JULY 11, 2018, Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti – The Navy Reserve is a convenient way for some Sailors to serve on a part-time basis. The one-weekend-per-month, two-weeks-per-year schedule allows Sailors leaving active duty to continue their service and, possibly, reach retirement.
Occasionally, circumstances change and a return to active duty is an increasingly attractive option for those who seek the opportunity.
Logistics Specialists 1st Class Jason Judson, originally from Norfolk, and a Navy Reservists, said he is interested in going back to active duty to finish his Navy career.
“It’s always been one of my goals; to retire from the Navy after 20 years of service,” said Judson. “While I’m close to retiring from the Navy Reserve side, I’d much prefer to retire from active duty.”
Judson left active duty as part of the Perform to Serve Program back in 2012.
Reservists interested in returning to active duty have an opportunity to do so through a program called Navy Enlisted Reserve Component (RC) to Active Component (AC) Augmentation program.
The RC to AC program is used to fill active duty community needs. The program, according to MILPERSMAN 1326-021, the instruction governing RC to AC, is also used to leverage existing skill sets that exist in the reserves to help improve and maintain the health of an active duty community.
A strictly voluntary program, RC to AC must be initiated through an advertisement drafted by the appropriate enlisted community manager.
Judson said he was familiar with the program and its requirements prior to applying.
“The program is something I’ve followed on and off for the past six years,” Judson said. “I was waiting for my year group to open up.”
A year group is the fiscal year in which an adjusted active duty service date (ADSD) falls. Sailors can work with their command career counselor to calculate their adjusted ADSD and year group.
Sailors interested in applying to the RC to AC program must meet some basic criteria such as physical, medical, rating needs, high year tenure and year group.
Navy Counselor 1st Class James McLaughlin, one of the command career counselors at Camp Lemonnier, said that he is currently working with three mobilized Sailors who have applied for the RC to AC program and that there is a requirement which limits when these individuals may apply.
“Because [these] Sailors are mobilized, I cannot submit their packages until they are 90 days from re-deployment,” McLaughlin said. “I submit a copy of their deployment orders so that the enlisted community manager can see that they are redeploying at a certain date.”
If selected, Sailors must work with their active community detailers to find an appropriate billet. The detailer will contact the Sailor to negotiate assignment possibilities.
There are some other considerations when applying for the RC to AC program. Sailors will be subject to active advancement quotas as well as their sea-shore flow policy.
McLaughlin said that the Navy is looking to fill sea-going rates like boatswain mates and operational specialists in the active community through the RC to AC program.
“If a Sailor really wants to go active, they can look at one of these [sea-going] rates,” McLaughlin said. “The Navy is trying to get the manning where they need it.”
Additionally, AC members are not eligible for reenlistment bonuses upon augmentation.
Individuals who may have been discharged for high year tenure and have made rank in the reserves may consider RC to AC as a way to continue their active Navy career.
McLaughlin said the program has been popular here at Camp Lemonnier.
“We have a tremendous success rate here,” McLaughlin said. “Out of the 20 or so people who applied, 14 were selected.”
Judson has applied for an active duty assignment in his current rate of logistics specialist and expects that he will receive an answer by July 20, 2018. Although he may reapply if not selected, he is hoping to be successful at his bid to return to active duty and retire.
“I’m nervous,” Judson said. “It’s that one opportunity to win or lose, so I’m taking my chances on this one and hope to be accepted.”
Camp Lemonnier is one of Navy Region Europe, Africa, Southwest Asia, installations that conducts six lines of operations to support air operations, port operations, safety, security, quality of life, and what is called the core: the fuels, water and power that keep the bases operating.
Camp Lemonnier’s mission includes enabling joint warfighters operating forward and to reinforce the U.S. – Djibouti relationship by providing exceptional services and facilities for the tenant commands, transient U.S. assets and service members.
Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Rullo
Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti