, and there are over 10,000 people they need to work back into the system. That large a number could be time consuming.

    It is really hard to say what is going on. I think you and I would love a straight answer.

  40. An IRR Member says:


    Are you saying that he re-enlisted in the Guard for 6 years, but only completed two of those years?

    If that is what you are saying, then no, his obligation is NOT up, even though he went past 8 years. You see, when he re-enlisted for another 6 years, he signed up for another MSO.

    The problem is that he signed up to drill with his Guard unit for 6 years. But from what you say, he only did 2 years of it and requested to be re-assigned to the IRR for the rest of the contract. So therefore, he owes that remaining amount of time to the IRR.

    Whatever his ETS date is on that 6 year contract he signed, that is the date that he will be released from his MSO, and dropped from the rolls of the IRR.

    Hope that helps you.

  41. An IRR Member says:


    I am thinking this just a scam. I am sure they are calling up lots of folks, but I just can’t see how they can call them all.

    You’re right. I’d like to know the ground truth. But I’m not about to call HRC to find out!

  42. James Joyner says: