Shrinking Army looking to fill its Reserve Component

By David Vergun

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 23, 2014) — Whenever unemployment increases, there are always media stories about CEOs and small-business owners desperately seeking workers skilled in high-demand occupations.

The CEO of the Army Reserve said he’s scouting for talent as well.

All the time, people tell Lt. Gen. Jeffery W. Talley how the recent drop in force structure end strengths must mean that recruiting and retention must no longer be a problem, he said.

But that just isn’t the case, said Talley, who is chief of the Army Reserve and commander of the U.S. Army Reserve Command. He was speaking at the 2014 USARC Commanders Conference in Alexandria, Virginia, July 21.

“We have a crisis in manning the Reserve. It’s a lot harder to recruit and retain than it used to be,” Talley said, acknowledging the irony of the situation.

About three out of four men and women ages 17 to 28 are not even eligible to be recruited, he said, particularly since requirements have been tightened. Some of those requirements have to do with education and criminal records and others have to do with weight and fitness standards and even certain visible tattoos.

Besides private-sector businesses and industry, “all of the services and components are competing for these talented young men and women,” he said.

Many Soldiers are also leaving the Reserve.

“During the last quarter we lost around 15,000 Soldiers. That’s a division worth,” Talley noted, adding that some of those retired, and some of the others didn’t meet the standards for retention.

The personnel needs of the Army Reserve are particularly challenging because many positions require a high level of skill in the science, technology, engineering and medical fields.

“A significant portion of the Army’s technical enablers — including 90 percent of civil affairs; 65 percent of logistical units; 60 percent of doctors, nurses and other health professionals; 40 percent of transportation units; 35 percent of engineers; 24 percent of military police” are provided by the Army Reserve, Talley told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during testimony on the active and Reserve force mix April 8.

Talley also told the senators that many of those Reserve occupational specialties include “capabilities not found anywhere else in the active Army, Army National Guard or sister services.”

One glimmer of hope, he said, is to recruit some of the active-component captains who are leaving the Army.

“The regular Army is downsizing significantly,” he said. “Just recently, 1,100 captains were let go. A large percentage of them had perfect OERs. We’re trying to get about 400 of those captains and recruit them by name,” he explained.

But that will be a tough sell, Talley admitted.

“They’re not going to be particularly receptive to staying in the Army after they’ve dedicated seven years of their lives with multiple deployments, and then were asked to leave,” he acknowledged. “But they have to remember why they stayed in the Army. They love their jobs and they love helping other Soldiers. They love serving Soldiers’ families.”

During a town hall with Soldiers of the 412th Theater Engineer Command June 29, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Talley said another draw for service in the Reserve is the Private-Public Partnership Initiative.

The initiative created a partnership with more than 6,000 private-sector companies, which invest resources in the Reserve to make Soldiers more marketable. These companies also provide resources for financial fitness, physical fitness and leadership training.

“I encourage you to find out more about the Private Public Partnership Initiative, let that program help you and your family members become more marketable in the civilian sector as you become more ready as an individual, a Soldier and a leader so you can contribute to your unit,” said Talley.

The other hot-button issue Talley emphasized during the town hall was Tricare Reserve Select. Talley sees this as a very important program for taking care of Soldiers still in the ranks and encourages Reserve Soldiers to enroll.

(Staff Sgt. Debralee Best contributed to this story. For more ARNEWS stories, visit http://www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)

US Army Reserve Team wins National Hearst Doubles Team Match

Congratulations to SGT Kristoffer Friend and CPT Kirk Freeman on their win at the 2014 National Hearst Doubles 2 Man Team Match.

The Hearst Doubles Rifle Team Match is a two-person team match where both team members fire the 30-shot President’s Rifle course of fire (a modified National Match Course) with service rifles. The match winners receive the William Randolph Hearst Trophy, donated by William Randolph Hearst to the National Matches in 1940. The Hearst Rifle Trophy is a 17th century Spanish flintlock carbine in blunderbuss style, inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl and having a chased lock.

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Friend and Freeman fired scores of 294-13x and 293-8x, respectively, to narrowly beat out their fellow competitors with a team score of 587-21x

Army Reserve Shooting Team at Vintage Sniper Match

The Civilian Marksmanship Program Vintage Sniper Rifle Team Match is a two-person team match fired at 300 and 600 yards on SR-3 and MR-1 targets respectively with 10 rounds per person per distance in the prone position using military sniper rifles issued prior to 1953 or replicas of those rifles. For each record shot, the target is exposed for twenty seconds while the shooter engages and the spotter observes and calls wind. The competition target has scoring rings much smaller than hit-or-miss targets typically used in sniper training even today, increasing the challenge in precision shooting, especially with vintage equipment.

US Army Reserve Marksmanship Program members Sgt. First Class Dwayne Lewis and Staff Sgt. John Arcularius, both with extensive sniping and long range precision shooting experience, competed in the event wearing complete camouflage, including ghillie suits and face paint as a demonstration and to represent the Army Reserve at this national event.

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Have a Happy and Safe Independence Day!

US Flag

 

The Declaration of Independence

 

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
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Happy Birthday

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June 14, 2014 – Two hundred thirty-nine years ago, our nation’s leaders established the Continental Army. As the strategic landpower of the joint force, the Army is called upon to Prevent, Shape, and Win against our adversaries.

We celebrate 239 Years of Our Profession. As the Army continues to demonstrate its competence, its commitment, and its character in defense of our nation. Our Soldiers possess a lifelong commitment to our values.

America’s Army professionals conduct themselves consistently with the Army ethic; worthy of our profession. An Army professional strives to adhere to five essential characteristics of trust, military expertise, honorable service, esprit de corps, and stewardship.

FLAG DAY AND NATIONAL FLAG WEEK, 2014

SAFETY FIRST

On 11 Jun, the state of South Carolina became the 44th to prohibit texting while behind the wheel for all drivers. You can view all 50 state distracted driving laws at: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html

Distracted driving: an Armywide hazard

By Lt. Col. Joseph A. Harvey; Director, Driving Directorate; US Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center

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In January 2014, the U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center released a 19-question survey tailored specifically for respondents to report their perceptions of distracted driving, awareness of hazards and potential legal implications, and whether they have knowingly participated in any activity that distracted them while driving. A random sample of 1,099 Soldiers was selected for the survey, and some findings are outlined below.

“Don’t text and drive” is a familiar refrain from news and advertisements. Our results show this slogan is only moderately effective, as 19 percent of Soldiers surveyed admitted to texting and driving while acknowledging the laws and policies against it. But is texting the only risky behavior drivers are engaged in behind the wheel? The answer is no: Anything that takes your attention off the task of driving is a distraction.

Today, many people feel they need to be constantly connected to Family and friends. Social media is available on most smartphones and even integrated into some newer models of automobiles, but is it really necessary? Drivers are two times more likely to miss a stop sign and suffer from “inattention blindness” while using a cellphone. The voice-to-text technology being offered in some new cars is also dangerous, because it requires massive brain activity to operate and can make what is outside the vehicle invisible to you.

The survey showed 71 percent of respondents believe drinking and driving is more dangerous than distracted driving. The truth is they are both bad. While drinking affects your reaction times, vision and coordination, distracted driving takes your eyes and mind off the road for the time it takes to send a text or change a CD. A lot can happen in those few seconds.

Many people are under the mistaken impression they can multitask while driving, whether it’s eating, texting friends, flipping through radio stations, brushing their hair or setting a GPS, maybe even all at the same time. In fact, 29 percent of our survey respondents felt they could do it all without affecting their driving performance. That’s a deadly misconception; your mind can only handle one job at a time. While your brain may switch from one task to the next quickly, giving the illusion of multitasking, this jumble of activity keeps it from focusing entirely on the road and hazards around you. Limiting distractions helps ensure you have a safe ride.

The safety of hands-free devices is another fallacy. While headsets and speakerphones allow you to keep both hands on the wheel, the real distraction is the conversation. Of the Soldiers surveyed, 63 percent believed hands-free devices are safe. Cellphone conversations while driving are dangerous, and the only safe option is to pull off the road or wait until you reach your destination to talk.

Leaders play a large role in reducing distracted driving accidents. They can make their Soldiers aware of the dangers, include the topic in their safety briefs, and be the example by not calling or texting their subordinates when they are on the road. Of all survey respondents, 30 percent said they would answer a text or email while driving because it could be “important” to them. A text about something as simple as a change to first formation time could be the reason a Soldier drives through a stop sign. No bit of information is so important that it cannot wait until later.

While on the road this summer, be smart. Turn off your cellphone, preset your radio and GPS, and find a good front-seat passenger to help eliminate distractions inside your vehicle. Focusing on the world outside will help you stay safe and ready for whatever lies ahead.

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