Active Duty Vs Reserve

When considering a military related career, many individuals may consider what route to go down. Do they want to be away from home and be on foreign soil? Do they want to stay in the area and only leave one weekend a month? Do they want all the benefits that come with full time military and the demands of moving from place to place, or would they rather be stationary in one place for the most part? Those are most questions that are asked during this decision-making process, which leads people to searching online for answers regarding which route to take in terms of military branch, and more importantly, this route;

Whether to go active duty or go into reserve duty.

Active Duty and Reserve Duty – many civilians may not know the difference between such. ‘Well aren’t they just military people? Aren’t they just the army?’ they may ask. Why yes – all are military personnel of course. However, there are some differences between being active duty and simply being in the army reserves. If the person reading this post is facing difficulty in deciding whether to go into active duty or reserve duty, the following information will hopefully make that decision a little easier so that person will have a clear understanding of any differences presented between active duty and reserve duty.

Active duty may seem self-explanatory; being “active” military and constantly away. However, there are many other aspects of active duty to be presented. For one, active duty is full-time military personnel. There are no ‘few hours here and there’ when it comes to active duty. This person is full time, all the time, and may live on a military base. In addition to this, an active duty military person may be deployed at any time. Active duty military personnel have roughly 200 jobs to choose from, as well as access to medical and dental benefits anytime. As stated above, active duty military personnel may be stationed in their general home area, but there is also a chance of being stationed on foreign soil. For these individuals on active duty, they will serve five days a week, and there is a two to six-year unit commitment as well. Physical training for those on active duty may be conducted three to four times a week. In addition to these benefits, active duty individuals may have unlimited post exchange and commissary privileges, as well as numerous benefits, loans, and other assistance for the soldiers as well as his or her family. In the end, active duty personnel may have a full retirement after twenty years of qualifying service.

To the person reading this post – still having a hard time to decide whether to go into active duty or simply the reserves? The information to follow will focus on the reserves and how they differ from active duty.

In terms of time, unlike active duty members, reserves members are considered “part time” army. Being part time means that these members do not have to serve five days a week. Instead, their service is required one weekend a month, as well as two contiguous weeks out of a year. If it is desired to stay at home, reserve members are stationed at home, only to travel to foreign soil when called to duty. Access to medical and dental benefits differ from that of active duty members as well. In fact, if one is a reserves member, then medical and dental benefits are only possible when on active duty. While on active duty there is a two to six-year unit commitment, on reserves duty, there is a ONE to six-year unit commitment. There are few educational benefits for reserve members, and there are only about 180 jobs to choose from for reserve members. While reserve members do have unlimited post exchange privileges like those of active duty, reserve members only have up to twenty-four commissary visits per year. As highlighted above, active duty members have physical training three to four times a week. Reserve members are a little different however. These individuals are responsible for their own physical training, though they are tested twice a year. In the end, however, after twenty years of qualifying service, reserve members may receive a modified retirement.

Still having a hard time to decide which route to go? While there are many differences between active duty and the reserves, there are some similarities to be considered as well.

To enlist in both the active duty and reserves, an individual must be between the ages of seventeen and thirty-five years old. After enlistment and other areas to be passed, individuals must serve a total of eight years in the military, whether active duty or reserves. In focusing on jobs, active duty and reserve members both are eligible to receive specialized job training. This job training is abbreviated AIT, which stands for Advanced Individual Training. AIT prepares individuals for their army jobs, and begins after completion of basic combat training. There are many schools that are AIT schools, which can be found by clicking here. 

In addition to specialized job training, both active duty and reserve personnel have unlimited access to all military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation – or MWR – facilities and programs. MWR is a network of support and leisure services designed to help enhance lives of soldiers, whether active or reserve or even guard duty, as well as their families, and military retirees and so on. This may include camping or RV sites, or lodging, and so on. A more in depth look about these facilities and programs can be found by clicking here.

There is a lot of information to consider when deciding between being active duty military personnel or reserve personnel. Hopefully, this post has provided a more in depth looked and helped to make that decision process just a little smoother. If the ‘click here’ links do not work, please feel free to copy and paste the following links below into your browser for more information.

Good luck.

Active Duty vs Reserve Duty

Active Duty vs Reserve Duty