I know I said I wouldn’t really post “This Army Life” unless I was really out of other things to talk about. But this will not pick up from Volume 6. We’ll resume that the next time around. When that will be, I don’t know for sure.
This series started with the potential for me deploying, and this week, I got a little bit closer to being able to do so. A few months ago, the Army changed some of their policies, which left my ability to deploy up in the air a bit. Originally, I was hoping that I wouldn’t really have to reenlist or extend to go on this deployment, figuring I might get hit by stop-loss and required to stay in the Army for the deployment. Not the best way to go about things, but it would have allowed me to deploy with my peeps and help me monetarily, blah, blah, blah. Big Army, in its infinite wisdom, decided to end this policy, which in the end is a good move. The Regular Army announced that they would end stop-loss for any unit deploying after October 1. The National Guard had to one-up the Regular Army and end stop-loss for deployments after September 1. The Army Reserve, being the best apparently, decided to end stop-loss for units deploying after August 1. Like I said, a great idea, but the actual means to do this was pretty slow in coming over the past few months.
The Army Reserve came up with an idea. Instead of involuntary stop-loss like they had done in the past, they would still have stop-loss, but it would be completely voluntary! If your unit was alerted and slated to mobilize and deploy after 1 August, and your time in the Army was up during the 400 days post-mobilization, you would have a couple of options:
1) You could volunteer to extend or reenlist in order to deploy with your unit, or
2) You could say no and they would transfer you to a non-deploying unit and force you out on the day your military service was over.
Thing is, the Army Reserve simply said this, but gave no real guidelines how to follow through on Option 1. Until yesterday. I’ve been waiting for them to actually publish the policy and guidelines so that I could see if I was eligible to do this. I wasn’t 100% sure because of my current issues with the height and weight standards, and I was already on an extension from last year. Plus, my ETS date was not within the time frame for the policy, i.e. 90 days prior to the mobilization. I just missed it by a few weeks, so I was waiting for the rules to come out. If I was to go on the deployment, I needed to go to another MOS school and needed some service obligation to do so, not to mention that the phase two of my course started the day after I was set to be done with the Army (August 7).
Anyway, long story short, they published the specific rules on how to do this magic extension, and within a few weeks I should be extended through March 2011, which should take me through the deployment plus 90 days as required. Now I can focus on getting ready to go on the deployment, getting trained to do my new job, and try to see if I can get promoted before I leave so I can make a little more money. Plus, if I decide that I want to stick around with the Army, I will be able to reenlist in a tax free zone and actually be eligible for a bonus! How exciting!
I must say that I am much happier since last Friday. If only I could sell my condo. Then my life could really be on the right track!