Also from Newsweek:
The reservists run many of the same risks as the regular troops they support, but they pay a different price. For an active-duty soldier, foreign deployment is an expected risk, and carries benefits in pay and promotions to offset the hardships. But for reservists, this is an unexpected detour in lives and careers whose course had seemed quite predictable just a year ago. For their employers, losing a worker to a call-up can be anything from a nuisance to a potential disaster, in the case of small businesses or professional practices. Dan Mills, a member of the Michigan National Guard who was about to start a vacation with his wife and daughters at Disney World last winter and instead found himself on his way to Iraq with 48 hours’ notice, says: “Nobody thinks when they sign up that they’ll be going to war.”
And few imagined they could be called to serve as long as a year overseas, broken up by (at most) one two-week home leave. Counting time for training, outfitting and demobilizing, this often means as much as 16 months away from home, earning military salaries that may not come close to their civilian pay. And under the Pentagon’s “stop-loss” policy, a reservist sent to Iraq must stay on duty until his entire unit is sent home even if his enlistment expires in the meantime. (Currently, active-duty soldiers can muster out whenever their terms are up.) Two days before she was to leave the Army Reserves in February, with her paperwork all done, Leslie Crawford of Provo, Utah, was ordered into a new unit that was on its way to Iraq where she still is, according to her sister, Lisa. “She says she feels like a POW of her own country,” Lisa says.
Of course, active-duty troops did most of the fighting in the invasion. But there’s plenty of danger to go around for reservists, and they’re facing it, in some cases, without the same equipment provided to regular units. Joe and Suzanne Werfelman of Sciota, Pa., were shocked to hear from their son, Richard, a 23-year-old law student called up by his military-police unit, that he had been issued a protective vest without the “plates” that stop automatic-rifle rounds. They bought and shipped the plates themselves, at a cost of $660.