Posted on Mar 7, 2018
PO3 Rebecca Zaynor
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I was in the navy and got out about 7 years ago. Since then, I have received my BS in Accounting and I am currently working on my CPA. Being in the Navy was an awesome experience for me and I miss it but, I'm a mother now with an 8 year old son. I thought going into the reserves I would get my navy "fix" in but still maintaining some sort of normal life. I've talked to a recruiter and naturally they make it seem like the best thing ever to go reserves. I just want real life experiences on what is to be expected if I rejoin. Any help I can get on what is REALLY expected would be great!
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LCDR Sales & Proposals Manager Gas Turbine Products
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Edited 2 y ago
PO3-Some of my experience will be invalid due to the passage of time and the fact I entered the Selected Navy Reserve after some period of time serving active under a Reserve commission. However , I hope some of my experience will be useful to you.

The Navy Reserve has several different "types" of members, as you well know. A decade or so ago, there was "FTS"; essentially "full-time" Reservists manning NOSCs and holding assigned "billets" not unlike those on AD. Our NOSC only had (as I recall) one FTS officer, the CO. Then, there's the "SELRES" (of which FTS is a part) ; pretty much everyone coming in (and getting paid) for weekend drills. As a SELRES officer, I had a unit called the "OPSUPPU" that was a feeder for TAD and deployment. We also had a unit that was somewhat attached to the EMORY S. LAND (AS 39), a SEABEE detachment, and a Marine reserve unit. Folks from these units regularly went on TAD, activation, IA, and other annual training as required or sought out. Perhaps the "oddest" bunch was the VTU unit...very heavy O-5 to O-6, mostly former line officers (aviators, submariners, SWOs) who would drill, but as I understand it, without pay...just retirement points. Finally, there is the IRR...my experience was that the IRR consisted of personnel who were essentially "civilians" but still technically holding commissions/ranks, and under UCMJ (loosely) who were required to muster periodically, inform the Navy of their status, and under extreme circumstances, might have been activated. Again, they did not receive pay or retirement points.

Individual experiences may vary, but coming off "active duty", I found the drill weekends to be what you made of it. There's only so much a unit can do in one and a half days, and if your NOSC isn't near the "flagpole" of Norfolk, San Diego, or some other "big Navy" installation, it may come down to mustering, power points, medical forms, and drinks Saturday night. I tried to be "inventive" with my unit; the SNCOs and I devised inventive PT and other training, tried to bring in "expert" training on relevant Fleet topics, and mostly-got folks ready to go IA. A year or so into my "stint" with the NOSC, I volunteered for IA and found that experience to be virtually identical to being on active duty...other than it only lasted for 24 months.

The biggest challenges I encountered (and ultimately why I left) involved getting a "billet". I may be fuzzy on the details here, but I seem to remember that an officer (and probably all rates) had 12 months from affiliation with the SELRES to obtain a "billet", or they were transferred to either the IRR or VTU. Being an O-3 or O-4 makes that pretty difficult, as again, there aren't many "billets" at a NOSC for officers. If one is willing to travel long distances to drill each month, willing to drill without pay, or even relocate to obtain a distant billet...it's possible to get to retirement. At the time, my civilian job made some of that difficult, and unable to get a billet close to my region...my practical options seemed limited. In retrospect, the monthly trip to JAX wouldn't have been so bad, neither would the VTU. As I near what "would've been" my 20th "good year"...I kinda kick myself in the pants.

I wanted to deploy, and did...There were always more people on the voluntary "MOB" list than the needs of the IA program back then, so there was plenty of opportunity to deploy if you wanted...and a good chance you'd not if you didn't. Bear in mind that these factors change, and if you want to make retirement...deployment is in your future. Here again, it comes down to choices, as if you're nearing the threshold for IRR, haven't got a billet, and haven't another option...serial deployment is a tough way to keep your career going. Most professional civil careers aren't going to like losing people for up to two years at a stretch, every few years, and it isn't like being with an active duty command where these decisions are under someone else's control

In the end, I think that's what I least liked about the Reserves, most missed about Active Duty, and what truly "pushed me away". It's difficult having a huge part of your life "on hold" while you go and try to pursue another. It's equally difficult not to feel "part" of a unit-I wanted to use the SELRES to go back to a ship, and Big Momma Navy wasn't going to do that, so the Reserves wasn't as fulfilling as I'd hoped. Then again, I wasn't thinking "long term" enough to see that a decade down the road, I could've possibly retired as an O-5 if not O-6. In that interim, I got married, had a child, and built another career.

If you decide to go for it, I wish you the very best of fortunes, and as few bumps in the road as possible.
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Capt Daniel Goodman
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Also, acquisition a generally, inmapp svcs would be good for you, as a good fit with a CPA...actuary also he s good, however, thats highly !mathematical and more inclined to insurance, acqusitons could be best, I think...?
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Capt Daniel Goodman
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http://www.excelsior.edu

I got a 2nd bach in math thru them, they were part of NYS govt and privatized, they're regionally accredited, a friend got a bach in !math thru them, very military friendly, he went Navy OCS using it, ask about credit pass fail thru the GRE subject tests, they have their own exam program as well, get your DANTES transcript, ifmyou haven't already form your military coursework, and look up Amer Council on Educ (ACE) their military pages, also Oak Tree College in CT, and Edison Univ in NJ, they're also real, OK?
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