MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
Some Marines discovered this year that they were unable to reenlist and retain their military occupational specialty. There is an option for Marines who want to stay in the Marine Corps besides changing their MOS. The Active Reserve (AR) program is looking for highly qualified active component Marines that want to reenlist and serve full-time.
The 2,261 Marines in the AR program are responsible for the organization, administration, recruitment, retention, instruction and training of members of the Marine Corps Reserve.
"The majority of reserve units have AR Marines, but not many active component Marines know about the program," said Gunnery Sgt. Donald Ogden, prior service recruiting quality control chief, MCRC.
In addition to reserve units, many AR Marines are stationed at Marine bases such as Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"The AR program exists to provide full-time support for the reserves," said Maj. Tony Licari, prior service recruiting operations officer, Marine Corps Recruiting Command, "but the reserve component can be very confusing for active component Marines. It's our job to teach and train those Marines about the Marine Corps Reserve and its capabilities. Unless a Marine has done a tour with a reserve unit, normally he or she doesn't know how the Marine Corps Reserve is structured and how it operates."
The AR program offers duty assignments throughout the country.
"We are meant to train the reserves so we get stationed with reserve units all around the country," said Ogden, who is an AR Marine. "We get active duty pay and benefits like an active component Marine, as well as opportunities to [change duty stations] just as frequently."
Active Reserve Marines are also eligible to serve in billets such as drill instructor and recruiting duty and they are deployable. They may deploy with their reserve units or as individual augments to active component units, according to Ogden. To be eligible for the AR program, active component Marines must be within six months of their expiration of active service date, be eligible for reenlistment and be willing to serve in an MOS required by the AR program.
Marines must also meet rank requirements to join the AR. For Marine officers, new joins to the AR are normally lieutenants or captains. For enlisted Marines, only sergeants and below are considered for the AR Program. In addition to rank requirements, Marines must also meet age requirements. A list of maximum ages and corresponding ranks may be found in MCO 1001.52H. In total, about 300 Marines per year are accessed into the AR, according to Licari.
The AR program currently needs administrators and various aviation fields in order to fill its ranks. However, Marines of every MOS are eligible for the program, depending on availability. Even if there are no openings in a particular job field, sergeants and below are eligible to be retrained into a different job that is available. Active Reserve openings are published semi-annually by a MARADMIN.
As an incentive, Marines moving to the AR may be eligible for bonuses. Currently, the AR program is offering 26 bonuses for non-commissioned officers in 17 different aviation MOS's. Corporals are eligible to receive a bonus of $10,000 and sergeants are slated to receive $15,000 for moving from active duty to the AR for some of those MOS’s. A complete list of eligible MOS's and bonuses available can be found in MCBUL 7220 Fiscal Year 2011 Active Reserve (AR) Enlisted Affiliation Bonus (EAB). The current bonuses apply only to NCO's that hold the required MOS. Marines requesting MOS retraining are ineligible for the bonus.
If you are interested in the AR program, contact your local prior service recruiter or call Marine Corps Recruiting Command at (703) 784-9426.