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Marine Reservists Involuntarily Recalled
Associated Press  |  March 27, 2007
WASHINGTON - The Marine Corps is recalling 1,800 reservists to active duty, citing a shortage of volunteers to fill some jobs in Iraq.

Members of the branch's Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) will get letters this week notifying them of plans to mobilize them involuntarily for a year, said Lt. Col. Jeff Riehl of Marine manpower and reserve affairs.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates last week approved the action, under which reservists would report for duty in October and deploy to Iraq early next year, Riehl said.

From the 1,800 called, officials hope to get 1,200 Marines for aviation maintenance, logistics support, combat arms and several other skills needed for the early 2008 rotation into Iraq.

The ready reserves are service members who have left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligations. Generally, Marines enlist for four years, then serve another four either in the regular Reserves, where they are paid and train periodically, or in the IRR, in which they do not drill but can be involuntarily recalled.

President Bush last July authorized the recall from the Marine IRR of up to 2,500 at one time. Like the Army, the Marines have had to call considerably larger numbers of people to get the number they want, because some don't pass muster and others ask for deferments, delays or exemptions due to family issues, medical reasons and other issues.

This is the second call-up under Bush's order. The Marines in December called 150 in search of 100 people with infantry, logistics, communications and other skills, though they only ended up with 69. They are deploying in July.

There are about 60,000 Marines in the IRR, but the Corps has decided to exempt from call-up those who are either in their first year or last year of reserve status. As a result, the pool of available Marines is about 25,000, said Maj. Steven O'Connor, a Marine Corps spokesman.

Riehl said a plan to increase the Marine Corps' overall size could eventually help erase future shortfalls.

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