I just received my Reserve Retired Identification card today. I was waxing poetic that after several years of transparency with Active Reserve Identification cards I am now branded again via my bright red Reserve Retired ID as a Reservist. A little history on Reserve versus Active Duty ID cards
In 1997 in a step toward achieving full integration of the active and reserve military components, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has announced that identification (ID) cards for all active component and Reserve active status U.S. military personnel will now be the same color green. This initiative, which was phased in over several years called for changing the color of the Reserve active status forces identification card (DD Form 2 (Reserve)) from red to green. Reserve active status forces include members of the Selected Reserve, the Individual Ready Reserve, and the active Standby Reserve. Only the color of the card held by these members of the Reserve components will change; there will be no associated changes to current service benefits, privileges and entitlements, unless a change in status occurs.
The change was in response to a pledge made by Cohen in a policy memorandum, calling on the civilian and military leadership of the Department of Defense to eliminate "all residual barriers structural and cultural" to effective integration of the Reserve and active components into a "seamless Total Force."
Among the many considerations taken into account by DoD officials when authorizing the change were medical benefits and commissary privileges, two primary areas in which active and Reserve personnel have different entitlements. An ID card alone does not automatically authorize access to medical benefits or commissary privileges, both of which will continue to require additional documentation to allow members of the Reserve components to receive them. Eligibility checks for medical benefits are now performed by electronic validation prior to each inpatient and outpatient visit to Military Health Services System facilities. Consequently, the system check, not the ID card, will continue to verify patient eligibility.
For many years, I had an ID card essentially the same as my Active duty brethren – and it only changed when I went on Active duty in a small degree. Since my return from Iraq the card is the same for Active and Reserve Soldiers. Now as a Reserve retiree – I am in receipt of a DD Form 2 (Res Ret) which is unchanged since 1993 – bright red and an obvious indicator that I am Army Reserve retired – so much for that cultural change to effective integration of the Reserve and active components into a "seamless Total Force”. Perhaps I am driven to be more critical now as the Guard and Reserve soldiers serve shoulder to shoulder with Active duty soldiers. None the less the vestiges of the early nineties prevalent Army attitudes towards Reserve service, sits right here in my wallet.