Wednesday, August 23, 2006

US Marines to deplay 2,500 more troops!

Marines to deploy up to 2,500 in Individual Ready Reserve

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps will mobilize up to 2,500 Marines in the Individual Ready Reserve to go downrange, said Guy A. Stratton, head of Manpower and Mobilization Plans.

Those called up can expect to be mobilized for 12 to 18 months, with a maximum service time of two years, Marine officials said.

Servicemembers in the IRR have left active duty but still have time on their obligation to serve. Unlike other reserve component troops, they do not drill.

For the past few years, the Marines have used volunteers from the IRR, but the number of Marines volunteering to be mobilized has decreased over the past two years, and now the Marine Corps is about 1,200 Marines short of its needs, Stratton said.

“Most of the Marines when we call and talk to them will have told us that, ‘If you need me, call me, but right now, I just, I’m doing other things in my life, so I just don’t want to volunteer right now,’ ” Stratton said.

Of the roughly 59,000 Marines in the IRR, about 35,000 are eligible to be mobilized because the Marine Corps is excluding those who have already volunteered for duty or who are serving their first or fourth years in the IRR, Stratton said.

He said the Marine Corps is looking at mobilizing Marines in the following specialties: communications, engineers, military police, intelligence, aviation mechanics, truck drivers and infantry.

The Marines have called up about 4,500 members of the IRR since 2003, but almost 2,700 of them were volunteers for the initial part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Most did not go to Iraq because of the short duration of the initial invasion, Stratton said.

The Army has also called up soldiers from the IRR since January 2004.

According to the U.S. Army Reserve, approximately 14,000 soldiers on IRR status have been called to active duty since March 2003 and about 7,300 have been deployed to Iraq, The Associated Press reported recently.

The Army struggled to bring IRR soldiers back initially. Half of the Individual Ready Reserve members given orders in 2004 by the Army asked for either a delay or an exemption to the order, according to a report in Stars and Stripes from January 2005.

Hundreds of other IRR members failed to show up at deployment stations when ordered to do so, the story noted.


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