How to Put an Army IRR Packet Together
Packet requirements, what you need to include in your IRR packet:
1. IRR packet checklist, based on Figure B-59 of USAR Pamphlet 600-5.
2. DA Form 4561, Request for Reserve Component Assignment or Attachment. Completely filled and signed by the Soldier and the Commander.
3. Your statement/justification letter and backing documentation. This is based on the reasons listed in AR 140-10.
4. Chain of Command Recommendation.
5. Cogent Personal Reason. If the specific reason isn’t listed in AR 140-10, it requires an exception to policy by your OFTS.
6. Counseling Statement (DA Form 4856). This is from the commander to the Soldier and is face to face. Are you in receipt of a bonus? This counseling statement must warn you about bonus termination or recoupment.
7. Counseling Statement (DA Form 4856). From the Soldier’s servicing career counselor to the Soldier; it’s also face to face.
Valid reasons for transferring from the Troop Program Unit (TPU) to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR):
As a TPU Soldier, you can forward an IRR transfer packet up the chain of command. There’s no guarantee for that packet’s approval, or for your transfer to the IRR.
If you want to improve your TPU to IRR transfer chances, refer to the valid reasons listed in AR 140 -10, Chapter 4, Paragraph 9. If you have enough documentations, and facts, to support one or more of these reasons, include them in your IRR packet. This’ll help you make your case for transferring to the IRR.
Let’s say that your employer all of a sudden can’t release you from the work schedule so that you can drill… as your absence would cause an adverse impact on your employer’s operation. Before, this wasn’t an issue. Your employer released you for a weekend, and was able to continue his operation. When they couldn’t release you, you were able to reschedule.
Now? Your employer needs you, on the days you need to drill, in order for the company to continue on with its mission. Conditions had changed since you started working with this employer.
Or, you’re in a company that restructures and eliminates your job. They move you to another part of the company. In this new job, you’re on call to go to different parts of the country, and your schedule is random. You’re not able to do rescheduled training. Your employer can’t spare you for any reserve drill without negatively impacting company operations.
These are just two examples, of which there are many, on how your employment could evolve into something that makes it hard for you to meet TPU requirements.
In your Soldier’s Statement of Justification letter, provide an objective picture of how your employment schedule makes it impractical for you to continue with the TPU. Include statements from your employer to back this justification.
Change of address:
You accept a new job within your company. It’ll pay you more, it’s something that you love doing, and it represents a move up in your civilian career. The catch? You have to go somewhere that’s two days away from the nearest Army Reserve center. Your employer isn’t able to spare you enough time to get to, and return from, the nearest Army Reserve unit.
In this scenario, you’re a TPU Soldier that can’t drill with any Army Reserve unit.
Or, you get a promotion that sends you overseas. Your job location is a long flight away from the nearest Army Reserve Center.
For something like this, you’d be able to submit a packet to transfer to the IRR. In your statement of soldier justification, include employment orders, employment promotion documentations, new job description, an objective picture that details your new job location, your new residence, etc.
Cogent personal reasons:
This is sort of a “catch all” to cover other reasons not specifically covered in AR 140-10.
What you think is a very good reason to transfer may not be what the Army thinks it is. You also have to see this from your unit’s perspective.
You’re asking them to release you, when they need you at the unit during drills and summer training. They don’t have a guarantee that they’ll get a replacement Soldier. You have to convince them to “sign off” on your IRR packet.
Let’s say that you’re “burned out” from doing drills. You just want to “sit around” in the IRR until the “burnt out” phase ends. In your unit’s eyes, this is a subjective reason. They could work with you to where you wouldn’t need to submit an IRR transfer packet.
In this example, your soldier justification letter needs to provide an accurate, objective, picture of how your Army reserve duties contribute to you being burned out. You’ll need letters from your medical professionals to help bolster your justifications.
Whatever the personal reason that you choose, make sure that you could provide an objective picture. Make sure that you could provide factual information from subject matter experts involved with your situation.
You also want to prove that there’s no other way to “solve” your current issue other than to transfer to the IRR. Before you do this, you have to exhaust the means to resolve this with resources that your unit could reference you to.
You completed the TPU portion of your contract, now you’re ready to transfer to the IRR:
As of this writing, everybody that joins the military, for the first time, signed an eight year contract. When a first time enlister signs a 6 year Army Reserve contract, they’re not just signing up for 6 years. When those 6 years are over, that Soldier has an additional 2 years of commitment. They can request transfer to the IRR after their TPU commitment.
This concept applies even if the TPU part of the contract was 3, 4, or 5 years.
Once the TPU portion of the contract is over, they can request transfer to the IRR. They have to continue drilling with the unit until they receive their IRR orders.
Surviving son or daughter:
You’re in the reserves, and pursuing your civilian career. Two years later, your last remaining sibling passes on. You’re now your parents’ only surviving child. This is an unfortunate event, but one that gives you an opportunity to transfer from the TPU to the IRR.
When you write your Soldier justification letter, include documentation proving that you’re now the last/sole surviving child for your parents.
Dependency or hardship makes it impractical to participate in TPU:
Let’s say your family situation changes, and you have to provide extra care and supports to one of your family members. This family member is someone on your dependents list. You don’t have an alternative care plan… nobody else could afford to give up a lot of their time, and sacrifice their employment, to help you out.
This dependent family member needs your presence. Without you, this family member’s welfare is negatively impacted.
Two examples of this category is an “assisted living” situation and a “direct support provider” situation. In these scenarios, a family member is unable to care for him or herself. The family member requires a soldier’s attention, supervision, and direct support to do basic functions.
Statements from doctors, social workers, case managers, and other related people should be included in this packet. Their statement should focus on the nature of the dependency hardship, and on the need for you to be consistently available.
If you’re pregnant, you may be able to transfer to the IRR. You have to be MOS qualified, and you can’t be within 3 months of your ETS.
Non selection for retention:
This impacts TPU Soldiers that have received their “official notification of eligibility to retire with pay at 60” letter. This is the “20 year letter.” By regulation, these Soldiers are subjected to a Qualitative Retention Board.
Prior to this board’s convening, the impacted Soldier receives a “pre board” packet. The Soldier is given a couple of options. If the board removes the Soldier from the TPU, which control group would the Soldier like to transfer to?
The Soldier could elect to be transferred to the retired reserves, or to the IRR. Should the qualitative review board decide to remove the Soldier from the TPU, orders will be generated transferring the Soldier to the control group that the Soldier selected.
This is also applicable to TPU Soldiers subjected to the actions of other types of retention boards. In this situation, a Soldier may have the option to transfer to the IRR.
Enrollment into a non-scholarship ROTC:
A “non-scholarship” ROTC program is one that offers the student a chance to participate in an ROTC program without financial benefits. These students don’t get a monthly stipend. These students pay for their own tuition, fees, and other expenses.
Soldiers that get accepted into this type of ROTC program can submit an IRR packet.
Merchant Marine Academy:
If you get accepted into the Merchant Marine Academy, you can submit an IRR transfer packet.
Army Regulation 140-10:
For details on each of these categories, and how to apply under them, read Army regulation 140 -10, Assignments, Attachments, Details, and Transfers.
Counseling statements from the commanding officer and servicing career counselor:
Did you get a bonus for enlisting into your current TPU contract? If your IRR transfer gets approved, you could lose the remainder of your bonus. Depending on your bonus stipulation, you could end up having to pay back the part of your bonus that you received.
If you’re receiving a bonus, you need to be informed of this fact when you submit your IRR packet.
This counseling statement should also inform you of your IRR responsibilities. The commanding officer will include any information that’s important to you. This includes the fact that you must continue to drill with the unit until you receive transfer orders to the IRR.
The career counselor will inform you of opportunities that are available to you in the IRR, including opportunities to reclassify and transfer back to the TPU when personal conditions favor such a move.
IRR transfer packet tips:
1. Are you on your initial contract, with IRR time following your TPU time? By regulation, you’re not supposed to submit your IRR packet until your TPU obligation is complete. You can submit your IRR transfer packet the day after your “TPU ETS” date.
2. After you submit your IRR packet, you have to drill with your unit until you receive orders transferring you to the IRR.
Don’t simply go by what somebody at your unit says. Some Soldiers have stopped drilling after they “completed” their “TPU years,” because they thought they were automatically in the IRR. This wasn’t true, they had to report back to drill.
3. Follow up on your packet. If HRC doesn’t get your packet, they might extend your TPU status to the end of your military service obligation. In this case, you’ll have to drill until your 8 years is up.
4. If you have unresolved medical issues, you have to have these issues resolved before you can transfer to the IRR.
5. IRR Soldiers still have obligations and point requirements to make. However, you could consider the active standby reserves instead of the IRR if you want to “get away” from the TPU temporarily.
In the IRR, you have to get at least 50 points a retirement year.
In the active standby reserves, there’s no requirement for you to get at least 50 points. You maintain your military affiliation, but you’re generally not required to maintain a good year. The active standby reserves is what most people assume the IRR is.
1. AR 140-10; provides details on the above categories as justification for IRR transfer.
2. AR G1 Policy Letters.
3. USAR Pamphlet 600-5.