Thursday, May 31, 2007

Navy to decrease deployment time for Individual Augmentees by 3 months

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 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.

Responding to requests from sailors doing nontraditional work in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the Navy has announced the first in a series of improvements to its Individual Augmentee program that officials say will continue through the summer.

Among the changes announced Wednesday in a fleetwide administrative message is an expansion of the areas considered eligible for the benefits...

Changes include shortened periods for IA deployments, to be considered “forward-deployed naval forces tours,” from 365 days to 270 days.

Officers and enlisted sailors who are forward-deployed for at least 270 days can pick which U.S. coast they serve on after completing their tour, and/or can be given priority when selecting follow-on duty assignments and locations, Rear Adm. Edward “Sonny” Masso, head of Navy Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn., told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday.

Another change in IA benefits is a lifting of the ban on taking advancement exams in theater that was put in place by Adm. Michael Mullen, chief of naval operations.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes

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

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Navy Individual Augmentee combat training to expand to nearly 3 weeks

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CNO Mullen: Navy has no plans to increase Individual Augmentee levels