Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Reserve Soldier Certificate of Service
In what military establishment can you serve as a soldier for 20 years, required to be prepared for deployment and active duty and not be issued a record of your service at your departure? How about a list of your awards accrued after completing your 8 year contracted service? Answer – In the Army Reserve.
You see dear reader – if you do not have an extended active duty period in the Army Reserves you do not receive a DD Form 214 which is a Certificate of release or discharge from Active Duty. Seems logical – the form applies to active duty service. As a Reserve Soldier I received one after 22 Years Reserve service only because I was mobilized…but what if I had not had the active duty… what then? Well the answer is not good…I could not produce a document that detailed my years of Reserve service, my awards, badges, specialty information, grade or character of service. In fact the awards and Reserve service after my last active duty tour, including a subsequent short active duty assignment are not documented in a single source certificate from the Army Reserve.
I’m not alone – every year thousands of Reserve soldiers finish their Reserve commitment and do not receive any certificate or official document that provides the information contained on the Active Duty release document. Soldiers retire after 20 years and cannot provide an accepted document that details the Reserve Career they held. A soldier serving a typical 8 year commitment to the Army Reserve today will receive a DD214 after Basic training and no other document for their service… 7 years of service is not certified, registered, noted except in a personnel file in a file cabinet somewhere. Reserve soldiers cannot provide veteran’s organizations, employers or family a certificate that lists their service both active and reserve that is completed at the end of their tour.
It is about time that we consider a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Reserve Duty for Reserve soldier service. A single certificate that acknowledges a soldier’s achievement over the course of their service. The existing DD214 format would be a great start. The worth of the acknowledgement that the Reserve soldier has a document that provides evidence of their service is significant… especially to that retired soldier …required to be always ready… that didn’t have the opportunity to deploy late in their career to get such a document.