I had to read this one three times and ask my Army Sgt brother a bunch of questions before I really understood that this is NOT a good thing. Go read the whole article and then come back and I will show you what it really means.

Army orders 5,000 reservists to health ‘muster’

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Saturday, June 30, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army is ordering 5,000 members of the Individual Ready Reserve to spend a day this summer at one of four U.S. reserve centers to update personal paperwork and take a medical and dental exam.

The one-day “muster” is a test of the Army’s recent efforts to straighten out the IRR system, which comprises about 78,000 soldiers who have left active duty or active Reserve service but still have time left on their contract, officials said.

The minimum military service obligation for enlisted personnel is eight years. Officers serve until they resign their commission.

The muster is a “test run” for a much larger project: bringing every member of the IRR in for a similar one-day program to ensure that the Army has up-to-date records on its members, Gall said in a telephone interview with Stars and Stripes Thursday.

This has nothing to do with records. They can get records on the phone or by mail or email. In fact, they have to have some of the records just to get the people to show up.

“The IRR pool is not in the kind of shape we would like it to be,” Gall said. “We’re trying to assure [ourselves] that we do have soldiers that are ready and willing to serve the country.”

The pilot muster, Gall said, “is the first step in trying to bring the program back in line to where to should have been” in the first place.

The Army allowed its IRR system to go fallow after its last major call-up of the reservists during the Gulf War.

Army regulations call for IRR members to update their records yearly, but many IRR members allowed that obligation to slide, to the point where “we probably haven’t heard from a preponderance of them over the years,” Gall said.

Why do you suppose the reservists let it slide?

The cracks in the IRR system were exposed after January 2004, when Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized the Army to tap the IRR to fill out units bound for Iraq.

The call-up has not been smooth sailing, Gall said.

“We have a call rate of four to one,” Gull said.

“That means if [commanders in Iraq] say they need 100 soldiers, we have to send 400 notifications out,” he said.

“That told us we had some problems,” Gull said.

The pilot muster will begin in mid-July and run through August.

IRR members who are ordered to report for this summer’s pilot program will go to one of four Reserve centers: Tacoma, Wash.; Fort Totten, N.Y.; Fort Meade, Md.; or Los Alamitos, Calif.

Do the reservists get to choose the day? What if they are not in the country?

The reservists will be paid $176 after they complete
the one-day process, which includes a medical checkup and dental X-rays, but no treatment for any problems that are diagnosed, Gall said.

The overall IRR muster will take six years, with funds for the project earmarked in the Army’s early budget plans through 2013, Gall said.

Is that for the people who are already in IRR or the ones who will be leaving active duty over the next six years?

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