Imagine, or recall, being a 32-year-old Active Duty Captain. Your initial commitment to the Army is complete. You served 10 years in the Army leading Platoons, serving as the XO, and eventually leading a Company. You deployed once, or once too many times. You realize you want to spend more time with your family, or you want to start a family.
You chat with your old college friends who didn’t join the service, or they perhaps joined the National Guard or Reserve. They just completed their Graduate Degrees, and they tell you of how their six-figure salary careers are advancing. You fall asleep at night wondering what a better quality of life would be like if you had a civilian job and a Graduate Degree.
Other career options attract you away from the Army. You compare those options to spending the next few years in Staff roles or with leadership you’ve grown frustrated with.
Perhaps you were passed over by the Board, and you believe that a promotion to Major will have to wait another year…or two.
The decision to stay on Active Duty or exit the service weighs heavily on your mind.
All too often, these are some of the things I hear from current and former Active Duty Captains in my role as a Strength Management Officer for 4-414th SROTC.
One such individual was Cpt. Brandon Morse who had chosen to leave Active Duty after eight year of service.
“When I left Active Duty, the wait time to get a Company Command as a Field Artillery Officer would be another year or two for me. Command is a requisite for promotion to Major. I felt this was actually a good time to take a break from service and earn my Masters Degree, and spend more time with my family,” he explained.
Together, the 4-413th and 4-414th SROTC have approximately 140 Major positions open to Captains if they have Command time and/or their Captain Career Course completed. With zero Lieutenants on the Unit Manning Report (UMR), there is no steady stream of First Lieutenants waiting for promotion to take one these positions.
The same scenario is true for the approximate 140 E7-8 positions. There are no E1-6’s to grow and develop Soldiers internally for those E7-8 positions.
However, 4-413th and 4-414th SROTC Battalions do not struggle to fill their UMR. Why? Relationships with two resources have proven invaluable in helping these Battalions fill vacant positions: Army Reserve Career Division (ARCD) and Reserve Component Career Counselors (RCCC’s).
The ARCD can connect soldiers on IRR with vacancies in units. They will actively contact IRR soldiers and alert them to vacant positions in the Reserve. Units can also provide better descriptions of the position to ARCD staff to help attract those IRR soldiers to the unit.
“I wasn’t ready to hang up my uniform just yet.” said Capt. Morse. “Sgt. 1st Class Christina Ison from ARCD informed me of the 4-414th SROTC, and it was a perfect fit for me and the ROTC program at Kansas State University. It fits perfectly with my civilian career as a teacher and as a graduate student.”
RCCC’s offices are at most Active Duty posts. RCCC’s work as ambassadors for the Army to transition high-quality Active Duty Soldiers to the Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve.
Together, we grow the strength of the Army Reserve by adding Soldiers who would instead stay in the IRR or exit the service all together.
4-413th and 4-414th SROTC have positions in every state and most large cities, making it easy for ARCD and RCCC’s to guide senior Non-Commissioned Officers, Captains and Majors to these nation-wide units.
In fact, 4-414th SROTC increased its strength over 20% (28 soldiers) in the last 6 months utilizing these resources. By maintaining regular contact and communication with ARCD staff and RCCC’s, Strength Managers keep the unit strength full and keep Soldiers in uniform longer, especially Soldiers exiting Active Duty, and Soldiers on IRR.