Visit the Group News Blog operated by friends of Steve:

Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


The back door

The Army Erosion - Reliance on IRR and The Back Door Draft
by n00161 [Subscribe]
Sun Jan 28, 2007 at 06:09:39 AM PST

I have written many times about the erosion of the United States Army's capability to wage large scale war. Our equipment is in shambles (one major reason why it is taking so long to get a mere 21,000 soldiers deployed) and our end strength is a wreck. While everyone parses statements to support one side of this argument or the other, I tend to look at the actions. And the actions show a Country's military in desperate need of help.

One of these actions is the back door draft of the Individual Ready Reserve. The purpose of this post is to educate people to the wide expanse of this program; basically taking untrained civilians who after years of being out of the military, are being forced back in and being "retrained" for new jobs.

I know about this. I was one. I have been writing at the Command T.O.C. about this for years and now it is time to come in the open.

The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) is where they put people awaiting their 8 year obligation to finish. For officers, you remain in the IRR indefinately unless you proactively resign your commission, regardless of any obligation you may have due to school, West Point etc. Once people leave the military and go into the IRR, they conduct no training or any sort of military operational work and are kind of a "just in case" force sitting around. The talk always had been, "They won't call the IRR back unless it is World War III".

In Desert Storm up to 20,000 were called back for very limited duty and almost all of it was special skills to backfill active duty soldiers going to war. For example, an active Army doctor from Ft. Campbell deployed to the war zone, an IRR doctor was put in his place in Ft. Campbell to continue taking care of families etc.

However, George Bush and his cronies changed all that when in the summer of 2004, they recalled about 5,400 IRR soldiers to not backfill active army but to actually deploy to the war zone for a period of 1 year and to train for 1/2 a year for a total recall time of 545 days. This was ridiculous. Many recalled had been out of the Army for over 10 years and a lot were over 40 years old. Many had financial obligations and family obligations which had been built but the Army did not care. They had 30 days to report. An article in the USA Today about how the IRR Recall put Lives in Disarray explains how poorly this recall was carried out. This blog reports on a 43 year old mother who had been out for over 20 years being recalled.

This operation started an uproar in the media and it was discussed on many talk shows. It is when I started the Command T.O.C. blog which has become the meeting place for IRR soldiers. This has become such a big part of how the Army is manning itself that Ft. Benning actually has a location and web site for IRR and Retired Recall Center (BTW, Recall means involuntary).

The noise died down pretty fast when the Bush administration took a page out of its pre-war playbook: It lied to the American people. It told them that the IRR call ups were under review and that people who did not have more than 1 year to go before their end of obligation data was met, would be discharged. Ah, but they continued to call them up and it was up to you, the IRR person, to fight it.

In August of 2006, the Marines learned from the Army and they recalled over 3,000 marines out of the IRR for COMBAT duty (Imagine, a marine who may have been out for 1 or 2 years being called back for combat duty).

Now, I am getting emails from IRR soldiers who were recalled and retrained very fast to be be civil affairs officers and sent to the front. These soldiers have less than 6 months training as civil affairs officers and they are the ones who are actually in the units training Iraqis! Don't think these are "highly trained" soldiers. They are, in fact, newly trained fodder. Here is an excerpt of a letter I received from one of them:

I and about 6 others are Infantry officers, but we're the minority. Apparently the Civil Affairs branch had used up all it's resources and didn't have anyone to send to Iraq for the 06-07 and the 07-08 rotations. Lucky us, we were the first ones in the chute. The training at Bragg was a joke to say the least, and criminally negligent in most respects. Not to mention that none of us cared to do anything with CA.

Unfortunately, now, some of them are dying. They are dying because they have no business being there, they are untrained and the Army is sending them in to be fodder. Here is a story of CPT Freeman who was an Armor officer, recalled, quickly retrained to CA, goes to Iraq and is killed. We know he was an IRR recall because we have access to his army records even though the report says he was an active reservist.

A very sad story of Michael Mundell, 47 years old and had been out of the Army for over 12 years was killed. He was another Armor officer who was quickly reclassed in a "shake and bake" training to a CA officer. Killed. The full story is here.

So, you now see that the military is continuing its Back Door Draft with a vengenance. Publicly they say it is because of the "unique skills" we have in the IRR but as I have proven, many are being reclassed into skills they are untrained for. And, in the end, good men and women are dying.

Once they run out of these soldiers, which will be very soon, they will come after your sons and daughters in a full draft. It is only a matter of time unless you do something to stop it.