Thousands of Soldiers Activated from Individual Ready Reserve - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Powhatan, AR -- Kathy Morris Reports

Thousands of Soldiers Activated from Individual Ready Reserve

June 30, 2004 - Posted at: 7:45pm CDT

POWHATAN, AR -- Leaders of the Army announced to the public today that those who are enrolled in what's called "Individual Ready Reserve" need to be ready to return to the military. As of last week, there were more than 111,000 soldiers in the IRR. Soon about 5,600 of those who have either retired or been discharged will find themselves back in fatigues; the largest call-up since the first gulf war.

"The country needs them at this point and time, so if they gotta go, they gotta go," said Lt. Col. Lloyd Clark (Ret.)

When soldiers sign up to serve in the military, they are committing for 8 years. If they've served their required 4 years of active duty, specialty training or other classes, then they can go into the reserves or into the IRR and can get called up at any time.

"It's part of what you sign for, and it's part of America's duty to serve and help protect and provide the freedoms that we enjoy," added Clark.

As an individual ready reservist, soldiers do not drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year like members of the national guard and reserve. They receive no pay unless they are activated. However, all soldiers know no matter what papers they signed, they can get called to duty until age 60.

Clark admitted, "..and I'm 58.. so.."

However, a younger Clark, son Kenneth, is currently activated. He's a member of the 875th Engineer Battalion, but was attached to the 39th Infantry Brigade. Knowing more soldiers are headed over to help soldiers like his son gives Lloyd Clark some comfort.

"The more we put over there, and recently NATO indicated they're gonna help a little bit, that theoretically will bring them home sooner, and allow them to accomplish the job with fewer casualties.. yeah that's a reassuring thing," explained Clark.

Arkansas National Guard leaders have been speaking with those in the Individual Ready Reserve over the last two months, explaining to them that there might be less of a possibility of being called to active duty if they transfer to the Guard. As for those 5,600 civilians being called up, they'll receive letters next week.

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