They can be easily spotted around campus with their matching camouflage outfits complete with hats. These men and women are part of the Army Reserve and the reason they are on campus is simple, they want to tell students about the benefits of joining.
This is not the Army, but the Reserve and there is a difference. One of the main differences is that the Reserves are more like a part-time commitment, whereas the Army is a full time commitment. What this means is that, “It’s only one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer. And that one weekend a month is one Saturday and one Sunday,” Staff Sergeant Joemer Canlas explains.
The Army Reserves provide several benefits to its recruits that can be beneficial to Community College students. Many Community College students lack money and the time to make it. What the Reserves offer is a chance for students to make the money they need to live, help to pay for their education while also giving them experience that they can use later on.
“In the Reserves, you go back home. You go to college full time, and you only work for the Army one weekend a month. Which will not hinder or effect your studies.”
With this type of plan, it would mean that students can attend classes and still be enlisted without having to worry too much about not having the time to study or be available for classes.
“We are active duty,” So even with only having to be in a part time commitment there is the fact that a Reservist is on call. Meaning that there still needs to be a balance of time between the Reserves and classes. The service options for the Reserves range from three to six years and depend on the service jobs that are chosen. This can leave adequate time for a person to attend college and receive their degree.
Another positive that can come from joining the Reserves as a student is that they can help out with finances.
“It will actually help you more. It can help you financially.” Staff Sergeant Canlas said, “You will not be affected by it, and you can still apply for financial aid but this is what the Army offers. It pays for your tuition, it gives you a monthly allowance, that’s your GI bill, and you also get paid for your one weekend a month. You can also have an option to have medical care.”
A few examples of what the benefits can be in numbers is that there is a $20,000 possible enlistment bonus, and $50,000 Student Loan Repayment available if qualified.
When joining the Reserves, it does not just help for the present but it will also help down the road.
“It will give you leadership skills, and also it will give you discipline as well.”
“We have such a wide variety of careers too. We have the medical field, the intelligence field, that can help you out in the law enforcement if you decide to do that.”
There is a chance to gain knowledge about a specific job within the Army that can be in the field that was of interest. A few of the careers that are available in the greater Bay Area are Paralegal Specialist, Military Police, Communication and Information Systems, Army Band, Medical and Mechanical Maintenance.
Not to mention that the training that is received while enlisted can be transferred into college credits.
“The most important thing is that everything that you do for the Army Reserve in training-wise is transferable to college credits. So even if you join the Reserve and go to AIT and you become a 68 Whiskey, for example, it’s not wasting your college time because once you go back you can transfer all those trainings to college credits.”
But before any of this can be possible there are some qualifications that need to be met along with testing that must be taken before being enlisted into the Reserves.
“To be prequalified, (you must) take the aptitude test, the psychical test and you have to be qualified morally. If you pass all that, you are qualified to process and then you will go to your basic training. Once you go to basic training you go into the job.”
Some of the other qualifications are as follows: must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, 17-34 years old, good legal standing and high school graduate.
It all comes down to deciding what is best for you. There are the good and the bad of joining the Reserves. But if you are considering joining, take a second to talk to one of the Reservists the next time you see them on campus or stop by their recruiting center in Livermore.