More than 300 Individual Ready Reserve Airmen will participate in a Defense Department-required exercise in June, which conducts an end-to-end test of key mobilization processes and systems.
The Air Force will begin "Push-Pull 2007" on June 18. The service will "push" about 320 IRR Airmen, or about 1 percent of the IRR, to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for a five-day, active-duty tour. From Lackland AFB, about 100 of these Airmen will be "pulled" to other locations and continue on active duty through June 29.
"Push-Pull 2007 is designed to exercise and evaluate the mobilization process and crisis action procedures," said Lt. Col. Steven Cramner, the Reserve adviser at the Headquarters Air Force Personnel Readiness Division.
Ensuring the nation has an adequate source of deployable, highly skilled reservists to support any contingency is critical. Occasional reorientation or re-bluing is required for Airmen who are no longer actively serving but still have a commitment to the Air Force.
Push-Pull exercises, typically conducted every other year, also provide the Air Force a true picture of the job skills available in this personnel pool.
"These Airmen provide depth in skills and capabilities if we need to quickly and efficiently surge to meet a national crisis or contingency," Colonel Cramner said.
He emphasized that this is a routine exercise, not a step toward activating the IRR.
"There are no immediate plans to mobilize the Air Force IRR," he said. "The Air Force has not activated the IRR since Operation Desert Storm. We are, however, obligated by Title 10 USC 10208 to exercise our mobilization processes and systems to maintain a basic level of preparedness."
Airmen required to participate in this exercise will receive detailed instructions on when, where and how to report. Additionally, they will receive pay and allowances based on their grade and years of service.
Each Airman identified to participate in this exercise is protected by law from any repercussions by their civilian employers.
"As an Airman of the National Guard or Reserve, your rights and responsibilities fall under the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act," said Phil Pope, acting executive director for the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
However, Mr. Pope emphasized "the Airmen have a responsibility to notify their employers of their military obligations."
"The relationship between employer and employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve works best when it is characterized by mutual trust and open communication," he said. "Provide notice of your military service to your employer, serve honorably and return to work within the time frame outlined by the law."
Guard and Reserve Airmen with concerns about their rights should contact the ESGR call center at 800-336-4590 or visit the Web site at www.esgr.mil
When Airmen leave the active force and enter the IRR, they sign a statement acknowledging their remaining military service obligation. Air Reserve Personnel Center officials here maintain regular communication with the IRR population to ensure they are well informed regarding their military status and options available to them.
When an Airman's military service obligation is nearly complete, the Airman is contacted to determine if he or she wants to remain in military service, separate or, in the case of officers, resign. To those who want to separate or resign their commission, ARPC officials provide the appropriate instructions.
To make this communication possible, IRR Airmen are required by law to ensure ARPC has accurate contact information.
"Even so," said Daryl Gruneisen, ARPC director of plans, "maintaining a current address on the IRR Airmen can be a challenge. The IRR Airman often fails to notify ARPC of an address change. But we do our utmost through different communication tools and surveys to maintain contact with them."
To update contact information, IRR Airmen can log onto the virtual Personnel Center - Guard and Reserve, or vPC-GR, at http://arpc.afrc.af.mil/vPC-GR
, send an e-mail to email@example.com
or call the Reserve Personnel Contact Center at 800-525-0102.