Posted on Sep 20, 2020
CW3 Uh 60 Pilot
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I am currently drilling as a UH60 pilot with the PA ARNG. I have just over three years until 20, but I'm strongly weighing alternate options, specifically: (1) IRR (2) service transfer (to include resigning my commission and enlisting in the Air Guard) or (3) ...getting out altogether.

The IRR is the most attractive option to me but there's a lot of contradictory information on the internet. It seems that online courses are still available to IRR SM but must be approved by the SM's commander in order to earn retirement points, can anyone comment on this?

To be clear: I need a change. I can not continue on the same path I am. I am thankful for everything the Army has given me over the last 17 years but I am finding my current situation incompatible with my civilian employment/home life. My military rank, pay, benefits matter little to me. Im simply trying to find a way to continue to serve in another capacity.

Any help or advice would be appreciated!

EDIT/UPDATE for the sake of others who may read this down the road: It appears that IRR as an option is not feasible for anyone attempting to earn 'good' years towards retirement. Most of the people who point to the IRR as a way to ride out the last year or two are unaware that the Army has removed the ability to earn RP via distance learning. I'm still trying to get a solid answer on how drilling on IRR works. I'm sure there are special circumstances and loopholes but, as far as I'm concerned, IRR is not going to work for me.

Inter-service transfer, on the other hand, has become an attractive option. From what I've gleaned talking to an AF recruiter: Minimum enlistment for prior service is 3 years, though you forego many of the incentives that come with longer contracts. Prior SM can also come in at their last enlisted rank, depending on the unit/job you enlist into. I'll have to attend IET (tech school, the AF equivalent to the Army's AIT) for the job of my choosing but that's it.

Now to convince the Army that losing a qualified aviator is in their best interest...
Edited 7 mo ago
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COL Vincent Stoneking
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There are very few options to earn points for good years in the IRR. They did away with points for correspondence/distance courses in 2016. This isn't waivable, it's just gone for everyone.

For active (a really loaded term, IRR is actually considered "active" reserve....) reservists - with a unit - Ther is a list of DL/Online courses you can take for points & pay. But you will NOT be eligible to do so as an IRR member, barring exceptional circumstances. I forget the details, because it never really impacted me, but the courses must be command approved (you effectively don't have a command...) . In addition, the courses come from a set list that have to do with maintaining your readiness.

You will find it VERY difficult to get good years in the IRR currently. I did finish out my career there, and about the only way yo do it is to get a points only attachment to a unit and drill for free. That's what I did in my case.

It is my personal opinion that big Army is actively discouraging people from "hanging out" in the IRR and is doing everything it can to either nudge them into a unit or separate them from the rolls. If you don't have 20 good years, you could probably hang out there for a few years, but you will likely need to join a unit and drill eventually to get your 20. Also, once you have your 20, you will need to somehow get good years while in the IRR or face separation (that's why I ended up on the points only attachment, despite well over 20 good years).
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CW3 Uh 60 Pilot
CW3 (Join to see)
7 mo
Sir, can you expound on a points only attachment, I'd like to look into this option.
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COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
7 mo
CW3 (Join to see) - Sure. It's pretty easy in theory. Essentially, you find a unit that is willing to allow you to drill, or perform admin duties, etc. on a points only basis. You get attached via a DA 4651, official orders that specify "points only" attachment. You work out a schedule that's amendable to the unit & you, submit a points-only 1380 thru the unit monthly.

The trick is finding a unit that sees the value in the paperwork and having a member "on the books" that isn't really on their books. In my case, I spent the last 18 or so months of my career grading papers for the Army War College (and loving every minute of it! Great gig.). Of course, I spent the 12+ months prior to that trying to find a unit that was willing to take on a COL in a points only status, especially one with less than 3 years until MRD. This would have been MUCH easier were I in the DC area, but I'm in the OTHER WA.

It can literally be ANY unit, as long as they are willing.
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SGM G3 Sergeant Major
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Edited 7 mo ago
IRR as an option to get three more good years creditable for retirement, you would need a sponsor unit for those points for online classes, showing up for an AT, or 30 straight days of AT and some UTAs.
https://www.usar.army.mil/IMA/

Other options could include an IST to the ARNG of NY, NJ, MD, WV, OH, VA, etc.
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LTC Jason Mackay
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CW3 (Join to see) we RP regulars constantly answer the same dozen questions essentially. You know how many E3/E4 kids are beating down the door trying to be where you are at? I understand the competing demands piece. Got it. You can do 3 years standing in your head in a bucket of sh!t if you had to. As CW5 Jack Cardwell said. Three years in the ARNG pass quick. Recommend riding it out in a drilling status and dropping your retirement at 20years and 59 seconds.

Riddle me this. Do you have enough points to retire if you went IRR right now? You've spent 17 years on this. Walk away with something more than the zoom bags in the closet and the shadow box on the wall.

Another of the dirty dozen RP questions are people trying to get back in, racked with regret that they did not stay in or stay to retire.

At the end of the day it's up to you. Curious as to how enlisting in the ANG solves any of your issues, would you have to go through all or some IET to earn the AFSC? How would transferring to the ANG as an officer fix your problems?
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CW3 Uh 60 Pilot
CW3 (Join to see)
7 mo
I have more retirement points than most non-aviation soldiers at 17 years will have precisely because of the additional requirements and time spent at the unit. There was a long stretch where I was the first to raise his hand anytime the unit needed to send someone somewhere.

I look at an inter-service transfer as an opportunity to continue to serve (even at reduced pay) until my 20 years are up while possibly learning a new skill that could be useful to me outside of the military.
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LTC Jason Mackay
LTC Jason Mackay
7 mo
CW3 (Join to see) - Realistically I think any inter service transfer unless it is a no training transfer will rack you up an additional service obligation. I'm sorry you got monkey pumped by your previous chains of command. Is it possible to take a non-flight billet at The JHQ or STARC that would be more stable and predictable perhaps. I had a friend who was a CW3 Chinook guy grounded due to LOD medical DQ. They made him a Mobility Officer 882A. He was heart broken but threw himself into unit movement and redeployed my BCT from Afghanistan. Kevin was the consummate professional. He ended up liking it.

Had my best friend at Irwin as a young officer who was a CW2 that was transferred from AH-1 to UH60. He eventually came to grips with no longer being Air Cavalrymen. Just then, someone figured out he was Safety Certified. Coopted to Be the Unit, then BN, then Installation safety officer. Hating being grounded, he left AD Army and joined the Coast Guard. Direct Commissioned as an O3, he flew HH56s off an Ice breaker. Then retired as an O5, learned a foreign language and joined the US State Department.

Were you Street-to-Seat or were you enlisted for a while? What was your MOS? That might be an avenue to consider in either the ARNG or ANG if there was alignment. Have you talked to a ARNG or ANG recruiter about doing this without a break in service or additional obligation?

I'd also check the regulation covering resignations. There is a ARNG and AD versions of that reg.
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CW3 Uh 60 Pilot
CW3 (Join to see)
7 mo
I've got the newest version of AR 135-175 open on my desktop now... unfortunately, unless you invoke them regularly in the conduct of your job, most ARs seem to hide the important stuff in ambiguous language or side notes. Nonetheless, better to read through and have an understanding of the process.

I was enlisted (E5 with PLDC/WLC) for a few years prior to WOCS and that along with the break-in-service issue is certainly something I intend to mention to the ANG recruiter when we meet. Any time spent at IET to get my AFSC is an investment I'm willing to make to transition but I'll be taking a hard look at any connected ADSO.
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LTC Jason Mackay
LTC Jason Mackay
7 mo
CW3 (Join to see) - good luck in your search. It's not an easy call.

I seem to remember that ARNG officers could resign to enlist in the ARNG. Thinking out loud, any chance you could become an Aviation Maintenance Officer. Down side same unit. Upside move you to a different end of the hallway.
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