Armed Forces News

Col. Mark Burnett, a physician from Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, receives a demonstration on infectious disease identification and treatment from the Benin Armed Force during a medical readiness exercise in Contonou, Benin, designed to build and strengthen public health capacity by enhancing the ability to conduct surveillance for, prevent, and respond to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, bioterrorism, and other public health emergencies. (US Army photo)

Some 25,000 retired personnel have volunteered to rejoin the Army to help with Coronavirus response, the Army has said.

It reached out to around 800,000 retired and Individual Ready Reserve soldiers in late March and has heard back from a wide range of medical and non-medical respondents.

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While the Army is seeking qualified medical professionals, it cautioned that it does not want to draw anyone away from current roles they may be serving in, for example, in civilian clinics or private facilities.

Key medical military occupational specialties needed include critical care nurses, anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, critical care nurses, nurse practitioners, emergency room nurses and respiratory specialists.

It said potential volunteers also include medical students, retired doctors, or former soldiers not involved in the medical community.

“This effort seems very simplistic — soldiers volunteer and we just bring them back on active duty — but it requires a specialized team of professionals knowledgeable in reserve policy, which the reserve personnel management directorate provides,” according to Brig. Gen. Twanda E. Young, U.S. Army Human Resources Command deputy commanding general and reserve personnel management director at Fort Knox, KY.

After HRC receives volunteer requests, officials sift through and validate initial requests, then sort them by specialty, credentials, requirements, background checks and capabilities. The duration of the orders is open-ended.

Interested soldiers should use the HRC COVID-19 voluntary recall survey to join:
https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/Surveys/RetireeRecall/RetireeRecall.aspx

The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended a similar invitation to retired medical personnel. Health-care providers who return to work for VA are not going to be subjected to an existing rule that would reduce their salaries to reflect the retirement pay they now collect. OPM has encouraged other agencies to request authority to waive offsets as well.

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Agencies Can Change Work Duties for Coronavirus Response, Says OPM (3/24/2020)

Agencies to Begin Waiving Salary Offsets as Part of COVID-19 Response (3/21/2020)