RailVet wrote:Anyone considering joining any reserve component unit would do well to get an honest assessment from someone already in the unit who isn't trying to get you to enlist. Problems abound regarding pay, personnel record errors and gaps, obtaining worthwhile training, promotions, etc. It can be so chaotic and backward that you'd think the reserve was just organized last week. Reserve units don't have big staffs like active duty bases, so if you're not getting paid, your records are incomplete, etc., the problems may persist indefinitely, especially if you don't have a lot of rank. Remember, those who work full time at the unit work for the commander, not you. Their next promotion and next assignment lie with taking care of him, not you. If you call up the unit to get assistance with a problem, you'll be told to go through your chain of command, and following an admonishment for not using the chain, you'll go to your chain and encounter those who were promoted to positions of responsibility but don't care to address your problems, don't know what to do about them, and aren't in a position to do anything about them except pass them on up to the next person, until eventually they get back to the same person you called initially - if it ever gets that far at all. This sort of thing is a regular fact of life in reserve component units. After getting jerked around like this for a few years, they'll actually have the gall to expect you to reenlist for more of the same.Railvet, I am sorry you evidently had a bad time with your assignment. I left my company command in '94 (albight that was a dozen years ago) when they demobilized our Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion. My company command was located outside of Atlantic City while my Battalion HQ was up in Caven Point, Jersey City, so we operated fairly independently of Battalion.
Something else to consider is that future plans call for mobilizing units on a regular basis every four or five years and keeping those units active and deployed for a year. Is that going to aid or hinder your standing with your civilian job and your spouse? Will either still be there when you return? Think about it ahead of time, not when it's too late.
Regarding the last USAR rail battalion (757th), the unit once had its own GP10 for rail training, but a prior commander, a former infantryman, decided his unit would train as infantry, something with which he was familiar and felt comfortable. The geep was left where it could be attacked by vandals, and for a good year and a half it was. It was finally recovered but was so badly damaged that it was considered for scrapping. At last report, it had departed the unit for rebuilding as a Green Goat and it is unlikely this locomotive or any other will be put in the unit's hands. Consider this as a good example of how much rail time you'd get as a reservist.
My advice: stay out of any reserve component unit unless you're a glutton for punishment.
All units are very unique because each is made up of many people (of various capabilities) working together. And their success and efficiency is based on the capabilities of that team from the Commander down tot he lowest E-1. The main function of the command staff was 1. Mission and 2. Personnel. Obviously it is critical to accomplish the given missions whith the available equipment. But since the Reserves are always understrength and under equipped, the People are the major resource, a major focus goes into taking care of those people. As a Commander, I, and my staff (including full timers, part timers, and civilians), spent a lot of effort to insure that any Pay and Records issues were taken care as fast as possible. Pay Resolution took the highest priority followed by "How to Get Them Promoted". Everybody understands that a happy soldier will continue on. Promotion in the Reserves is contingent upon an available slot at the new rank as well as availablity of school slots to send the soldier to.
Anyone who has run an organization knows that you are not going to make everyone happy so they aren't going to try. They do focus on the most capable and motivated personnel to "fast track" them as best as possible and recognize that some just refuse to "get with the program". The old motto still stands "Be All That You Can Be" but you have to want to "Be" something useful.