There are more than 6,000 soldiers in the Army's Individual or Inactive Ready Reserve program who live in Northwest Florida. Those soldiers are about to be put on active duty as part of a nationwide call-up associated with Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, but there is a way to avoid going to Iraq and still serve your country.
The 3rd Battalion, 124th Infantry returned back in February from a year-long deployment overseas. That means another deployment won't happen for between two and five years. The letter IRR soldiers are receiving says they need to voluntarily sign-up for a unit, or they will be assigned one, so some soldiers are choosing to enlist in the National Guard as a way of continuing their service to the country. By signing-up with the National Guard, soldiers are eligible for full benefits.
The National Guard is recruiting people from all branches of service, not just the Army.
As a bonus, new recruits, if they have previous military service, don't have to go back through basic training. If you'd like more information about signing up with the National Guard, drop by the Panama City headquarters on Lisenby Avenue next to the airport.
Right now, more than 145,000 guard and reserve Troops are on active duty in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.