26 July 2006

A Bleg

Update: Yeah, I moved it to the top. Really, please, any thoughts, please leave them. Looking for any advice I can get.

I have been getting quite a bit of correspondence lately. One, however, has been weighing on my mind, and I have decided to lay out my questions here, on the off-chance that someone might be able to give me some extra info, or at least point me in the right direction.

The letter I got was from Millington:

Yes, I got it over a month ago, but I have been mulling its ramifications for a while. A brief rundown follows, or, if you care to read the whole thing, the content of the letter is here: Page 1, Page 2.

So, basically, my obligation to the Navy is up. Finished. I can happily go my own way as a full-on civilian. The problem is, I am not sure I want to. Don’t get me wrong here, I have no plans on going back to a boat. As much as I am convinced that was the best job I have ever had, or will ever have, frankly, kids trump job. I had a somewhat absent father, and it sucked, so I decided, after coming back from my last deployment, that I would not do that to my kids. This decision was aided by the reactions of my boys to my return: PBS V2.1 (3 at the time) refused to talk to me for weeks, as he was mad that I had left him; and PBS V2.2 (1 at the time) would only cry or scream when I came near, as I had only been around for about 7 weeks of his first year – he didn’t recognize me.

Why then the conflict? Was it not yours truly who skipped happily off ustafish on his last day? (Well, no – my last day was in Souda Bay, Crete, and, well, the going away party the night before in Xania was apparently quite the party. I couldn’t tell you for sure, though – as I remember only the first 45 minutes or so). Why the turnaround?

The truth is, I *like* feeling that I could still contribute if I was needed. Being in the IRR suited me OK – if things really hit the fan, I was available, but otherwise, I got on with my life. Now, however, that is not really an option. I am currently Standby Reserve – Inactive (USNR-S2), but that is only a temporary thing. So I have to choose – do I join the no-kidding reserves, or do I finally bid the Naval Service a fond farewell?

Complicating matters is the fact that I miss it. There, I admitted it. I miss being in uniform, I miss feeling that I am actually doing something worthwhile, no matter how small. I miss being of use to something greater than myself, something that I value very much. So yeah, I am seriously considering giving that pesky Reserve recruiter a call (Heh, we parted terms on our last call on not the best terms. He admitted he had been an ELT before going officer. I couldn’t help it, I exclaimed, “You were a SMAG?!” The conversation pretty much ended there. Touchy touchy).

I haven’t yet, though. The reason is, there are a few complications that I would like to try and get a handle on before I open myself up to his pestering again. This is where the bleg comes in.

Question 1) I am currently working as a DoD civilian, a very nice deal, as my 7 years active duty count towards my civilian retirement. Which plays into my question: If I got reserves, how does the reserve retirement deal interact or interfere with my civilian retirement? I am assuming I cannot take credit for those 7 years for both my civilian and reserve retirements, yes? So do I start over from scratch? And if so, do I get to chose how those years get applied (I really do not want to loose my time in grade on the civilian side, it actually means more there)? Anyone ever served as a DoD civ and reservist at the same time who might have some insight?

Question 2) I understand that the DoD offers military leave to those civilians who also serve in the reserves, as a separate category from annual leave and sick leave. What I can not determine via the OPM websites is what exactly military leave entails. Do I continue to draw civilian pay while on mil leave, or is it basically leave without pay while I draw my military paycheck? (That would actually mean a pay cut for me, as I have gotten a few raises since I became a civ)

Question 3) This one is rather minor compared to the other two, but it is still non-trivial. How do I find out if I can get stationed at the base which I work on as a civ? I know, vaguely, that there are paid and non-paid billets, but, frankly, I know nothing about billets other than that. The Reserve recruiter at SEPS was rather vague about that, as he was doing his best to paint a happy picture.

So, there you have it. My dilemma boiled down to three questions. Any insight anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.


At 7/24/2006, Blogger Cookie..... said...

PBS...Sailors have restled with the question about going to sea since there were sailors with families....

Old addage...K.I.S.S....I'm sure y'all know what that is...but if'n ya don't...its Keep It Simple Stupid....furget all the last three questions and boil it down to do I want to satisfy my personal gratification by goin back (and that is a big part of it) or do I want to stick around and be a "hands-on" father to my kids and sacrifice my own personal wants and desires...

The fact that your even askin the last three queries tells me you've already made up yur mind t'go back...so if'n that yur decision...thats OK...but remember...ya gotta be able to live with it later....

The same applies to stickin around fer yur family...ya gotta be able to live with that decision...

I was Navy (Pig Boats as you know)...and I was the father of 4 rugrats (woulda been a frickin break to go back to Sea)...but I chose to be there for my kids in that my father wasn't there for me...it was tough, and challenging...and painful at times...but, for their sakes, it was the best move I could have ever made.....and I can only speak for me.

Sorry...didn't mean to say this much...so good luck on whatever decision you arrive at...just follow your heart....Cookie...

At 7/25/2006, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


Thanks for the thoughts.

You are right, I am seriously considering getting rid of the "inactive" part out of my status. However, a return to a boat is not what I am considering, the reason for which both you and I touched on - my kids.

So I am looking for a compromise, hence the possibility of the reserves. However, I am not sure exactly what kind of compromise that would be as of yet, hence the three questions.

So yes, if this were just about my personal gratification, I would never have left the sub track, and I would be a still be on boats. However, I would still like to hold on to part of that, hence the possibility of the Reserves. At least, I think that might be a way of keeping my foot in... we'll see, I suppose.

At 7/25/2006, Blogger Cookie..... said...

Sorry PBS...I guess I missed the gist of yur article...happens sometimes when I'm readin fast...(cain't blame it on my old age)....

What y'all stated in yur comment makes a whole passle a sense...in fact...good planning....

Best a luck to ya mate...hope ya get what yur a lookin fer...and that someone out there can answer yur queries.....

At 8/01/2006, Blogger basscheez said...

My $0.02:

You're not ready to let it go. I say that because your questions center on pay and benefits. If you were really ready to leave the Nav, you'd be talking about the parts of the job you hate (not deployments - everyone hates those). Do the active reserve thing and stay with your family. Everybody wins.

At 8/13/2006, Blogger loddfafnir said...

Here's what I have experienced as a fed, though not DoD.

Q1. I'm assuming you've bought back your time since you've mentioned being credited with it. If by chance you haven't and are only reaping the leave benefits of your active time then it really doesn't count towards your retirement until you do buy it back. As far as the interaction between the two retirements, you'll have to do some deeper digging as I am not retired from either but... based on this quote in context with the larger article from OPM, "The military retired pay need not be waived if it is based on disability involving certain
injuries incurred in wartime or if it is Chapter 67
(reservists') retired pay", it sounds like you can use it for both.

Q2. When you go on your two weeks of AT(Annual Training) or any other ADT(Active Duty for Training) you'll be compensated by the Government twice. Once for your mil pay and also for your DoD civilian job. You will essentialy be double dipping. You can accrue up to 15 days per year of military leave and carry over that amount from year to year and carry up to 30 days. There is also a provision for an additional 22 days if called up for a national or state call-up. One caveat though is you can't double dip for the additional 22 days, you get the higher of your mil or civ pay only.
I went IRR a few years ago and was completely discharged last year but I'm still carrying mil leave. You'll have to talk to your admin/HR types in order to get your mil leave going, you won't see it in your LES unless you're using it. You'll probably need proof of affiliation/orders etc.

Q3. I only had one choice since the Navy is such a small service up here in the great white north. You'll have to do some research on what reserve units are available in your area, especially if you're in an area with a high concentration of bases. Knowing what's available in the first place will better help you when you negotiate with the recruiter.

I hope some of this helps you in your decision.

At 8/20/2006, Blogger Chap said...

Hrm. Toughie, there. My $.01:

--Lots of squealing about individual augmentations. I volunteered, more than once, so of course I didn't go.

--I'm seeing more reserve guys on two year stints in an office than I used to. Apparently the agreement is mutual.

--Offutt might be your drill spot. We get 1120s from as far away as Wisconsin. It's also one of the rare places with extra paying O-5 billets.

--The paying billet thing--if you make O-5 you don't get paid automatically for drilling. You get credit, but have to be in a paid billet to get drill pay. This is hard in, say, Honolulu.

--Seems easier to get promoted to O-5 in Reserves compared to active.

--It's lots easier to get time off to drill as a GS than as a guy at K-Mart. One of the ladies in our office shows up in uniform every once in a while and goes to another shop--that's her active time. Another USAF reservist comes in rather regularly in a bag, then later that week in a polo shirt--he's a contractor type, doing the same thing as his reserve job, pretty much, and we save government $$ by having him do his active there.

--Tough choice but limited time offer. You can't do this in ten years.

--I know one guy who got out (woman trouble) before department head, spent a few years as a reservist, then came back in and is serving XO. Can be done, sometimes; used to be done all the time back when I was enlisted with people getting in and out fairly regularlike.

Good luck. With one rugrat I'm understanding that pull a lot more than I did with none...

At 9/13/2006, Anonymous butch bornt said...

1 - Does your civilian site have an associated Reserve unit?
2 - Even if the answer is yes, you might not be able to get a billet due to conflict of interest concerns.
3 - NR does not like USNR types anywhere near NNPI unless absofreakinglutey necessary.
4 - COMNAVRESFOR said there are two types of SELRES: those who have been mobilized and those who haven't yet. I volunteered for recall. There is a distinct possiblity you could be recalled to support GWOT.
5 - A nuke submariner buddy of mine said that occasionaly he missed the Navy; the monthly drill reminded him why he got out.
6 - Finding a pay billet when you make O5 is difficult. There is an annual selection board for O5 and above billets. "Congratulations! You've been promoted to CDR. Oh, BTW, you're fired."
7 - Are there any drilling Navy Reservists where you work?

At 9/13/2006, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...


1 - Not sure - Reservists drill here, but the unit itself is elsewhere I believe.
2 - Thankfully, my civvie job and the Reservists on base do not interact.
3 - Fine with me. I miss the Navy. I don't miss NR all that much.
4 - Yeah, I just worry about that, "In a year we boot you" caveat.
5 - Heh, well, I guess I'll find out if I'm the same way.
6 - Yeah, I've heard. I am willing to take that as one of those bridges I will cross when I get there. Still a ways off at this point.
7 - Yup, which is why I have been stewing about it so much lately.

And yeah, for those actually reading the comments, I am talking to the recruiter seriously. We will see...


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