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Old 02-19-2020, 03:11 AM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Living Out of State While In the Reserve or National Guard

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Do reservists have to apply for permission to live and work out of state from their duty station, as National Guardsmen must do?

Specifically, for a member of the USMC Reserve, but I expect I'll need to make a ruling on this for numerous reservists of US Air Force, Army, Navy and possibly even USCG.
I've found an answer for this.

The Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) / a.k.a. United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) doesn't care what state you are in. Reservists are expected to live within 150 miles from their duty stations, but you can sign a waiver if you live further away.

I'm not sure what the effects of signing this waiver are, but for the unit I was specifically checking (3rd FORECON), at least, they just accepted the waiver without any comment. That was for a reservist who was currently living in New York City and flies in monthly to Mobile, AL. Note that if he had not been a Recon Marine (MOS 0321), there would have been many other closer duty stations for him and getting the waiver approved might not have been as easy.

In any case, that's good news for my NPCs, as they can more easily continue to serve as whatever high-speed, low-drag Oorah type of Marine (and by analogy, hopefully other branches) they were on active duty, even if no Reserve duty stations with that kind of mission are near their civilian jobs, as long as they are willing to travel the distance monthly.
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:15 PM   #12
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Default Aspiring Monster Hunter Seeking Military Training in Louisiana 1998-2002

There is an NPC in my campaign, Jacques Dupont (b. January 9, 1980; Pretoria, South Africa) who grew up as the child of an anthropologist and archaeologist who were both among the early researchers in Kessler's network investigating the occult.

Jacques' father, Marcel Xavier Dupont, moreover, had been a soldier for a brief period in his life and was actually working with a security company (more precisely, as a mercenary) for Kessler when an experience with the supernatural drove him to study anthropology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Even while Marcel Dupont was pursuing graduate studies, he continued drawing a paycheck for being an officer of a security company (albeit mostly on paper, the company being a cover).

From the time Jacques was seven, both parents have been aware that the supernatural exists and have studied it full time. From the time Jacques was ten, both of his parents have been leading researchers and adventurers involved with the occult. He probably doesn't remember a time when it was not simply accepted as a fact of life within his household that there was a hidden world of occult truth out there and only by knowledge, training and preparation could anyone be kept safe.

His parents expected him to become an academic in a field applicable to study of the occult. They accept that in this new world, being able to take care of themselves is something for which everyone needs to prepare, so Jacques spent a lot of vacations in odd summer camps where grizzled 'uncles' taught him survival, basic self-defence, weapon handling and tactics. Nevertheless, even though his father Marcel remained technically the CEO of a small security company in the Caribbean, neither parent expected Jacques to be more interested in fighting monsters than researching the paranormal.

At age 18, Jacques had decided that he'd pursue a career track more similar to his many 'uncles', hard-bitten men who were mostly veterans of one military or another, now employed as security contractors and, unofficially, as security against monsters and even occasionally, hunters of dangerous supernatural predators.

Jacques didn't run away from home and join the Foreign Legion, however (although one of his 'uncles' had, in fact, done just that), as he was convinced that studying the occult was a very good way to learn to defend against it. In fact, while delaying the moment where he'd have to disappoint his parents played a role in his decision, Jacques was still convinced that getting a degree in anthropology at his father's alma mater was a worthwhile preparation for becoming a Monster Hunter.

However, Jacques is also aware that while his 'uncles' can teach him a lot of stuff, they all learned their trade in actual militaries, with the kind of infrastructure, equipment and training facilities that no private organization, no matter how well funded, can really match. So, Jacques wants to get some free training from Uncle Sam, to add to what his other 'uncles' have taught him, while he is an undergraduate.

So, I imagine that Jacques joined either the National Guard or the Reserve Component of one of the branches of the US Armed Forces.

What branch of service should he join?

I know that a college student has joined 3rd FORECON as a Marine reservist and gone through Recon training in the USMC as an undergraduate.

Are there other options within commuting distance of New Orleans? Some US Army Reserve units that would allow him the chance at good training?

What about the National Guard? Does the 20th SFG accept direct entry civilians wanting to go through SFQC as National Guardsmen?

What else is possible?

In what unit and duty station could Jacques Dupont serve in or near New Orleans where he'd be able to get the best training opportunities to be the highest point value Monster Hunter possible, while still being able to attend school?

It's okay if the academic courseload combined with the training is very hard, almost too hard for any normal person, as Jacques is an exceptionally intelligent, athletic, motivated, resourceful and strong-willed person. Given a different background and motivation, he could have been an Olympic athlete, astronaut or a self-made tycoon.

And, if it matters, Jacques is a naturalized citizen who moved to the US at the age of seven with his parents.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:20 PM   #13
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Default Combat-Arms Enlisted / Reserve While College / Then Special Forces Officer?

There is another NPC in my campaign, Dao Van Hien, second-generation Vietnamese-American born in Houston. Hien has appeared 'on screen' briefly, as the brother of Dr. Dao Van Sang, the medical expert onboard the Penemue and well known to all the PCs, as well as Hien being cousin, nephew, son and grandson to other NPCs friendly to various PCs.

Hien was introduced as an active duty officer of the United States Army home on leave. One PC was aware that Hien had been a Special Forces officer and probably still was, though his reticence about his current unit suggested CAG/Delta or some similar SMU under JSOC. They also knew that Hien had served as an enlisted man before being commissioned.

Now, Hien is, in 2018, older than 31 and younger than 36, going by the age of his various siblings and how old he looks. Which is physically and mentally mature, but near enough the height of his capabilities for there to be no noticable decline. Despite his relative youth, the PCs heard that Hien was seperating from active duty soon and the rumour was because he had a job waiting for him as a 'Night Rider' (Monster Hunter) team leader, working for J.R. Kessler, the PCs' Patron.

Indeed, a lot of the shooters employed by Kessler see military service as fairly hazardous training, necessary to learn their craft, but ultimately unfulfilling. The true war isn't against terrorists, rogue states or other mundane threats, because the hidden threat of the supernatural kills more people, and more Americans, than any terrorist organization ever could. And unlike Iran or North Korea, a cataclysmic irruption of a hostile, hellish world into this one could actually end human civilization within the next month or year and the threat of that happening is something of which Kessler's senior analysts are realistically afraid.

And because most governments, the US included, either don't know about or won't accept the existence of paranormal phenomena, let alone the true threat of supernatural predators and unfathomable Entities from Beyond, the prevailing sentiment among those who serve as shooters on the 'Night Rider' teams is that whether you are a patriot, globalist, humanist, activist, believer or doubter, the best service you can render your country and the world is by working for the only people who truly Get It.*

In any case, Dao Van Nien grew up knowing about the supernatural and when he got older, he learned that friends of his family were involved in investigating the occult and protecting people from evil. Seeing as his godfather was a billionaire, Nien could have gone to any college he wanted and had his pick of high-paying jobs in the oil and gas sector or indeed almost anywhere his awesomely well-connected godfather knew people.

Instead, Nien resolved to become a 'Night Rider'. He knew he wanted to develop leadership and planning skills, to eventually command men, but given the covert, paramilitary nature of the work, he felt he needed a special skill set. So, Nien wanted to go through training as an enlisted special operator, before becoming an officer in charge of an operational detachment of special operators.

Nien knew he would need a college degree to become an officer, and, in any case, he wanted to get a good education. Not only because he felt that analytical ability, strategic vision, principles of management and an academic approach to problem solving would be important to him, but also because he wanted to study the occult, folklore and a variety of subjects that might enable him to better understand the threat of the supernatural.

Nien had a trust fund available for college, but as a matter of pride, he'd prefer scholarship won on merit** or a military program where he could use ROTC, Reserve enlistment, National Guard or the Montgomery GI Bill from prior enlisted service to pay for college.

Now, how should Nien go about his goals of becoming the baddest special operator he can while earning a degree from a good school and then eventually becoming an officer of the United States Army Special Forces?

What is the most challenging and useful (for Monster Hunters) enlisted MOS Nien can volunteer into directly after high school?

How many years on active duty does he need to do before he can switch over to Reserve duty while taking a college degree?

What's a good school for him to attend and what kind of Reserve service could he perform alongside his studies?

That is, what are good, military-friendly universities that are located within commuting distance of a Reserve drilling station that offers scope for high-speed, low-drag assignments, special schools and the kind of commando skills you need for Monster Hunting?

For that matter, I know about the two National Guard Special Forces Groups, but are there Special Forces reservists? If not, what would be Nien's best approximation while he's in college, so he can get in as much mental and physical development as he can, as fast as possible?***

Nien would probably prefer a college in the Houston area or the New Orleans area if possible, or at least within a few hours from these locations, if only so he can fill any occasional snippets of theoretical free time with visits to serving 'Night Riders'. However, almost any Gulf Coast and/or Southern university could work.

I haven't established Nien's exact date of birth yet, so the dates of when he enlisted, when he went to university and when he was commissioned can be determined backwards from what best fits those facts that the PCs have. That is, that at the end of the year 2018, Nien was an experienced Captain (O-3) in the US Army Special Forces community and had reached a point where he'd be expected fairly soon to either commit to a career with a promotion to Major or seperate from active duty. So, he was commissioned 2008 or later, most plausibly around 2010-2012.

Do any of these time frames look wrong?

1983: Born.
2000: Enlisted on DEP.
2001-2004: Enlisted soldier of the 7th Special Forces Group.
2005-2011: University and enlisted National Guardsman of 20th SFG.
2005-2006: Deployment to Iraq as part of 1/20th SFG.
2008-2009: Deployment to Afghanistan as part of 1/20th SFG.
2010-2011: Deployment to Afghanistan as part of 1/20th SFG.
2011: OCS.
2012: Commissioned 2LT.
2012: Commissioned 1LT (where would the US Army send a 1LT who was a former SOF NCO with 3-4 combat deployments?)
2013: Commissioned CPT, assigned to 7th SFG as ODA leader.
2016: Assigned to CAG/Delta Force as team leader.

*Of course, Kessler's 'Night Riders' are not the only group of vigilantes, private or public, that exist in the world. They are not even the largest, the most powerful, the best informed or the most effective. Nevertheless, almost to a man, every single 'Night Rider' believes that their teams are the only thing standing between humanity and the apocalypse. Good social engineering, charismatic leadership and excellent esprit de corps will do that for you.
**As an adult, Nien will be ST 12; DX 14; IQ 13; HT 14; Basic Speed 8.00; Per 14; Will 14; Born Tactician 3 and Very Fit; among other things. He could probably get a number of academic or sport scholarships if he pursues them, but would, of course, prefer to focus on preparing for his 'Night Rider' career and so is more likely to choose an option that will have the military pay his tuition after his enlisted service and/or because he is serving as a reservist or National Guardsman while an undergraduate.
***Nien really believes that the world might end within his lifetime unless his godfather stops it. And he's very, very driven to dedicate his life to helping prevent that apocalypse. This doesn't lead to a very healthy work-life balance.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:53 AM   #14
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Default High-Speed, Low-Drag MOS or Ratings as Reservists or National Guard

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5) What are some cool, adventurer-friendly National Guard or Reserve Units for characters to belong to and what are military jobs that suit high-point value adventurers that are usually the province of part-time Reserve or National Guard personnel?
Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Aside from the two Special Forces Groups (19th SFG and 20th SFG) of the National Guard and the various Recon units under Marine Forces Reserve (4th Reconaissance Battalion, 3rd FORECON and 4th FORECON), what kind of high-speed, low-drag ratings or MOS are available to reservists or National Guardsmen?

What kind of duty stations or units allow a character to pursue a civilian career or education while still having the best chance at the kind of training, schools and special courses that develop and maintain the kind of skills that make up a high point-value commando / covert operator / Monster Hunter in GURPS?
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Old 02-21-2020, 07:26 PM   #15
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Default Re: High-Speed, Low-Drag MOS or Ratings as Reservists or National Guard

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Does anyone have thoughts on this?

(SNIP)

What kind of duty stations or units allow a character to pursue a civilian career or education while still having the best chance at the kind of training, schools and special courses that develop and maintain the kind of skills that make up a high point-value commando / covert operator / Monster Hunter in GURPS?
Army National Guard and Air National Guard units are supposed to have limited responsibilities, so that means they have pretty limited experience, too.

The normal responsibilities of "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" may change to seven weeks of drill, per year (that'll be expensive...), but that's still a part-time job.

I mean, they're called "weekend warriors" for a reason; most of their operational deployments occur in response to natural disasters, not warfare.

Getting "called up" for overseas deployment to a combat zone is not supposed to happen, very often, and is pretty stressful to families, when it does.

Now then, that said, if you'd like some insight into some of the things individual units are doing, check out the National Guard's official Web site.
https://www.nationalguard.mil/

I think you'll see that most "extra" responsibilities get scattered around, pretty evenly, and a lot of what individual soldiers do is up to them, and not so much the unit. The unit likes to have motivated troopers, and will gladly help any guard get any training for which he or she qualifies, but most unit commanders are pretty clear that most troops have higher priorities than their guard service.

It's a means to an end for most people, and usually involves a way to pay for college for serving, without getting shot at.

Note that I'm not at all critical of that motivation. That's the deal the guard offers, and most people join up for exactly that reason, or because they want to wind down a military career and ease their adjustment to civilian life.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: High-Speed, Low-Drag MOS or Ratings as Reservists or National Guard

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Army National Guard and Air National Guard units are supposed to have limited responsibilities, so that means they have pretty limited experience, too.
I get that, but it seems that there are a few Reserve and National Guard units that provide support for special operations or are even special operations capable themselves.

I'm not even mostly concerned about experience here, in that I expect that those NPCs that require operational military experience will pick that up during stints of active duty.

I'm more considering their periods of Reserve or National Guard service as time when they could have attended training schools or courses that teach specific military skills. Air Assault School, Airborne School, Army Mountain Warfare School, Aviation School, Jumpmaster School, Pathfinder School, Ranger School, Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leaders Course, the Sapper Leader course, Sniper School, SOTIC or the Scout Sniper Course, various Combatives courses, all kinds of urban warfare / MOUT training and a wide variety of other specialized skills training, courses or schools.

From what I can tell, Reserve or National Guard units with missions that require specialized military skills do receive some slots on many training courses and reservists or National Guardsmen who prioritize volunteering and attending any and all training they can possibly get can actually get more skill tabs on their uniform that some members of active duty units, where deployment rotations get in the way of being able to attend many courses in the US.

I'm looking for suggestions for good units to do that kind of thing in, for characters who are seeking the specialized skills that the military teaches, but also want to get a civilian education. To an extent, military training and civilian higher education will be competing for the same limited time and energy from the character, but I'm specifically considering this for PCs and NPCs who'd be viable as 'Night Riders', i.e. Monster Hunters in a pretty unforgiving and harsh world. If they aren't highly disciplined, motivated and capable, they aren't among those considered.

And as anyone that wants to be something else than a victim around dangerous supernatural threats in my campaign needs a minimum of Will 13+, I expect that mostly, the people who do the same job as the PCs will be people who've spent their lives doing stuff that regular folks see as way too hard.

So, which part-time units provide access to the maximum amount of valuable training? I know about the Special Forces under the Army National Guard and the Recon Marines under the Marine Forces Recon, but I don't know what other equivalent high-speed, low-drag units with only a part-time commitment might exist within the Reserve Components or the National Guard of the US Armed Forces.

There are numerous Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units that are special operations forces and have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan for duties more or less the same as regular special operations wings or squadrons. I also think that there are numerous billets for SAR, para-rescue jumpers and similar jobs in the Air Force Reserve, and that seems like it would offer very valuable training and experience.

I still haven't done enough research on the Navy and USCG Reserve, but I expect that as in the Air Force, a lot of rescue and SAR positions are filled through reservists. As the PCs will have support on some missions in the form of sailors and fliers who can pick up wounded or rescue them from an untenable situation, those are valuable skill sets for some of my NPCs, many of whom will no doubt have learned their trade on active duty, but then continued to maintain and develop their skills as reservists.

Looking up specific units for Air Force/Army/Navy/USCG Reserve and/or Air/Army National Guard that would provide valuable skill sets for adventurers is time-consuming, because I don't find any centralized webpage listing them under that category. GURPS players who know about nearby bases and units, may have friends or family in the service and/or have considered doing something like this themselves might know offhand, however. So, I'm asking for help. Also, I find that my own research becomes much more fun when I'm doing it as part of a conversation with forumites.

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The normal responsibilities of "one weekend a month and two weeks a year" may change to seven weeks of drill, per year (that'll be expensive...), but that's still a part-time job.
The Marine Forces Reserve unit 3rd FORECON in Mobile, Alabama are attractive to many of my NPCs who'll commute from elsewhere on the Gulf Coast because they drill bimonthly for four days at a time. They also accept waivers for those who live more than 150 miles away, because there simply aren't that many drilling stations for reservists with the 0321 MOS.

If someone who is separating from active duty wants to continue his service as part of Marine Forces Reserve and is already qualified as a Recon Marine, the USMC seems to want them in one of the three Reserve units with a Recon designation, pretty much no matter where they live in the continental USA.

And even if someone doesn't have the 0321 MOS when they indicate interest in serving with a reserve Recon unit, but volunteers for and passes BRC, what evidence I can find suggests that it is possible to be accepted into 3rd FORECON while living half a continent away and fly in every two months for drills. Living 200 miles or so away seems entirely plausible, especially for a valued Recon Marine with 4-6 years on active duty before they switched to Reserve service while attending college.

So, this is one unit that seems tailor made for some of my NPCs, but not all of my NPCs will be Marines. What are good equivalents for other types of military service, i.e. reserve or National Guard units that are accepting of people who live 200+ miles away and provide excellent opportunities for valuable training that will be useful to Monster Hunters or their support people?

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I mean, they're called "weekend warriors" for a reason; most of their operational deployments occur in response to natural disasters, not warfare.
For the National Guard, I think that's accurate. Of course, for some of the things that people who support the PCs will be asked to do, experience of disaster relief and search and rescue will be more useful than combat deployments.

Note, however, that an absolutely huge part of vital jobs in the US Armed Forces are filled through reservists and National Guardsmen, especially reservists. For some MOS-es, it's way more than half of them, which means that important parts of the military would shut down if they weren't constantly calling up reservists for stints of active duty.

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Getting "called up" for overseas deployment to a combat zone is not supposed to happen, very often, and is pretty stressful to families, when it does.
Sure, but the years between 2002-2011, in particular those between 2004-2009, saw National Guard or Reserve units deployed to combat zones, some many, many times. The deployment tempo for individuals or units with critical skill sets over there was such that civilian lives and family life was profoundly disrupted.

Examples include reservist or National Guard SOF, military personnel with certain language or intelligence specialties and military police. Reserve and National Guard MP units were deployed so often to Iraq that many who were theoretically serving as reservists had three or more combat tours. Reserve or National Guard SOF and Recon Marines might have even more deployments in that time period, as, for example, 3rd FORECON seems to have deployed some elements yearly or even several detachment some years, and it's not a very large unit.

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
I think you'll see that most "extra" responsibilities get scattered around, pretty evenly, and a lot of what individual soldiers do is up to them, and not so much the unit. The unit likes to have motivated troopers, and will gladly help any guard get any training for which he or she qualifies, but most unit commanders are pretty clear that most troops have higher priorities than their guard service.
Very good. I'm particularly looking for what kind of MOS and unit might be most suitable for such motivated Guardsmen or reservists, who want to use all their free time to add military skills (i.e. every moment they can spare without giving up their chance at an education, which they also regard as adding critical Monster Hunting skills*).

*Studying anthropology, comparative religion, linguistics, history and a range of other fields can easily be crucial for Monster Hunters.
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Old 02-22-2020, 04:50 AM   #17
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Default Re: High-Speed, Low-Drag MOS or Ratings as Reservists or National Guard

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It's a means to an end for most people, and usually involves a way to pay for college for serving, without getting shot at.

Note that I'm not at all critical of that motivation. That's the deal the guard offers, and most people join up for exactly that reason, or because they want to wind down a military career and ease their adjustment to civilian life.
There must be some minority of reservist and National Guardsmen who are quite or even very willing to accept the risk of being shot at, but go the part-time route instead of active duty because they want to get a college degree from a university where they have to be physically present some or all of the time.*

Say, enlisted members of the military who enjoy everything about military life, but want to attend a specific university in order to qualify for a commission as a military officer. Or law enforcement officers who may belong to tactical SWAT units at home, enjoy any and all tactical training that their Reserve or National Guard service offers and do not mind a short deployment or two, but are unwilling to go on active duty as a career, because they do not want to give up their law enforcement careers.

And, in my campaign, of course, there are those who want to develop skill sets hard to learn outside the military, in order to use these skills to protect their country and people everywhere, even if that makes them criminal vigilantes because the authorities do not accept the existence of supernatural threats.

*It's possible to get a degree while serving on active duty and I can find multiple examples of motivated, intelligent soldiers doing so and then going OCS, but not all universities or degree programs offer distance learning courses, accept military educational credits or otherwise make it practical for serving military members to graduate while serving.
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Old 02-22-2020, 08:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: US Military Reserve and National Guard Characters

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My step father was in the National Guard and he lived about 40 min from his base. I'd say an hour or two and your good, more might be unusual
"Unusual" is a statistical question, I suppose. But a friend of mine served in the Guard (ANG) for many years, living about 2.5 hours drive from the base -- which was in a different state. There was no problem with that arrangement. Another friend was in the NG (Army), living about 3.5 hours from his base (same state).

There are notification and response time requirements which I don't recall offhand, but if memory serves it's 24 hours notice before you have to report (even for events that aren't scheduled -- those are well in advance). So whatever commute you can stand is probably acceptable. Individual unit commanders might have their own opinions, of course.

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Old 02-22-2020, 10:08 AM   #19
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Default Re: US Military Reserve and National Guard Characters

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"Unusual" is a statistical question, I suppose. But a friend of mine served in the Guard (ANG) for many years, living about 2.5 hours drive from the base -- which was in a different state. There was no problem with that arrangement. Another friend was in the NG (Army), living about 3.5 hours from his base (same state).

There are notification and response time requirements which I don't recall offhand, but if memory serves it's 24 hours notice before you have to report (even for events that aren't scheduled -- those are well in advance). So whatever commute you can stand is probably acceptable. Individual unit commanders might have their own opinions, of course.
Ah, that sounds excellent for the purposes of my NPCs, who want to live in the Houston-area, New Orleans or in any of a few Florida locations (Gainesville, Fort Lauderdale, the Keys, etc.) while serving in some National Guard or Reserve unit that gives opportunies for as much valuable training as possible.
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Old 02-23-2020, 02:03 AM   #20
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Default 3rd FORECON Leadership and Billets Available

Bit of a specific question. The 3rd Force Reconaissance Company is an independent Force Recon Company that falls under the Marine Forces Reserve.

Despite being only a Company, it is commanded by a Lietenant-Colonel Thomas J. Waller .

The staff of this company--sized reserve unit also includes, at minimum, an Executive Officer and Operating Officer (because LTC Waller's bio confirms that he served in both at different times), which, in turn, suggest the existence of billets that may accompany Operations; i.e. if they've got an S3, how many of S1-9 billets do they have in a company-sized unit? Intelligence?

And if the CO is an O-5, does that make the XO an O-4 and several other staff billets O-3?

What about the Platoon Commanders? If their boss is an O-5 commanding an independent Force Recon Company, what are the chances that Platoon Commander is an O-3 billet, analogous to how Captains in other SOF command small units (e.g. ODA)?

I don't know how these things work in a Reserve unit, albeit a Force Recon one. Also, with the establishment of MARSOC, the organization and roles for the Recon community in the Corps has reportedly gone through changes. If the 3rd FORECON is anything like Force Recon Companies before the start of The War Against Terror, there will be 3-6 recon platoons, headquarters and possibly a support platoon. In the late 90s, officers in Force Recon were mostly O-3, with the unit commander O-5 and a couple of O-2s on HQ staff duties. Platoon command was an O-3 billet.

To what extent is the 3rd FORECON similar to the previous Force Recon Companies of the regular USMC?

Basically, roughly how many O-3 and over billets are there in 3rd FORECON?

And how many E-6 and above?
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