For the first time since the Iraq War began, members of the Individual Ready Reserve are being notified there is a potentiality they may be called up to active duty. The 78,000 members of this group are individuals who completed an active duty tour and left the armed forces, but were placed in the IRR until they had completed eight years of service. Members of IRR do not undergo training nor are they held to any armed forces requirements. Obviously, many are not physically fit nor mentally prepared for active duty.
I am intrigued by this category since it was only recently when I obtained a copy of my military records did I realize I had been placed in the IRR for a period of six years. Those who are in the IRR category go about their daily lives oblivious to any thought of again serving on active duty. Perhaps, the growing shortage of personnel is encouraging the military to consider using these people. I suspect it would prove a disaster since they are physically and mentally not prepared for active duty.
At some point in time, the United States of America must confront a reality — there simply are not sufficient bodies available in our armed forces to handle global responsibilities. Our society can pay large sums to attract those who need money or we can consider an alternative. I suggest all Americans at age 18 be given the option of two years of public service which could be in a Peace Corps situation, a new Domestic Peace Corps, working in schools, joining the armed forces, etc.. In return for public service, each person would receive a G.I. Bill of Rights which gave free higher education plus a stipend for living expenses.