How To Join the Army Reserve with Prior Service

Joining the Army Reserve is a simple process for both initial entry and prior service applicants.  Furthermore, the benefits for those wishing to serve in a reserve capacity are substantial given the general time commitment compared to active duty status.

The most difficult aspect of changing over from active duty requires you to adhere to the following criteria: you must have been discharged from your former unit, and you must not be over the age of fifty five or under the age of eighteen.

As an enlisted soldier, you will be required to have obtained the rank of Specialist but not a rank higher than Sergeant First Class. You cannot have been employed for more than fourteen years of government service. You must be able to pass the medical and fitness retention standards of your prior service. You must not have been relieved of active duty status in the last thirty-six months. Furthermore, you must not have been involuntarily removed from active duty status.

You will undergo a medical screening to detect drug usage, HIV, and pregnancy. You must not fail any of these tests to enter service in the active duty guard.  You will also be screened and tested in an attempt to pass a Defense Central Index Investigation. This test is non-waiverable.

If you are a commissioned officer or warrant officer and wish to join the Reserves you must meet similar requirement standards as above with the following exceptions: you must be of a rank between Second Lieutenant and Major for commissioned officers. You must have a rank of Warrant Officer One up to and including Chief Warrant Officer Four, for warrant officers.  If you have fewer than five years in rank then you must have completed the Officers' Basic Course. If you have more than five years in service you must have completed the Captain's Career Course. Finally, in the year prior to application you must not have received an R.O.E., Referred Officer Evaluation.

Beyond these requirements, you must locate a local recruiter and sign paperwork with her. Be thorough as you ask questions, and make certain that every single aspect of the contract you wish to sign is in writing.  Do not think you can change your contract later. If anything is left out, then you will still have to perform under the strictures and benefits of what you did sign.

The final bit of advice is for you to have and maintain the attitude of a warrior. The Army Reserves may seem easier to you than your prior service - however, this is deceptive. You can still get killed easily in a foreign conflict. You will be on duty far less and should maintain your training, discipline, and physical fitness standards on your own.


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