What is the biggest difference between active duty and serving in the Army Reserve? It really comes down to the amount of time you spend actually performing military duties. With the Army Reserve, you are afforded much more flexibility because when training is checked off the list, you get to return home and settle back into civilian life. Of course, training is never completely checked off the list. Reservists consistently return for training to keep their skills sharp and ready for use. Find out what it means to be in the Army Reserves and the benefits it can bring into your life.
Army Reserve Soldiers are Pushed to the Limits
Army Reserve members must go through the same initial 10 weeks of training that active-duty members do. This includes Basic Combat Training (BCT) and Advanced Individual Training. For the remainder of their service, reservists mainly live civilian lives except when they return for further trainings once a month for a weekend. Beyond those monthly instruction, they also have a two-week training once each year during which they focus on sharpening specialty skills. Some choose to advance their skills even further by attending specialty schools such as the Air Assault and Airborne schools, the two most popular options.
Just because reservists are not serving every day like active duty, that doesn’t mean that their workload is a walk in the park. Their training is intense and constantly keeps them on their toes so that they are ready for duty whenever they are called on. Take a look at the Air Assault school, for example. Throughout the course of these trainings, the students are required to perform physically and mentally demanding tasks that push them to their limits. Despite their exhaustion, they must be sharp at all times. When graduation comes around at the end of those two weeks, they must complete a 12-mile march with full gear in under three hours.
Another choice of instruction is going through Airborne school where you earn your wings and become a paratrooper. It’s a three-week course that is just as physically and mentally exhausting as Air Assault school, but it emphasizes learning how to use a parachute in a variety of circumstances.
Enlistment Requirements in the Reserves
The Reserve has a few requirements in place that are meant to ensure, prior to enlistment, that you are capable and prepared to take on all the duties of a reservist.
- You must provide a high school diploma or an equivalent (such as a GED or equivalency certificate).
- There is a strict age requirement of 18 to 35 years. To enlist, you may not be older than 35 and may be 17 only with parental consent.
- Two tests are also required: the ASVAB and an exam to test physical fitness.
Army Reserve Benefits and Careers
There are more than 120 types of careers available for reservists through the Army, but, as mentioned before, this is not full-time work. For a full-time position with the Army, look into active-duty service. Beyond the wide array of career options, perhaps the best part about being in the Reserve is the flexibility. You can choose to live wherever you wish, have whatever civilian career you want, and spend plenty of time with family and friends. There are still opportunities to advance in rank within the Army Reserve, and as far as pay is concerned, you are paid according to rank and length of service. You are also helped with payments for student loans, health insurance, and education expenses. And you can’t discount all the personal, physical, and mental skills you add to your repertoire.
One more benefit to add to that list is that serving in the Army Reserve can qualify you for a VA loan. Serving long-term in the Army Reserve makes you eligible to receive all the perks and benefits that come with VA home loans. At Low VA Rates, we talk to reservists all the time and help them get the best rates one of the most significant and costly investments of their lives – their homes. Visit our blog to learn more about eligibility and find out how much you could save!