Going Into the Reserves After an Honorable Discharge

Many former military members choose to join the reserves after an honorable discharge.
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Leaving any branch of the military with an honorable discharge is an extraordinary accomplishment. Service men and women who have served their country are looked upon with admiration and receive numerous benefits from the government. However, many former military members still feel the need to serve and choose the join a branch of the reserves after fulfilling their initial commitment to the armed forces.

Air Force

    In order to join the Air Force Reserves after an honorable discharge, you must meet certain criteria. First, subtract your years of active duty service and/or active reserve service from your current age. If the result is less than 40, you could be eligible to join the Air Force Reserves. Service men and women from any branch of the military are welcome to join the Air Force Reserves as well, including other reservists and members of the National Guard. In most cases, you will keep the rank with which you left the military and can even transfer directly from active duty. Additional benefits of the Air Force Reserves include low-cost health insurance and educational assistance.

The Marines

    Like other reservists, those in the Marines Reserves are able to maintain their civilian lives, but also must be prepared to support the Marine Corps in major combat assignments, national emergencies and humanitarian initiatives. Reservists go through a 12-week recruit training, just like active-duty Marines. The eligibility requirements of the Marines Reserves are almost identical to that of active-duty personnel as well (See Resources 2). After successful completion of training, reservists must complete regular training drills as assigned. Reserve officers have the added benefit of being able to choose where they will serve in the Marine Corps Reserves, with most officers choosing to serve near their homes.

The Navy

    Prior active-duty members of the Navy who choose to join the Naval Reserves may receive sign-on bonuses ranging between $5,000 and $20,000, depending on rating or specialty and qualification as enlisted or officer. Eligibility requirements include passing a physical examination and being between the ages of 18 and 39, with the ability to have a total of 20 years of service by age 60. To qualify as an officer in the Naval Reserves, you must have at least a bachelor's degree, which may be earned during or after your initial active duty service.

The Army

    Active Guard Reserve soldiers serve full time and enjoy the same benefits as active-duty soldiers. AGR soldiers work in areas such as recruitment, public affairs, military intelligence and finance. To join with an enlisted status, you must be between 18 and 55 years of age and have less than 15 years of active federal service. You also must meet the physical retention standards prior to being accepted into the AGR. To join the Active Guard Reserve as an officer, you must rank second lieutenant through major or W01 through CW4. You also must have finished the Captain’s Career Course if more than five years in rank (captain or major). There are additional qualifications for both enlisted and officer status and interested applicants should contact their local recruiter, visit the U.S. Army Human Resources Command website or call 1-888-276-9472.

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