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Mark1

Resigning from the IRR

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I separated from active duty 1.5yrs ago after 7yrs and 9mo of service. I was not RIF'd or VSP'd, had no remaining ADSC, and did not separate under any special program.

While going through the separation process every time it came up in the paperwork or in dealings with MPF it was clear that on their end they believed I had no remaining Military Service Obligation. I was close, but just short of the 8yr mark, so my understanding was that they were wrong. However, not having any desire to voluntarily continue in an IRR capacity if I didn't have to, I kept my mouth shut figuring I might be on the positive end of a military paperwork f*ckup for once.

I've been happily existing on the civilian side for over a year now and today I get a letter in the mail from my local AFRC unit telling me that I should expect to have to report for IRR muster in August and that actual orders to do so will follow.

From what I can gather online, in the past an officer would continue indefinitely on IRR unless they resigned their commission, however, that was supposed to have been changed a few years ago. Apparently, at the 8yr mark I should have gotten a form that would have required that I elect to continue in the IRR, or resign. That didn't happen and because I thought I had mistakenly been given a clean break when I separated from active duty, I didn't think anything of it.

Apparently, if I'm a member of the IRR, I'm required to maintain my uniforms...that would have been nice to know. Not to mention it seems I should also have a reserve ID card with base access and BX/commissary privileges. Neither is the case and at no point during the separation from active duty was I given any information on the IRR (made sense given that I didn't expect to be transfered to IRR status). Information available from a quick Google search is all over the place when it comes to officers.

Can anybody who's either experienced this process or had a spouse go through it point me in the direction of a good source of reliable information? I'd like to be educated before I call AFRC to figure out whether this is just a f*ckup on their end haunting me from beyond the grave and I can tell them to pound sand, or whether I need to formally resign my commission with AFRC. I don't want to run in to the typical scenario where neither I or the person on the other end of the phone truly knows what they're talking about, so they just default to the easiest solution from their perspective to get me out of their hair (i.e. 'yeah, you'll have to show up for muster in August unless you resign'). Thanks.

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IRR in the USAF is pretty F-'d up for officers because of what I can gather AFPC, ARPC, and the local MPF's don't care. If you want an ID card you can go to the nearest ID card facility and get one since you're apparently in DEERs. You can call DMDC prior to if you want to verify. Also I don't know exactly when the rules for the IRR changed but I suspect it was with ROPMA. It apparently used to be that an officer was retained in the IRR until reaching a certain age (possibly age 62?) or until he submitted paperwork to resign his commission. Nowadays the officer is discharged after his second failure to be promoted to the next rank. Continuation is not considered for IRR in general.

At least in the Air reserve they only promote 1 guy per year in the IRR (I guess to keep up appearances). So your chance of being promoted is nil. The board you will meet in the IRR (to major) is in the year you have 6-7 years TIG and your subsequent board will be the year after. Your mandatory separation will be ~6 months after the 2nd board results are released. After this happens your commission is revoked and you are barred from further officer service. If you would like to prevent this from happening you need to submit paperwork to ARPC which indicates you want to resign your commission. You can resign your commission as long as you don't owe time, which it sounds like you don't.

One final point for those getting out via VSP or otherwise receive separation pay and as a result owe 3 years in the IRR: AFPC may or may not put you in the IRR as they should. Also if they do put you in the IRR they will give you a break in service. This can be corrected administratively later on, but it's a pain.

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With the threat of recall a very real possibility right now, are there any gotchas to simply resigning one's commission in the reserves? 

Can a person rejoin the service after resigning their commission? 

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Yes, commissioned officers can be reinstated after resigning their commission, or they can simply enlist; as long as the conditions of their separation were honorable.

Obviously, doing so is much more complicated that just asking to return; but it's possible.

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On a similar topic...I had a few questions about resigning from being a TR.  

If you VSP''d out of active duty (and therefore your remaining commitment was waived) and then immediately transitioned to a Traditional Reserve position...can you resign any time you want (assuming you have no commitment to the reserves either)?

It looks like the reg is 36-3209 and it is not clear.  It seems you would need to use Attachment 4 "Format for Voluntary Letter of Tender of Resignation".  But can a squadron and/or wing commander disapprove this request?? (assuming there is no "stop-loss" implemented).  I have heard stories where a commander disapproves a 1288 to transfer...but that may be different.  

Para 2.40 says "An honorable discharge is given when an officer properly submits a resignation for any of the reasons lists...unless......there are valid reasons for retaining an officer in the military service"

Also in Para 2.46 "Permissible Reasons for Resignation"...the last reason is 2.46.1.8 "When service obligations have been satisfied: The officer has no unfulfilled MSO or contract".  

It also mentioned a resignation may be disapproved..."in time of war, when war is imminent, or in a period of national emergency as proclaimed by the President or declared by the congress" AND also mentions "In any other instance when the best interest of the service requires retention".  This seems like there is a lot of leeway for a commander to just not allow you to leave your job. 

Lastly, also in para 2.40 it mentions "once an officer has been notified of orders or consideration for EAD, the officer's application for resignation is referred to AFPC/DPPRS for disposition".  And I know somewhere else it talks about if you are possible "expecting" orders of some kind.  It seems like if you are given deployment orders that the option of resigning is not an option anymore?  Is it like active duty where you can 3 day opt or something?  It seems like you could put your separation in, and then your unit could slap you with a deployment and just keep you in.

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A 1288 is just a recommendation. Your commander can’t deny separation. Big Blue on the other hand....

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