Air Force Reserve more than one weekend a month

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Sammy Jeffery
  • 28th Force Support Squadron
"Weekend Warriors" is a common terminology that describes the part-time commitment of the Air Force Reserve.

However, within the AFR, there are four different capacities in which a member may participate. The unit reservist, also called a traditional reservist, serves the well-known one weekend a month and two weeks a year. The other part-time category that is not well known is called the individual mobilization augmentee program, also known as IMA. 

An IMA is unique, making up just 11 percent of the entire Reserve force. These members are assigned to an active duty unit and backfill their counterparts for deployments and temporary duty assignments.

IMAs still serve the equivalent of one weekend a month and two weeks a year, which is 39 days total. A main difference between TRs and IMAs is that IMAs can serve all 39 days in one long period, for instance a college student could do their entire years' commitment in between semesters. 

On the other end of the spectrum, an IMA can choose to do a few days here, a few days there to fulfill their obligation. Some units may request that an IMA serve on a more traditional reservist schedule; this is the exception, not the rule.

In the end, IMAs are given a level of freedom to schedule their days when it works best for them instead of being tasked every month.

Because IMAs have the benefit of picking and choosing their schedule, with input from their respective unit, they can serve anywhere within the U.S. For instance, an IMA currently living at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, can complete his or her reservist commitment at Hill AFB, Utah. When an IMA completes their time in one long period, travel is paid for by the AFR.

Travel is covered if a reservist includes his annual tour in the set of orders. This freedom from financial burden opens up the possibility to go to school full-time and continue military service, even if there is not a unit close by.

The benefits of Tuition Assistance and Tricare coverage are ideal for many interested in the part-time commitment of the AFR; however, for those who prefer to maintain more direct control over their careers, the IMA world may be what you are looking for.

For more information on the IMA program, call Master Sgt. Sammy Jeffery, 28th Force Support Squadron in-service recruiter, at (605) 385-2360, or via email sammy.jeffery.2@us.af.mil.

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