Army Expands Chances For Soldiers To Take 3-Year Breaks From Service

news
Georgia Army National Guard Soldiers conduct a sunrise run during annual training at Fort Stewart, Ga., Jan. 11, 2017.
U.S. Army photo by Capt. William Carraway

More soldiers may be eligible to take up to three years off from the Army as the service expands its Career Intermission Pilot Program, according to a new Army Times report.


The Army program, launched in 2014, was originally limited to just 20 enlisted soldiers and 20 commissioned officers and warrant officers, but the service has removed that cap. Soldiers are now eligible for the pilot program even if “they haven’t completed their initial active-duty obligation, enlistment period or service obligation for a retention bonus,” notes Army Times.

All participants in the program are temporarily placed on inactive ready reserve status while they “pursue personal or professional growth,” the service says; that’s mil-speak for going to school, starting a family, or hitting the private sector and adding new skills to your toolbox before returning to the military fold.

Participants are required to return to active duty, reserve, or Guard service at the end of their sabbatical, which can last up to 36 months. But for each month off, beneficiaries must serve two months in uniform. Once a soldier returns to duty, they’ll be able to receive special pay and incentives, which are put on hold while they’re in IRR status.

Related: Officer Under Fire: ‘I’m Not A Toxic Leader, I’m An Ass Who Expects You To Do Your Job’ »

Congress authorized the program in 2009 as an incentive to retain troops. However, many soldiers have shied away due concerns over how a break from active duty will impact their careers, according to Army Times. Just 14 soldiers have actually used the program since the Army launched it in 2014 — three officers and 11 enlisted soldiers.

For those who do take the option, it seems like a pretty sweet deal, if you can swing it: Take a break from the uniform without having to close the door on your military career.

WATCH NEXT:

Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.

In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.

Read More Show Less

KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.

The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.

Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.

The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.

In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air National Guard/Staff Sgt. Michelle Y. Alvarez-Rea

Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.

The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.

Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."

Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.

Read More Show Less
Todd Rosenberg/AP

A West Point graduate received a waiver from the U.S. Army to sign with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday, and play in the NFL while serving as an active-duty soldier.

The waiver for 2nd Lt. Brett Toth was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said that Toth signed a three-year deal with the Eagles. Toth graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 2018.

Read More Show Less