Friday, May 18, 2007

Chief of Naval Reserve Cotton: 9,000 reservists to fill IA billets in coming year; Expect spike in use of reservists if war cools

Above: An Individual Augmentee Training Course at the McCrady Training Center in South Carolina. Sometimes known as 'sand sailors', Individual Augmentees (IAs) are basically Navy personnel who either volunteer or are involuntarily transferred to work with the Army in combat duty. There are approximately 13,000 sailors serving in IA billets, split between active duty and reserve components. The majority of IAs serve in Iraq or Afghanistan. In order to accomplish the transition from sailor to soldier, they go through a shortened version of combat basic training and learn Army tactics and doctrines, and train on the various weapons they will use in theater as well as patrol techniques, land navigation, and urban assault.

A slowdown in Iraq combat operations could lead to a spike in the number of Navy reservists deployed there, the Navy’s top reservist said Tuesday, because reservists tend to fill individual augmentee billets assigned to reconstruction teams that would be called upon to help in recovering from combat operations.

Vice Adm. John G. Cotton, chief of the Navy Reserve, said that commanders in Iraq would likely use more Navy IAs in operational support roles if rebuilding efforts stepped up after an overall decrease in violence. Still, increases would be only be “incremental,” he said.

The Navy Reserve would need about 9,000 reservists to fill individual augmentee billets over the coming year. About 28,000 reservists have yet to deploy, Cotton said.

Read the rest at Navy Times

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