Individual Ready Reserve (IRR)

Resisting Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) recall

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Courage to Resist. Updated May 4, 2010 [Updated PDF leaflet] [FAQ]

“If you get recalled my best advice is to follow your heart. Personally, I would not report.”
–Career military veteran and former IRR trainer (anonymous)

The Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), sometimes called the Inactive Ready Reserve, is composed of former military personnel who still have time remaining on their enlistment agreements but have returned to civilian life. They are eligible to be called up in "states of emergency".

In support of President Obama's Afghanistan occupation surge, the Army is currently undertaking one of the largest IRR recalls in the program's history. Over the last eight years however, thousands of IRR soldiers and Marines have questioned this "emergency" and have simply refused and ignored involuntary activation—with few real consequences.

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IRR related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Courage to Resist published “Resisting Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) recall” in February 2009. Since then, inquiries from current and former military personnel affected by the IRR program have been a substantial part of our daily work.

This FAQ assumes that you have already read our original resisting IRR overview.

Important Update: Some “Post-9/11 GI Bill” benefits affected by refusal

Regardless of if you find your question listed or not, please feel free to call us at 510-488-3559 to discussion your situation.

Involuntary military service under the radar

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Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist Project Coordinator

By Sarah Lazare, Courage to Resist for Truthout. May 21, 2009

"I felt like I was being robbed of everything," Matthew Dobbs said over the phone from his home in Houston, Texas.

"I had visions of military police banging down my door and dragging me back to war." Dobbs, a 26-year-old former soldier who served a tour in Afghanistan from 2003-2004, was recounting a story that has become familiar in the ongoing Global War on Terror. It is the story of a soldier who, after serving a tour overseas and being discharged from active duty, received involuntary orders to redeploy to Iraq or Afghanistan years later.

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Marine Benjamin Lewis pledges recall refusal

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By Courage to Resist. October 27, 2008

Marine Benjamin "Benji" Lewis served two tours in Iraq and was honorably discharged in 2007. Recently, he received notification that he was a candidate to be recalled to active duty. Last week at a Winter Soldier event in Portland, Oregon, Lewis publicly announced his intention to refuse reactivation from the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). Ten days before that event, Lewis spoke with Courage to Resist.

Part one. 18:20 min. (above). Part two. 12:01 min. (below)

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IRR Resister declares victory after misconduct hearing

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By Matthis Chiroux. April 22, 2009

Today (Apr. 21), I stood before the Army. I looked a board of officers in the eyes, and I told them I thought they were sending people off to participate in war crimes. And what did they say? Get out of here, Sergeant, and keep your damn G.I. Bill!

Indeed, folks! The Army awarded me a recommendation for a general discharge under honorable conditions from the Individual Ready Reserve for my refusal to deploy to Iraq last summer. This landmark decision means not only am I a free man, I’m free to continue school this fall with the “new” G.I. Bill that I earned while on active duty.

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IRR resister to contest discharge at hearing

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Friends of Matthis Chiroux. April 14, 2009

"My resistance as a noncommissioned officer to this abhorrent occupation is just as legitimate now as it was last year." -US Army Sgt. Matthis Chiroux

(ST. LOUIS, MO) The U.S. Army will hear the case of Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, an Individual Ready Reservist who last summer publicly refused activation and deployment orders to Iraq, on April 21 at 1 Reserve Way in Overland, St. Louis, MO, at 9 a.m.

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Matthis Chiroux publicly refuses IRR recall

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By Courage to Resist. June 10, 2008

Matthis Chiroux spent five years as an Army journalist and was honorably discharged in 2007. In early 2008, he was recalled to active duty and ordered to deploy to Iraq on June 15, 2008. Chiroux has publicly stated his intention to refuse to deploy. He spoke with Courage to Resist from Washington, DC.

Part One, 16:00 min.

Part Two, 14:30 min.

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Iraq vet Brandon Neely successfully resists IRR recall

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By Courage to Resist. October 8, 2008

When the Army recalled Iraq vet Brandon Neely from his Inactive Ready Reserve status to active duty, Bradon did not answer the call. Today he is president of the Houston chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Brandon declares, “I looked at my dad and told him right there I’m not going back.... I never thought in a million years that the government and the President would send troops into harms way for nothing.... I got on the Internet and came across the Courage to Resist website.”

Part one. 16:14 min. (above). Part two. 10:44 min. (below)

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Facts of involuntary activation from the IRR

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By Benji Lewis, Courage to Resist. January 1, 2009

I am Benji Lewis. I deployed to Iraq twice in 2004 and 2005 and was discharged honorably in 2007. Recently I have been involuntarily activated from the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) by the U.S. Marine Corps in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an activation that I have been publicly refusing.

The IRR is an inactive group of service members who still have time remaining on their signing agreements and are eligible to call up in states of emergency. The current state of emergency is the open-ended Global War on Terror that includes the occupation of both Iraq and Afghanistan.

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