Well..after 3 months of not posting all my readers should have left by now :)
I went to Reserves this weekend. I've been bouncing around since last September. It should have been straightforward -- I was looking for something different, found it, and started doing it. Unfortunately I didn't find out for several months that I didn't have a "hard" billet. Which means an actual spot on the "bus". Instead, I was one of the guys riding on the roof. Which caused my paperwork not to go through, me not to get paid, etc. In the end, the paperwork was adjusted but a new problem arose.
It used to be that you could ride on top of the bus for several months to a year until a seat opened up. Not this time. There is an undisclosed effort to fill billets in port security and coastal surveillance by any means possible. Which by the way come with a guaranteed recall to Iraq. Anyone on top of the bus gets orders to one of these units. Even if they have no skills in the field. Just looking for warm bodies. You can refuse by transferring to the IRR (sit at home with uniforms in your closet -- don't get paid). But then the reserve center will recommend that you not be allowed to become an active reservist again in the future. That recommendation takes an admiral in DC to overturn someday in the future.
I went to the reserve HQ (REDCOM NE) for all of New England looking for a billet. Nothing. Not a single billet in all of New England for a LT or LCDR. They gave me a few leads, but they weren't real (paperwork problems rather than actual open spots). Except Iraq billets. The reserves were designed to mobilize en masse in case of World War III. Not to spend one out of every three years on a predictable basis in a war zone.
I found out this weekend that my old unit (Naval Submarine School) is being closed down September 30. So 40 other people (10 officers) are now looking for jobs.
This type of thing is likely happening all over. And from a short-term standpoint it makes sense. But they are driving out a generation of officers who can never return. Meanwhile, there are apparently plenty of jobs in DC after years of shortage. There is a way (called cross-assigned out) to put New England people in those jobs and have them drill with similar units in New England. But the reserves refuse to use it.