I can answer this for you. Back in 1989 when I first ETS'd from the active Army they were handing out RE-3 codes to almost everyone for virtually any reason. It was my first enlistment so I had no idea what the code meant and believed them when they told me it meant I could reenlist anytime I wanted to. It was the first major draw down of my now 32 year career and the Bush (41) administration had made a decision at the end of the Cold War to eliminate about 25% of the force and make sure we couldn't come back. I tried to get into ROTC in 1990 and was denied due to the RE code. I eventually commissioned through Guard OCS in 2003 and ended up teaching ROTC at two Texas Universities as a contractor. Re-entry into the military with an RE-3 requires a waiver and your best bet is to try either the Guard or Reserve. You're Army but you may not know the difference. Reserves are Title 10 federal troops and Guard is Title 32 State troops. The active Army is component 1, Guard is component 2, and Reserves is component 3. Guard is under state (governor) control unless federalized and is the bulk of all Army combat forces and serves as both an operational and strategic reserve force in the Total Army concept. Reserves are primarily Combat Support and Combat Service Support organizations. Both components have positives and negatives and your best bet is to talk to both and see who will make you the better offer. You would also have the advantage of being eligible to enter the ROTC Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP) where you would attend drill as a cadet and (theoretically) engage in officer level training while you continued your degree. All of that time counts toward time in service and pay. I used to try and get cadets to consider the program but many cadets would look down on the Guard and Reserve as beneath them even though most ended up receiving their commissions in one of them. The difference between an SMP cadet and a traditional cadet at this time is commissioning as an an O-1 over nothing or an O-1 over 3 years. That's about $500/month on the current active duty pay scale. In your case you may be able to qualify for O-1E pay which is nearly $1000/month difference, depending on how many years service finance credits you. SMP cadets are paid for drill at the E-5 level unless they have achieved an enlisted rank higher than that. You would also be non-deployable until you completed your degree, ROTC commissioning requirements, and your Branch Basic Course (BOLC). Hope this answers your questions. Feel free to ask me anything else. I'm always willing to help a troop build their career.
This changes with the needs of the Army. The issue you really need to worry about is how you got the RE-3. When you want to become an officer there usually is a review board of your records. There usually isn't a bar that must be met. It isn't if you just x, y, and z. They only seek the best. If they believe that the best only have an RE-1 then they may over look you. Just being honest I can't say that I have seen anyone with less than an RE-1 have success with their careers.
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