One issue, that many Troop Program Units (TPU) face, is the non-participating soldier. These are soldiers, who are supposed to drill, who aren’t drilling. This list tends to grow until it negatively impacts the unit’s overall readiness and numbers.
While absent, these soldiers’ medical statuses go amber, then red. They end up overdue for the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT). These soldiers show delinquency on Structured Self-Development (SSD) and other administrative requirements.
Many of these soldiers think that they are in the IRR. More soldiers join their ranks who also think that they’re in the IRR. Their numbers collectively increase and work against the unit. Now, the Commanding Officer, the Command Sergeant Major (CSM), The First Sergeant (1SG), Retention NCO and unit staff feel “fire” on their necks from higher echelons.
What’s being done to address non-participating soldier caused administrative “carpet bombings”?
This has reached the point to where there is a growing push to purge these soldiers. Although the regulations has an IRR transfer as an option, the fate that awaits these soldiers is worse. These soldiers are looking at automatic reductions to E1 and an “Other Than Honorable” (OT H) discharge.
The above medical, educational, and physical fitness statuses do not get updated. Soldiers requiring status updates think that they are in the IRR. Unfortunately, for many of them, they are still TPU.
This is an issue impacting multiple units across the Army Reserve. More importantly, the non-participating soldiers don’t realize that their lack of participation is turning into something negative that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
The biggest issue is misconception surrounding transfers from the TPU to another status.
Many units tell their IRR packet soldiers that they do not have to drill. The packet gets lost, or isn’t processed due to missing documents. The soldier’s TPU requirement is moved from his/her 6 year mark to the end of his/her Military Service Obligation.
Consequently, the soldiers remain on a unit’s book. As their numbers increase, so do the required administrative tasks for the unit. These problems accumulate as more and more soldiers end up in “limbo” as a result of their IRR packets getting lost.
One obvious solution, to avoid this, is to require transferring soldiers to continue drilling until they receive transfer orders.
So, if a soldier is expecting to transfer to the IRR, the soldier should continue to drill after the IRR packet is submitted. This gives the soldier an incentive to continue following up with the UA to ensure that the packet is created and forwarded.
Also, soldiers waiting approval for their IRR packet are still required to attend mass medical events. They’re still responsible to the unit for their own medical, dental, Structured Self Development (SSD), etc. statuses. If a soldier continues to drill, until receipt of their orders, many of those statuses would be updated.
Soldiers should call medical readiness to get their LHI statuses updated.
One of the biggest benefits for the soldier, that continues to drill, is that he/she accumulates drill pay for drills attended. The soldier also receives retirement points for these drills. This means less correspondence courses needed for the current retirement year.
While in the IRR, the soldier is still responsible for achieving a minimum of 50 retirement points each retirement year.
The requirement to drill until orders are received applies to other types of transfers.
If a soldier is submitting a retirement packet, that soldier should continue to drill until his/her retirement orders are posted. The date on the retirement orders will tell the Soldier when his/her retirement is effective.
If a soldier is submitting a packet to transfer to the Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA), that soldier is still required to drill. The soldier continues to drill until the date indicated on the IMA orders as the soldier’s being in the IMA.
Transferring to another location?
If you’re on a TPU contract, the requirement for you to drill still exists even after a move. The unit is supposed to send you a letter authorizing you 90 days to find a local unit to drill with. After those 90 days, you’re required to drill.
Ideally, you should be drilling before those 90 days are over. Without this letter, you’ll need to find a unit to drill with immediately.
Soldiers moving to another area of the country need to “drill” with one of the units at their destination. They should do this until orders officially transfer them to the destination unit.
Prepare a DA 1380 to document the drill that you did with the other unit. Submit this DA 1380 to the unit administrator for the unit that you are transferring from. They need this form to process your pay.
If there are no Army Reserve units within the destination area, or within reasonable driving distance, then a transfer to the IRR might be a solution.
1. Continue drilling until you receive your IRR orders. This is applicable for other types of transfers from the TPU, like transfer to the retired reserve. You’re still a TPU soldier until the date indicated on those orders.
2. Call the Unit Administrator that’s working on your transfer packet at least once a week. A call where you leave a message isn’t sufficient. You have to talk to this Unit Administrator to see if you need to do anything to complete your packet. After your packet is submitted, use these calls to track your packet’s status.
3. If you get wind that you are moving to another part of the country, speak to the career counselors that service your reserve center. They can talk to their counterparts stationed near the area that you are moving to. This can help expedite your transfer process.
4. As long as you are on a TPU contract, you’re still expected to drill every month and to do some annual training. This is applicable even if you transfer to a new area.
5. If your paycheck shows payments for SGLI, you will accumulate a debt to the government for your SGLI premium for the months that you don’t drill. This will continue to accumulate while you are in a TPU status. Continuing to drill, until your orders come in, helps ensure you don’t have to pay this back in the future.
6. Check your medical readiness status. As of this post, the status is available on AKO.