Posted on Aug 26, 2014
SFC Special Security Representative
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The MDARNG units I have went to, have a lot of MUTA 6s or 2x2x2. This sometimes makes it extremely hard to complete college assignments by their due date. With 58th BfSB, it looks like i only have one drill in conflict with this semester.... how do you handle soldiers and college? It is a valid excuse to not attend a MUTA 6 or annual Training? I had an NCO tell me that the soldier should not take a class during Annual training dates.... for 2 weeks of training out of a semester? that just sounds unrealistic. I always see college as a priority for soldiers, they are taking the time to progress themselves. If their is no way to get internet or their would be no time they could complete their assignments, i would approve the SUTA...
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1SG Drill Sergeant
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SFC (Join to see) - that's when you use RSTs. I have Soldiers attending classes and I understand that occasional, unavoidable conflict. The key words here are occasional and unavoidable. I raise more than an eyebrow when the same people are using the same excuses, especially when we just happen to be having an APFT or FTX that weekend.
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
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- I started out enlisted in MNARNG and have two AC/RC assignments.
- Short answer, no. College is not a good excuse for not attending drill.
- From a Soldier perspective. The key to success is planning and communication. Know both your annual drill schedule and your college course schedule. Communicate early and often with both your NG chain of command and also with your college professors. Deconflict as much as possible. Where you can not deconflict, again, communicate with both your chain of command and your professors to work out what should be priority.
- From a chain of command perspective, you need to make decisions on a case by case basis but you need to have some sort of criteria to weigh and approve or disapprove each request.
- College is no different than a civilian primary employer in terms of this question. Take out college and would "is my primary employer a good excuse for not attending drill" drive you to the same answer either from a Soldier or from a chain of command perspective?
- The way you worded your question, you imply that college should always take precedence over your NG duties. Apologies if I inferred incorrectly. Obviously I disagree that college should always take precedence but there may be times such as end of term exams where college might take precedence especially when non critical events are planned for the drill weekend.
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CW3 Systems Architect
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM Sir, I really have to take issue with what you said in this part of your response: - College is no different than a civilian primary employer in terms of this question. Take out college and would "is my primary employer a good excuse for not attending drill" drive you to the same answer either from a Soldier or from a chain of command perspective?

If the civilian employer, sir, is unwilling to work with the Soldier over AT requirements, the Soldier can get the commander involved, but what is the Soldier supposed to do? You and I both know very well that there are ways and ways again for employers to get around the laws that protect us as Reservists. A civilian employer ALWAYS has to come first, because you should not have to be unemployed and/or homeless to be in the Army Reserve. As a senior leader, you really need to look at the realities of being in the Reserve, ESPECIALLY for junior enlisted and mid-grade NCOs
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COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
COL Jason Smallfield, PMP, CFM, CM
3 y
CW3 Walker, we must agree to disagree. Look at my complete answer. Yes, there are employers who know or try to get around laws meant to protect Reservists. A good chain of command knows who these employers are as well as are able to come up with ways to work with the Soldier to deconflict.
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CW3 Systems Architect
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3 y
And what happens, sir, when the commander isn't interested in working with the Soldier to deconflict?
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SFC Adam Miller
SFC Adam Miller
3 y
The military is their own worse enemy when it comes to this area. It waits till the last minute to give Soldier's orders which makes employers upset as well as Soldier. Commander's and NCO are told to have everyone present but service will not allow them to give true problem Soldiers discipline for attendance issues. Soldiers who are problems are not put out the correct way because the paperwork takes to long. It is easier to dump them into the IRR and then some 79V has to put them back into another unit to make his numbers and repeat the process. Then you have a Soldier with real issues like a family member dealing with cancer and there is no allowance period. I feel for commanders and NCO on this issue because the people at the top REFUSE to truly find ways to resolve this issue because a number on the books is all that matters. Even if that number never shows up.
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SFC Intelligence Analyst   Atl
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SFC (Join to see) I tend to agree that college is a priority. However, there are alternatives to just missing a drill. In Texas, I can have a Soldier "pre-drill" (important as this is how units get the constructive credit for the Soldier's attendance as opposed to making up drill after the fact. This effects training dollars for your unit and state.) for that Friday if it is a MUTA 6 which I have in October. Another point to consider is this: if a unit's leadership is doing their job and providing a drill schedule for the entire FY well in advance, it should not come as a surprise to the Soldiers who are in school or otherwise engaged. As far as Annual Training is concerned, I would advise Soldiers to not take classes either unless it was a class that was only offered during that time period. If that were the case, I would make a case for an alternate AT if available for the Soldier.
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SGT Timothy Rocheleau
SGT Timothy Rocheleau
3 y
If you know your drill schedule and know your work/college schedule there should be no reason to work these things around your schedule of either. You signed a contract with the guard or reserves and should be accountable for fulfilling that contract. Annual drills are typically in the summer time frame, at least they were for me, somunless your taking summer courses their should be no conflict unless you come down on deployment orders. So if you have summer drills coming up plan your college attendance around said drills. Your lack of planning shouldn't be cause for your command to restructure your drill time.
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MSG Mechanic Trainee
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3 y
i'll disagree with college as a priority, but as you pointed out drill schedules are put out well in advance, and it is then up to the sm to make the proper arrangements, there are always times in a unit that need help in the off times so this time is a way to make up what they would've missed, as well as alternative annual training, the army doesn't manage your career you do, you know your drill schedule and school schedule, put the work in, and find whats available, just like those of us who already work for a living, no diiference
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SPC Motor Transport Operator
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I'm an 88M in the NG and my unit is deploying next year for 1 year. We are a support company and just had the NTC last month, then they told us we're going to have another training in Oct-Nov of this year for 3 weeks after I already enrolled for Fall semester. I am currently a student competing to get a seat for Physician Assistant program next year. This coming fall semester is very crucial for me because the courses that I am enrolled are sciences courses with laboratory and only offered during fall semester. I know I signed a contract to the guard but I also need this for my career outside the military and hopefully someday can be use for the military as a PA. My question is will this be a good excuse not to attend the said 3 weeks training since I'm sure all I'm going to do is "hurry up and wait.. to nothing". I know it's for deployment but what if I don't get deployed? And if I do, at least when I come back I'm done with prereqs for PA and ready to enroll for the Physician Assistant program. Please let me know your suggestion or advice on this matter. Thank you.
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