This month I hit four years as a Reservist – a week ago, officially. As an interesting mathematical exercise, I thought I would quantify how much of that four years was actually spent in uniform in a paid status.
The Navy makes it easy via the Annual Retirement Point Record (ARPR), which is literally counting the days until you retire. It is arranged in years starting from the day you enlisted or were commissioned, which in my case is the middle of June. I omitted a few additional drills where I was essentially teleworking, and only counted the days where I actually put on a uniform and reported someplace.
I honestly don’t know if my numbers are representative of the typical Reserve officer or not, but for what it’s worth, here they are:
For the first few months of 2013, between leaving active duty and my 2013 anniversary date, I drilled on nine separate days.
Between June 2013 and June 2014, I drilled 24 days and had 26 days of Annual Training, or AT (split between two different fiscal years).
The following year, in 2014 and 2015 I drilled 24 days and did 20 days of AT and Additional Duty for Training (ADT).
That led into the Big Year, where I performed 11 days of drill, 35 days of ADT, and 251 days mobilized with the Active Component.
And that brings us to this year, where since last June I finished another 86 days of mobilization, and then did eight days of drill and nine days of ADT.
What’s that all add up to?
Days of drill: 76
Days on AT or ADT: 90
Days mobilized: 337
Total days of service: 503
Four years adds up 1,461 days (365 times 4, plus 1 for the leap year), so right off the bat it’s clear that for more than a third of my time as a civilian – 34.4 percent, to be precise – I’ve actually been in uniform, usually away from home.
That may not help you understand what Reservists and National Guardsmen do, but that might help you appreciate the scale.