Reserve numbers lower for OIF II
By Cpl. Danielle M. Bacon
| | March 15, 2004
U.S. MARINE CORPS FORCES PACIFIC, CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Although mobilized Marine reserve personnel are slowly dropping numbers, they're still playing an active role in Operation Iraqi Freedom II.
The Marine Corps has about 5,148 mobilized reserve Marines, with roughly 1,400 directly supporting OIF II, in Kuwait and Iraq.
Reserve forces for OIF II will be at approximately 3,000 for the first rotation and approximately 3,500 for the second rotation.
The Marine Corps Reserves will make up a little more than 10 percent of the 25,000 Marines sent for OIF II, most of which are coming from I Marine Expeditionary Force, with other units coming from II MEF and III MEF.
These numbers are almost a fourth of the reserve force used during OIF I, and reflect the diminishing number of reservist across the Department of Defense.
During OIF, 48 percent of the 40,000 Selected Marine Corps Reserve and Individual Mobilization Augmentation Reserves were mobilized, according to a Reserve Affairs Coordination Mobilization Issues Report issued March 12.
So far, the Marine Corps has demobilized 20,760 Marines, but they will keep some reserve Marines in action for longer.
"Reservists are normally activated for 12 months with a max at 24 months," said Lt. Col. Tom V. Sakievich, reserve integration officer with Marine Forces Reserve West.
During OIF II, Marines are scheduled to participate in two seven-month rotations.
The first rotation is expected to start in March and last until September of 2004, with the second rotation starting in September 2004 until March 2005.
"Reservists are a fully integrated part of I MEF and II MEF," said Sakievich. "The U.S. Marine Corps could not fully execute without the Marine Reserve."
Currently, the Marine Corps is authorized to mobilize more than 40,000, but are only using 1,208 individual reservists and 3,940 from units and detachments that are activated, according to the RACMI report.
Although the reserve component doesn't plan on playing as big of a role as they did during OIF, many feel that their presence is still powerful.
"Everywhere you go, everywhere you look - you see reservists," said Lt. Col. John M. Tolar, current operations officer, Marine Corps Central Command at Camp Doha. "Nothing would be happening around here if it wasn't for us."