Unrivaled training. Undeniable purpose. Uncommon adventure. In the Navy Reserve, men and women from all walks of life come together to find it all. Here, you can be part of something bigger than yourself. You can discover camaraderie that’s rarely experienced in the everyday world. And you can benefit personally, professionally and financially.
To understand what it means to balance patriotic duty, personal commitments and everyday career interests, you must learn what it’s like to be a Reservist.
Who Are Reservists?
Navy Reservists are highly motivated men and women who are dedicated to the defense of the nation and who reflect the diversity of the nation in so many ways.
There are individuals of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities. There are people with high school diplomas and people with college degrees. There are those who are working toward higher education at all levels and those working as professionals in all kinds of career fields. And you can be a member whether you've had military experience prior to joining or not.
Learn more about qualifications details as they relate to your service background in the Ways to Join section.
What Do Reservists Do?
In general, Reservists have the same duties as their Active Duty counterparts. They provide invaluable expertise, experience and leadership. They deliver critical support to global operations and planning. And they earn the same respect as those serving on Active Duty.
Specific responsibilities depend upon basic factors like:
- Your designation as an Enlisted Sailor or a Commissioned Officer.
- Your occupational specialty in any of the professional areas offered in the Navy Reserve.
Go to the Careers & Jobs section and choose the category that interests you to learn more about what you could expect to do as a Reservist.
How Often Do Reservists Serve?
Navy Reserve service is generally associated with part-time service. What all Reservists have in common is a commitment to serving a minimum of one weekend a month plus two weeks a year. There are flexible drilling options that can enable service on weekdays or in an extended mission capacity to meet annual commitment requirements. There are also opportunities for additional service and pay.
Serving full-time as a Reservist
In the Navy Reserve, two important full-time service programs to be aware of are:
- Navy Full-Time Support (FTS) – This program allows Reservists to perform full-time Active Duty service in positions that support the training and administration of the Navy Reserve Force. Members receive the same pay, allowances and benefits as Active Duty members. One advantage of FTS over regular Active Duty is that members typically serve for longer periods at any assigned locations. Learn more about FTS Enlisted opportunities or FTS Officer opportunities.
- Navy Individual Augmentee (IA) – This program allows Reservists to perform full-time Active Duty service in positions that support strategic objectives. Members may be chosen or volunteer to fill in, or augment, roles requiring specialized knowledge or skill sets. They could potentially fill needs outside the Navy in any of the service branches. Learn more about serving as an Individual Augmentee.
Deploying as a Reservist
As is the case with all military service branches, Reservists have the possibility of being deployed. There is no formula for determining who will deploy or when, where and for how long that might be. It comes down to what occupational specialties and operational units are needed at any given time, and who is best qualified and ready to serve those needs.
Keep in mind that if deployed, you are considered to be on Active Duty status and will be entitled to Active Duty pay and benefits. Plus, if a deployment lasts 120 continuous days, you will also be eligible to take advantage of the Tuition Assistance (TA) Program.
Also be aware that if you're a current or former Navy servicemember (NAVET), you can receive guaranteed initial deployment deferment for periods of up to two years when you affiliate with the Navy Reserve. Contact your career counselor or the Career Transition Office (CTO) to learn more.
Where Do Reservists Serve?
There are hundreds of Navy Reserve Centers across the country. Sites to train on drill weekends are readily available and typically located conveniently close to home – wherever that may be.
Check out a map of locations now.
During the standard two-week annual training period, you also have the chance to travel to destinations in the U.S. or around the world – taking part in anything from scheduled training exercises to humanitarian outreach efforts.
What about Reservists who are serving full-time or on deployment? They could be serving virtually anywhere in the world, alongside Active Duty forces, wherever the Navy is.
What’s Life Like in the Navy Reserve?
Reservists are trained professionals capable and willing to contribute to ongoing Navy training, planning and operations. Whether it’s piloting an F/A-18 for the weekend, caring for the medical needs of a deployed Sailor’s children, or helping to renovate a Navy base, Navy Reservists’ lives are full of exciting challenges and gratifying moments on duty.
At the same time, Reservists are free to pursue their own interests out in the civilian sector when off duty. That means you can serve in the Reserve and have a full-time civilian job. Live and work where you want. Be there for your family. And live the everyday life of your choosing.
Hear it from those who live it. Find the Navy Reserve on Facebook.