News: Marine Corps Reserve provides options for Marines
Story by Lance Cpl. John Gargano
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa - The Marine Corps Reserve transition team visited several Marine Corps installations throughout Okinawa May 6-10 to inform active-duty Marines about their options to continue serving as members of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve.
The transition team spoke about different types of programs, benefits and options available to Marines.
“The great thing about the Marine Corps Reserve is Marines have the opportunity to continue serving while they pursue other goals,” said Maj. George F. Farmakis, the III Marine Expeditionary Force reserve liaison officer and individual mobilization augmentees operational sponsor. “For Marines who still want to serve their country, the Reserve provides a great opportunity.”
Although the tangible effect of remaining in uniform, if only part time, is appealing to many Marines, continuing their medical coverage may appeal to others.
One of the benefits of the program is the ability for Marines to continue receiving their Tricare benefits, unless they are enrolled in the federal employee health program.
“The Reserve programs enable Marines to continue participating in the Tricare Reserve select program, which is available to all service members serving in Reserve components,” said Sgt. Shanna L. Diep, reserve transition advisor for III MEF. “As long as they pay the premium, they will continue to receive full medical insurance.”
Four options are available to Marines who are considering joining the Reserve: the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, the Individual Mobilization Augmentee, the Active Reserve and the Individual Ready Reserve.
For Marines considering the SMCR, they will become active-duty Marines one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year. For those considering the IMA route, they will attach to an active-duty component to fill skill intensive or time sensitive requirements and critical billets in order to increase responsiveness and operational readiness. Marines opting for the AR program are considered part of the active-duty component for their time on Active Reserve. This includes career opportunities with AR members receiving active-duty pay and entitlements, including potentially being eligible to attain active-duty retirement benefits. Finally, Marines who elect to be in the IRR can be activated anytime during national emergencies to assist as directed.
“Marine Corps Reserve programs are an awesome way to stay with the Marine Corps,” said Staff Sgt. Brian T. Joseph, the Asia-Pacific area reserve transition coordinator, III MEF. “Marines should brush aside any stigma they might have about the Reserve. It is a great opportunity to stay involved.”
By transitioning to a Reserve unit, Marines can bring all the experience and leadership from their time on active-duty into the Reserve and civilian sectors while allowing them to stay involved and keep their options open.
For more information about the Reserve programs, Marines can contact the III MEF Reserve liaison branch at 622-6004 or their units’ career planners.