Inactive Marines Called Back to Active Duty - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

08/23/06

Inactive Marines Called Back to Active Duty

Thousands of inactive Marines could be headed back to Iraq. It's an attempt by the Marine Corps to combat a shortage of volunteers. The initial recall is for 2,500 Marines, but there could be even more in the future.

The servicemen and -women called back will have just five months' notice before they are sent to Iraq or Afghanistan for a 12- to 18-month tour. 

"This is how we fight our nation's war," said Brig. Gen. Michael Barbero with the US Army. "What I understand this announcement to be is this gives the Marines the ability to involuntary activate individuals from this Individual Ready Reserve and this is why it is designed. The Marines plan on using this to fill specific gaps or requirements as we fight this global war on terror."

The call-up affects Marines who still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligation. For instance, if a soldier signs up for four years active duty, he or she will usually have an additional fours years during which they can be called back after they leave active duty.

US Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA Dist. 1) said he doesn't have a problem with recall, but hopes soldiers aren't taken by surprise when they get the call. 

"We want to make sure our generals are looking down the roads and around the corner to make sure this sort of thing isn't surprising anyone," said Congressman Kingston.

"When every young American raises their right hand and volunteers to serve in the armed forces, they understand they have a period of active commitment and reserve commitment," said Gen. Barbero.

The corps needs to fill 1,200 positions immediately, including combat arms, military police, communications and intelligence specialists, as well as engineers.

As for how this is going to affect people in the Coastal Empire and Low Country, it's too early to tell.  Marines who have been out for less than a year won't be called back and Marines with recent or multiple combat tours will be called last.

Reported by: Christy Hutchings, chutchings@wtoc.com

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