FORT WORTH, Texas --
“It’s about the faithfulness,” said Sgt. Maj. Anthony A. Spadaro, the sergeant major of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North, while talking to Marines attending their annual muster.
Spadaro spoke to 711 Individual Ready Reserve Marines who attended the IRR mega-muster at the Fort Worth/Dallas Marriott Hotel and Golf Club, Jan. 11, 2014.
After Marines complete their active-duty contract, if they choose not to join the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, they transition into the IRR, which they will be a member of for the remainder of their contract. For example, most Marines serve four years active-duty and four years in the IRR. Most Reserve Marines serve six years in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve and two years in the IRR. Marines can re-enlist in the IRR and have the opportunity to do Reserve Counterpart Training where they can work up to 28 days in their Military Occupational Specialty. Marines in the IRR must remain ready for duty and are required to attend annual mega-musters. IRR Marines can still do Marine Corps Institute classes, get promoted and even retire from the IRR.
The Marine Corps sponsors one IRR muster a month in locations across the country. The locations vary based on the population density and the length of time since a muster has occurred in the area. Marines who live within a certain number of miles of the location are required to attend but that comes with a bonus; they also receive $210 for attending.
Title X of the United States Code requires the Marine Corps to conduct annual musters to ensure the mental and physical well-being of the Marines as well as update contact information in case of a recall.
Attending Marines got the opportunity to update personal information that may have changed including marital status, number of children, place of residence and more.
On top of updating their information, Marines also learned about all the opportunities and benefits available to them through various organizations.
During a brief the Marines were updated on their reserve opportunities and obligations; heard presentations from the 45 attending muster partners; and received information concerning eligible benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among the muster partners was the University of Texas to provide education opportunities, multiple police departments to discuss career opportunities and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to talk about the relationship between civilian employers and the IRR Marines.
Marines earned these benefits through their service, said Col. James Fox, the director of the Marine Corps Individual Reserve Support Activity, Marine Forces Reserve. They deserve to know they can take advantage of everything available.
“This event provides another opportunity for these Marines to interact with each other,” said Fox. “The number one best thing about these musters is getting to tell the Marines that the Marine Corps still cares about them.”
“I’m reminded of what being a Marine is and the good brotherhood that comes with being a part of this element of life,” said Christopher Hill, an IRR Marine at the muster.
He said he was shocked when he received his orders to attend. He familiarized himself with what the muster would be about and realized it was nothing to be afraid of.
“There are lots of networking opportunities and everyone here is available to give you a tip of advice,” said Hill.
Marines should take two things from here, said Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the commander of MARFORRES and Marine Forces North. First, they are still Marines and always will be. Second, they need to stay in touch in a time of need so we can make use of their varied skills.
“This event reawakens the connections and reminds the Marines of their importance,” said Mills.
Of the 1,133 orders sent, 82 percent of the Marines made contact either by showing up or making a phone call prior to the event. MCIRSA’s goal of 60 percent attendance was exceeded with a turnout of 63 percent.
By exceeding their goal, MCIRSA succeeded in keeping their Marines ready and relevant.
“The unique value of a mega-muster is the Marine Corps openly demonstrates to the Marines, their families and the community how important they are,” said Spadaro.