IRR Call-Up Scam IV

Joy Larkin e-mails this ABC News plea, posted yesterday: Are You a Member of the Individual Ready Reserve? E-mail Us

Army Reserve officials recently screened the records of thousands of members of the Individual Ready Reserve and drew up a list of 22,000 people with skills that are in demand given the military’s current manpower squeeze, as a result of U.S. commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A decision is expected soon as to how many may be called back to active duty. In fact, some members of the IRR have received phone calls from recruiters and retention officers saying they should volunteer for assignment to an active reserve unit or risk being assigned involuntarily.


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What’s bizarre is that this story has been around for quite some time (in Internet time, anyway) and has been debunked here and elsewhere:

Indeed, I’ve gotten so many comments on these posts that I wound up shutting them down because they became veritable Internet chat rooms as people arrived from links elsewhere and posted hysterical comments without bothering to read the posts that would have allayed their concerns.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anonymous says:

    “Indeed, I’ve gotten so many comments on these posts that I wound up shutting them down because they became veritable Internet chat rooms as people arrived from links elsewhere and posted hysterical comments without bothering to read the posts that would have allayed their concerns.”

    You shut them down without really reading them.

    The issue is that despite all these articles exposing the “scam,” recruiters and HRC officials are STILL using the same tactics to pressure IRR members into joining involuntarily. I have read many, probably DOZENS of these articles that quotes some Army official as saying “No, no, that was a miscommunication. It’s all voluntary” but then I call HRC and they are still threatening us with words like “you are definitely vulnerable. Want to talk about your options before you no longer have any?”

    We are STILL getting threatening phone calls from recruiters. Even one recruiter posted on one of the threads you shut down, saying “These articles are wrong. I have called my superiors all the way up the chain and they keep telling me that I am doing the right thing and to drive on.”

    So you post articles that allay peoples’ fears temporarily, but then some recruiter or officer who works at HRC gets on here and says something completely different. Then common sense folks like me pick up the phone to call HRC and find out the REAL, no kidding story, only to find that HRC officials are still peddling the same crap.

    This rumor may have been around for a while, and all these news articles may be “debunking” it in your mind, but I am the one just home from the middle east, still getting calls from recruiters, and still being told to “join a reserve unit or else.”

    So the problem is not that people aren’t reading the articles, it’s that they are reading the articles, but are STILL being told the same crap by the Army.

  2. MJ says:

    This needs to stop. Just recieved another letter today. You have to love how us men and women that have served our country are being lied to.
    I have wrote to my senators and will not stop until the letters and calls stop.
    Write to your news outlets, and senators. Get this story out because people need to know how the military is treating us.

    If they need me, ask me or send me orders and I will be ready. Don’t scare or intimidate me into joining a unit.

  3. Al says:

    I agree. First of all if they want me to volunteer to leave my family alone and destitute by volunteering, then how can do I explain to my wife and daughter … and why would I volunteer to one of the units that I’ve been contacted by ‘to ensure I’m not in a deploying unit’ … strikes me as being cowardly.

    My position is don’t ask me to volunteer to put my family through hell … just cut the orders and I’ll do it! I’m no coward or shirker … if you want me bad enough, then cut some orders.


  4. Anonymous says:

    This does need to stop.

    It is still happening.

    My MOS is on the list of critical specialties and I swear I must be on the phone list for every recruiter within a 1,000 miles of my house.

    It’s June 2nd. I’ve rebuffed every recruiter’s attempt to force me into joining a reserve unit. So far, I haven’t been involuntarily called up, but the threats keep coming from Human Resources Command – St Louis. They may be doing it more quietly, but despite all these news articles, the threats continue.

    When is this supposed to stop?

  5. Angela says:

    Does anyone know where to FIND a list of these critical specialties? And, if the calls have stopped (we haven’t gotten one for almost a month), does that mean we’re not on this list?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Angela- There IS no list. It’s all B.S. lies.

    If your MOS was that critical (linguists, intelligence analysts, certain medical specialties), you’d be in DCUs in Iraq right now, or at least headed that way.

  7. John says:

    I’ve been in the military for about 6.5 years and started my terminal leave last week. During my final outprocessing, my AGR recruiter told me that everyone that does not finish their 8yr commitment will be assigned to a unit.
    Before I talked to him, I had already read about all the people that were going to be called up back into the service; my terminal leave ends in August and told him that this should not affect me.
    However, he kept insisting that he had “new” information and that 100% of the ppl that are ETSing will be getting assigned to an AGR unit.
    After repeatedly asking him whether he was pulling my leg, I ended up signing up for NG because he’s told me that everyone with less than 8 years would be assigned to a unit.
    Next day, I felt like I was tricked into signing up and took this to my PSG and the 1SG, who called up the recruiter. The recruiter basically told my chain of command what he told me and my chain of command bought his story…
    Now, what the heck is really going on? I just watched on Tv news tonight that the Army is willing to void contracts of people who were tricked into signing up…Can i get out of this?
    I totally feel like I have been lied to and forced into this contract.
    I’m actually thinking about going to see JAG next week.

  8. Anonymous says:


    Yes, you were lied to. Please go see JAG and bring any kind of documentation you have from the recruiter (e-mails, memos, etc) that show in writing how he manipulated you and outright lied to you. Bear in mind that if you have nothing in writing, it will be his word against yours about any verbal advice he may have given you. Recruiter misconduct is an offense that is taken very seriously, so be prepared for him to lie further and back-pedal.

    Citizen soldiers ought not to be manipulated into joining the National Guard. That kind of deceit is not consistent with the values of an all-volunteer military and especially those of a state militia.

    Best of luck to you.

  9. Shawn says:

    I wonder…..”Join a Reserve unit, or else” U.S. Army National Guard…”When you die, you will go to paradise and be surrounded by virgins, praise Allah” Al Qaeda….”Mission Accomplished” George W. Bush…..”Who Cares?” Me……Seems like everyone is getting lied to

  10. Randy says:

    I recently received a signed letter from my local National Guard recruiter. I opened it while driving and damn near wrecked after reading the first line.
    Dear ____,
    You WILL SOON receive a letter from the USAR saying that you have 30 days to join a TPU or you will be placed in a unit based on the needs of the Army. Join a unit now…Blah…Blah…Blah…

    I shocked me at first but then reality hit, I picked up the phone and called the recruiter. I asked him if he was telling me I was getting a letter for sure, or that I might be? After side stepping the question a couple of times he finally said he wasn’t sure and that in sending the letter he was just doing what he was told to by the higher-up’s. This SGT was following the orders sent to him and it sounded like he wasn’t enjoying it. Never the less he was doing as he was told! Come on people all of us in the IRR have spent time on Active duty and know the BS that goes on. First of all, how often does someone who doesn’t even know you go out of their way to give you a heads up like that without having their own interests in mind? Second, some of you seem really surprised that you were lied to. Do you not remember the recruiter who got you to sign up in the first place? Even if he/she didn’t lie to you I am certain you weren’t given all the information you should have gotten before making such a life changing decision. Third, you know that there are rules and regulations that are followed don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty and look them up, use your head. Lastly, if you are worried about being called up then get the heck out, there are loopholes out there and ways of getting around things, didn’t you learn that when you were active? If it’s not a big deal then I suggest you do just like the Generals do before war, come up with a plan and go with it, but be ready and prepared to modify it if a situation arises. I am a single father raising two kids on my own and still have three years obligation to the Army. If I do get called up I will go fight for my country just like my father and grandfathers before me did and hopefully some day my daughters will understand. We gave up the right to choose not to serve when the dotted line was signed. We were trained to be strong, I think it’s time some started acting like it, suck it up and drive on. NO one wants to be living in the desert, across the world from their families, and getting shot at but the cold hard fact of the matter is that someone has to do it. Remember, Freedom Aint Free

    If you do get a letter like this take your time and think it out.