Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Army Gray Area Retirees coming back?

The term Gray Area Retiree does not apply to the gray hair some Army Retirees may accumulate while in service. Although I certainly have a few as I’m often reminded by my kids ( I think they caused them). This term is used as Army Official lingo to describe the Army Reserve or Guard soldier that have transferred to the Retired Reserve after 20 Years of service but have not yet reached age 60.

Typically a Gray Area Retiree soldier in the Guard or Reserve will serve 20-30 years and complete the transfer from Active Reserve service to the Retired Reserve. Still subject to call up if needed, the former soldier is classified as a gray area retiree until he/she reaches age 60 when they are entitle to the same retirement benefits as those that retire from Active duty. For many Reserve soldiers this means that if you no longer participate in drills or remain in a drill status you file for transfer (when stop loss is not in effect) – typically you may range in age from 37- 60 years old.

Now that I’m one of those Gray Area Retirees, I’m a little struck with the disposal of so many former soldiers to absolute obscurity – Gray Area Retirees could be used to augment overworked Reserve Staffs to train, complete administrative tasks, provide audit or logistical functions, maintain training unit libraries, prepare unit training plans, assist planning and execution. I wonder if something more can be made of their talents.

Typical of this Blog I had a few ideas:
Gray Area Retirees cannot drill for points under current rules, a tremendous disincentive for offering any real effort to assist Guard or Reserve units. Offering Retirement points for a senior retired Reserve NCO or Officer costs the Army little money (one point equals 30-60 cents a month when the reservist starts receiving retirement pay at age 60).

Gray Area Retirees have skills honed over years of service – basic military skills like administration, logistics, training, etc can be completed by Gray Area Retirees replacing the need for in house unit allocation of resources which need to train.

Gray Area Retirees have a wide host of skills. Many have deployed, done many Annual Trainings and intimately know the workings in a Reserve unit.

Gray Area Retirees have access to military Facilities as a benefit thus enabling assistance that requires access to installation support agencies even during most heightened security periods.

Gray Area Retirees can be used to augment Family Readiness Groups during unit deployments. Remember many of them know the Army Bureaucracy and processes.

Training of non-deployable or entry level soldiers in basic skills, annual mandatory training, PMI, and other training could be provided by GAR teams to regions to relieve local commands from resourcing active reserve soldiers to the mission.

How would I implement?
Gray Area Retirees would request and be accepted formally to support a local unit

Only Retired Reserve or Guard soldiers would be considered.

Gray Area Retirees would not wear uniforms or rank – Civilian Clothes - Treated as Civilian Volunteers.

Gray Area Retirees would only be used for classroom and at the Reserve Center training, planning and administrative tasks. No field or hazardous training events.

Gray Area Retirees would serve without regard for rank – therefore a retired LTC / CSM could support a Company Command team doing what the Co Cdr required or requested.

Gray Area Retirees would serve at the convenience of the Reserve unit. The Reserve unit would verify hours of service and support provided using 1380 form.

Retirement points would accrue as done now for IRR soldiers. ARPERCEN would document and add to Retired Reservist account.

What does this give us? – a program that continues to harvest the volunteer spirit and years of experience for recently retired Reserve and Guard soldiers. It is low cost and would potentially provide extra hands to Reserve and Guard units from the most qualified individuals available in local communities. It provides a mutual event that keeps Gray Area Retirees in touch with Reserve and Guard units instead of obscure and detached former soldiers. Is it worth considering?


Noonie said...

I am also a gray area retiree after doing 22.6 years in the USAR. I'm just curious if you knew that many of us are not eligible for VA health care because we weren't deployed anywhere by order of the POTUS. Throughout my career I was told if I served 20+ years I'd have free health care but now I find out that is not true. Although I have base priviledges there's no base near me. Any thoughts?

Stan68ar said...

Yes I was aware - in fact even if deployed as I was you only recieve VA health care for 2 years foolwing deployment - then also withou even health insurance or minimum maintenance care - thanks for your comment

Anonymous said...

I too am a "gray retiree". Both as enlisted soldier and as an Officer I served my country in and out of the Regular Army, National Guard and both the Active and Inactive Reserves. I have a folder full of DD=214's with Honorable Discharges.

I just want to mention the fact that there is a group of Grey area "retirees" who will never have access to economic or healthcare benefits. Many of us are Vietnam era vets who are now at the age where we are under employed.

Anyone who discovers that you are retired automatically believes that you have a stable income and don't need a job. Many of us are in desperate need of retraining, technical certification and additional points to gain Federal jobs.

Privileges, such as access to the PX haircuts is not a privilege if you can’t afford it. The fact is that if the economy does not improve then there will be some "retirees" who can be found retired in tents.

I am not quite there yet but that is indeed the way that things now stand.

Please take a moment to recognize the vets who are in need during the Holiday Season.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Grey area....I too am a grey area guy... Listen, i know you were "told throughout your career about benefits" , But did you not ever research it?... If you took someones word about it for over 20 years its your mistake. Anyway, here is what i do know...if you were injured on active duty and can prove a service connection for your injury, the VA will (maybe not without question) take care of you. I also want to mention that Space A lodging for vacations, and space A flights are a great benefit! If you are a combat veteran, the VA has many programs for vocational rehab, as well as compensation for service connected injuries that were AGGRAVATED, NOT INCURRED while on active duty.. also. PLEASE....PLEASE ....PLEASE..... do some research, and find out what you are eligible for before you throw up your hands and give up...

Anonymous said...

As I understand us/we gray area retirees qualify for tricare when we qualify for retirement pay. We lose it when we qualify for medicare