Navy Reserve FAQ
Navy and other service veterans often ask about the benefits and advantages of returning to the service on a part‑time basis in the Navy Reserve or joining initially. This segment covers both Enlisted and Officer Programs.
Civilians who have never been in the service ask, "What the Navy Reserve is all about?"
The questions most often asked of Navy Reserve recruiters are answered here as simply as possible. However, they are directed mainly to the returning veteran, though we are also seeking people with no prior military service.
The answers reveal how coming back into or initially joining the Naval Reserve can help assure a better future for the reservist, his or her family, and our country.
What Is the Navy Reserve?
The Navy Reserve is a force of highly trained men and women available to meet the expanded needs of the regular Navy.
Together, the Navy and the Navy Reserve employ specialists in many skills, working together for national security and to support the nation's interests around the world.
How Much Time Does the Navy Reserve Require?
A Navy Reservist usually attends training sessions with a Reserve unit one weekend a month. Once a year reservists go on annual training (AT) for about two weeks at either a shore location, with an aviation squadron, or aboard ship.
What Is the Length of Commitment In the Navy Reserve?
If enlisting in a permanent pay grade, enlistment is for two, three, four, five, six or eight years. If enlisting in a temporary pay grade, the length is for three, four, five, six or eight years. A Navy Reserve contract can be extended by 12‑month periods, not to exceed 48 months.
Length of enlistment applies to veterans of the Navy and all other services. For officers, the minimum obligation is eight years, with the first three years performing weekend drills and the latter five years in inactive status, unless you desire to continue the weekend duty. Once your term is completed, you can either continue, or receive an Honorable Discharge. For officers, the initial obligation is 8 years, though one can transfer to the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) after two years.
What Are the Obligations While in the Naval Reserve?
Reservists must attend at least 90 percent of assigned training sessions and at least 12 days of AT each year (waivable for medical).
What Is the Starting Pay?
Pay and allowances are determined by the same pay scale used by active duty Navy personnel (pro-rated).
Reservists earn four days of base pay for attending training sessions one weekend a month. They also receive full pay and allowances for meals and housing during the two weeks of AT each year.
How Frequent Are Pay Raises And Advancement Opportunities?
Reservists receive all general military increases in pay, which is based on rank/rate and time in service. Advancement opportunities in the Navy Reserve are similar to those in the active duty Navy, which typically occur every Jan 1.
Advancement depends on the needs of the Navy and the reservist's ability and time in grade plus a passing mark on the advancement test. No tests for officers. Officers are promoted, based on time in grade and merit. Training courses are available to help enlisted reservists get ahead faster.
Can Veterans Re-enlist With Their Old Paygrades?
Yes. Qualified Navy veterans who have been out of the service four years or less can re-enlist in the same pay grade held at the time of discharge. Those out of the Navy more than four years, but less than 10, may be temporarily advanced to the pay grade held at the time of discharge. Officer advancement is different and is not explained in this forum.
Navy veterans authorized to enlist with temporary advancement must complete all personnel advancement requirements (PARs) for the temporary rate to qualify for permanent advancement to the former pay grade.
Can Other Service Veterans join the Naval Reserve?
Yes. Selected qualified veterans from other services, if enlisting within four years of discharge, can join the Navy Reserve in the same pay grade as when discharged. If they join within four to six years, they will enter one pay grade less than when discharged; within six to eight years, two pay grades less than when discharged. Same applies for officers.
Can Reservists Change Their Rating?
Yes. A request for change of rating will be considered if the new rating is on the current Navy open ratings list. Completion of required correspondence courses for the new rating and successful completion of a Navy wide examination are required to change a rating.
Reservists may also request a direct conversion to another rating without an examination, if they're qualified for that rating. For officers, some may request a change of designator if their education and work experience pertain to the field for which they are applying.
Are Advanced Training And Schooling Available?
Yes. If a reservist qualifies for training in a critical Navy rating, he or she should apply for a course at the proper specialized Navy technical training school. Advanced technical training schools are available to help reservists improve their chances for promotion and develop their full potential.
Reservists who take advantage of attending specialized Navy technical schools can move up quickly by preparing themselves for a meaningful job and a secure future in the high-tech world of tomorrow.
Are Programs Available Leading To a Navy Reserve Commission?
Enlisted reservists can apply for the Reserve Limited Duty Officer Program or, if qualified, apply for a direct commission. It's best to have a rating that directly pertains to the designator for which they are applying.
What Happens if a Change in Civilian Employment Requires Relocation?
The Navy Reserve is one of the few part-time jobs available almost anywhere. Navy Reserve training activities are located throughout the United States and overseas. When relocating to another area, reservists are allowed up to 30 days to contact a reserve unit in the new area (including Asia and Europe).
The 30 days is a grace period during which the reservist does not have to drill. The missed drill, however, must be made up at a later date.
Where Do Navy Reservists Train?
Training sessions are usually held at the nearest Navy Reserve Center or Naval Air Reserve activity. Two-day weekend training can also be performed aboard ships or at central training sites. The two weeks of AT may take place aboard ships, with Navy air squadrons or at Navy shore activities in the United States or overseas.
Do Civilian Employers Support the Navy Reserve?
Yes. They realize their Naval Reserve employee is learning the most up-to-date, high-tech methods that will help him or her develop skills to become a more effective worker and leader in the civilian work force. The National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve is an organization dedicated to fostering a solid working relationship between employers and the Reserve components of the military.
Are Veterans Issued New Uniforms When joining the Naval Reserve?
A partial uniform clothing issue is given to reservists who have been discharged more than 90 days or if they're enlisted in an advanced pay grade.
Additional uniform clothing will be issued when reservists' AT assignments last more than 30 days, if reservists are recalled to active duty or during mobilization.
Are Uniform Allowances Given?
Yes, under certain conditions. Uniform allowance payments for E‑7s (Chief Petty Officers) and above are automatic and are included in the monthly paycheck for those in a drill pay status.
For reservists below E-7, certain items of clothing issued will be replaced at government expense if they are turned in item‑for‑item at the time of replacement.
Officers are required to pay for their uniforms, though they are given an initial clothing allowance of $300. All military-related activities and purchases are tax deductible.
Do Qualified Reservists Get Paid "With Dependents" Status?
Yes, but only for AT. The pay and allowances during those 12-14 days are accumulated at the same rate as received by active duty Navy personnel with dependents.
What Shopping Privileges Do Reservists and Their Families Receive?
Reservists and their families are entitled to the UNLIMITED use of military exchanges and commissary stores throughout the United States.
Are Reservists Subject to Recall?
Yes. Navy Reservists stand ready to mobilize for our country's defense whenever needed. Circumstances under which mobilization may occur are spelled out by Federal law. A Navy Reserve recruiter will have details. For non-prior service members, they are not subject to Recall until they have completed 84 days of duty, based on combined drill weekends and Annual Training periods (roughly 2.5 years).
Can Reservists Deduct Reserve Duty Costs from Their Income Tax?
The Internal Revenue Service allows reservists to make certain deductions from Federal income taxes for Navy Reserve training, including non-funded travel and lodging expenses. Find out about these deductions from any Internal Revenue Service office.
Are Reservists Eligible for Retirement Pay?
Reservists may retire after 20 years of satisfactory service (50 points per year). This is based on a combination of active duty time, attendance at training periods and completion of correspondence courses. Mandatory retirement age is 60 (sometimes waivable to age 67 for Physicians).
However, reservists do not start receiving retirement pay until age 60. The amount received at age 60 depends on the base pay of the reservist's pay grade, and total active and inactive Reserve time.
What Are Retired Reservists Entitled To?
When reservists start to collect retired pay at age 60, they and their dependents retain many benefits. They may use base facilities including service clubs, armed services exchanges and commissaries, and recreation facilities when access is not limited.
They may also be entitled to available medical care, like their retired active duty counterparts. However, this is subject to limitations of space and facilities.
Can Retired Reservists Use Military Air Transportation?
Yes. Retired reservists and eligible dependents (when accompanied by the retiree) may use military air transportation to travel when space on flights is available. Rules and regulations change often, so check with the nearest military air terminal for up to‑date information.
What Happens if a Reservist Dies Before Age 60?
An optional Survivors' Benefit Plan provides an annuity to eligible beneficiaries of reservists who have qualified for retired pay.
Can Reservists Receive Service Members' Group Life Insurance?
Yes. Reservists may continue SGLI while affiliated with a Naval Reserve unit. Upon release from the unit, reservists may elect to continue coverage for five years at no increased premium with Veterans Group Life Insurance. Life insurance is coverage is currently $400,000 and coverage is 24/7, whether you are on Reserve Duty or not. Call me with questions.
The Navy Reserve offers many benefits including:
• extra monthly income (Bonuses available for critically short specialties)
• a retirement program (after 20 qualifying years of Reserve service)
• the opportunity to learn new skills and sharpen existing ones;
• Reserve Montgomery GI Bill (educational assistance, currently at $350/mo for full time students);
• military department store (exchange) and grocery store (commissary) privileges
-overseas travel opportunities, if in conjunction with military duty;
-free travel on military aircraft, within the United States (based on Space Available)
- management and leadership training; health care for injury or illness sustained during active duty and training periods; Limited Dental coverage; Department of Veterans Affairs Home Loan Guarantee program (available to reservists with at least six years of honorable service).
-For Physicians, Dentists, and Nurses, CME/CEU courses are frequently paid for by the Naval Reserve. Furthermore attending this paid course can also count towards weekend duty, for which you are being paid!
-Flex drill options available for medical personnel, in the event the weekend schedule is not possible. Incredible flexibility. Call for details.