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How to Transfer From Active Duty Army to Army Reserves

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After serving you initial four-year term of service in the U.S. Army, you might elect to leave active duty and join the Army Reserves. Although this is widely practiced, there are very specific steps and official procedures to follow, as is the case with anything Army-related. Planning ahead and getting your ducks in a row prior to leaving active duty is key to a successful transition.

Planning ahead is crucial to smooth transition

Plan a meeting with your retention NCO about 60 days prior to expiration of your active-duty term. She will get in touch with a Reserve recruiter. Discuss your intent with this recruiter in detail, since she will be the one processing your transfer documents.

Review your personal documents and record for accuracy before leaving active duty. Such things include any awards you received, your ERB and more.

Schedule a time to meed with your CIF officer to ensure you can retain your uniforms and other effects for your Reservist transition.

Get your new Reserve identification card before your leave active duty. The day your term is up, you old ID is expired and will not provide access to your new base. Fill out and turn in DD Form 2A to get this process started.

Complete your final briefing and collect your honorable discharge, or DD 214. Report to your new post on the ordered date and time.


Find the Reserve units closest to where you live, understanding that you may still have to drive a few hours to get there. Understand that you will only get $200 for drilling, so if you need to fill up twice, eat and rent a room to get there, it might not be worth it to join the Reserves.


Even in the Reserves, you are still eligible for recall and deployment.