Navy personnel, both officer and enlisted, who are part of the Selected Reserve are required to maintain the skills and training of their rate. They also provide support to the fleet. One way to do both is to perform their annual training. Reservists are usually attached to a detachment, a smaller unit of a larger command. For instance, a Navy ship may have 20 units scattered across the country. Reservists are expected to support their parent command on annual training.
Selected Reservists are obligated to do four four-hour drills per month, along with 12 days of continuous annual training per fiscal year. The period normally starts on a Monday morning and ends on Friday afternoon. Additional paid days may be given if transportation to a distant location is required. The Navy fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30 so a reservist may do two ATs in one calendar year, but in separate fiscal years. A waiver may be requested if the reservist is unable to perform AT for that year.
During the AT, reservists earn full pay according to their pay grade and time in service. Out-of-pocket travel expenses are reimbursed to a point. If they have dependents, reservists will receive an extra allotment, and if they pay for their own meals they will have an allowance for that, too. They are not considered to be on active duty and other benefits are limited for their dependents. The reservists also earn a point for each day of active training, which goes towards increasing retirement pay if they stay in the service long enough.
AT With Detachment
A reservist may go with his detachment as a command exercise. Anywhere from several sailors to several dozen from the detachment will all go at the same time to the same place. This builds detachment cohesion and allows the parent command to train multiple individuals at once, while getting to know the sailors. Because the parent command is the one the reservist would normally go to if he is called up for active duty, spending time there on AT is considered optimum duty.
Often, reservists have opportunities to serve on AT on an individual basis, and away from their parent command. A planned exercise may be short on people and ask for volunteers to come aboard to ensure proper manning. Some commands, such as the commander, Naval Forces (both Pacific and Atlantic) and the Pentagon are always asking for volunteers to spend several weeks there. This gives reservists an opportunity to participate outside the normal training and broadens their experience.
Employers are obligated by federal law to provide non-vacation time off for reserve duty. They may not fire an employee for participating, and when the reservists come back from AT, their job cannot be lost. The employer does not have to pay the reservist any salary while on AT, but many companies do pay the difference between the reserve income and what the member would have earned on the job.
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