If you are reading this ahead of your commissioning, I would first like to congratulate you on your accomplishments. It is not an easy endeavor making it through all of the hurdles that precede becoming a Marine Corps Officer. If you are not yet at that point, the information I am going to give will still be helpful in helping you prepare for the many week, or possibly months, of IRR time to come.
“The Marine Corps IRR is a segment of the Marine Corps Ready Reserve, which includes Selective Marine Corps Reserve (SMC) unit, Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA), Active Reserve (AR), and Inactive Duty for Training (IDT) Marines.”
What does this mean for you?
If you are not going directly to The Basic School after commissioning then you are going into the Marine IRR. Marines who commission from the NROTC program are most likely to be put in the IRR. Officer Candidate Course graduates generally go straight to The Basic School and don’t have to worry about this phase. I am not to sure about Naval Academy Graduates (please comment if you know). Prior enlisted Marines are given the highest priority for The Basic School because they remain on Active Duty after commissioning.
How long will I be twiddling my thumbs?
Honestly, it may be weeks, months, or over a year before you get out of IRR status. I commissioned in June of 2013 and am not scheduled to check-in to The Basic School until July of 2014. The Marine Corps will better balance itself over time and the wait will be reduced in the coming years. The Marine Corps is constantly changing and you can never be sure what is going to come.
Individual Ready Reserve vs. Active Reserve
There are quite a few differences between the IRR and AR. For one, you can expect a nice paycheck of $0 every two weeks while in the IRR. Secondly, while in the Individual Ready Reserve you will not have to report for any type of duty to include: physical training, academic training, etc. There is a chance that you could be called for an Administrative Muster, but I don’t expect you will ever see this.
Understand Your Health Care Benefits
I will not go into this too much, since I have written another post about this here. To summarize, you will get full medical coverage, but don’t expect to get your eyes checked or wisdom teeth pulled while in the IRR. There is no dental or vision coverage for IRR Marines.
Becoming an IRR Marine after commissioning is not the most exciting position to be in. The important thing to remember is that you are a Marine Corps Officer and the time will come for you to lead Marines. Stay confident and don’t be discouraged.
For more details regarding the Individual Ready Reserve see the Marine Corps Website