USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Since October 2006, separating Sailors stationed aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) have had a smoother way to transfer into the Navy Reserve, thanks to a new program aimed at increasing the Navy's Reserve force.
The Navy started testing the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) program at selected commands in October 2006. Ronald Reagan was selected as one of the test locations for the program due to the large number of Sailors that chose to join the Reserves after serving at the command.
"We were chosen because of our close Reserve affiliation," said Navy Career Counselor 1st Class (SW/AW) Fonda Wilson, a member of the career counselor team aboard Ronald Reagan. "Approximately 17 percent of separated Sailors who were stationed on board the ship joined the Reserves."
In the past, Sailors who wanted to join the Reserves after active duty had to wait until they were fully separated from active duty, and were required to see a Reserve recruiter in their hometown.
Under the new program the transition from active duty to Reserve starts even before the service member leaves active service. Career counselors aboard the ship get the service member in contact with a recruiter in the location of where the separating Sailor will live, and get them started on the process of becoming a member of the Navy Reserve.
"We act as a liaison between the service member and the Reserve component where the member is planning to live," said Navy Career Counselor 1st Class (SW/AW) Valerie McNairy. "The program gives the Sailor a chance to negotiate where they would like to do their drill time, and also there is less of a chance they will lose a pay grade because of too much time between active duty and the Reserves."
Wilson also agreed that the biggest benefit to Sailors is that they can start their Reserve time right after they leave active duty.
"Sailors can leave active duty and start their Reserve time the next day if they wanted to," said Wilson.
According to Wilson, the Ronald Regan career counselor team holds a Reserve benefits brief once a month aboard the ship.
The NOSC program is scheduled to conclude testing in September 2007.
Ronald Reagan was commissioned in July 2003, making it the ninth and newest Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ship is named after the 40th U.S. president, and carries the motto of "Peace through Strength," a recurrent theme during the Reagan presidency.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group departed San Diego Jan. 27 on a surge deployment in order to fill the role of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, as it undergoes scheduled maintenance in Yokuska, Japan.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.