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Unit Reserve Coordinators: The link between IMAs and their units

Staff Sgt. Dylan Snapp, Unit Reserve Coordinator for Headquarters U.S. European Command meets with Chief Master Sgt. Derrick Strohman, superintendent of HQ RIO Detachment 8 at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany.

Staff Sgt. Dylan Snapp, Unit Reserve Coordinator for Headquarters U.S. European Command meets with Chief Master Sgt. Derrick Strohman, superintendent of HQ RIO Detachment 8 at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, Germany. URCs are active duty military or civilians appointed by the active-duty commander who serve as the link for the IMA between his or her assigned unit and the Air Force Reserve. (U.S. Army photo by Rey Ramon)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --

Individual Mobilization Augmentees are Reservists assigned to active-component units.  From arrival to departure, and everything in between, the Unit Reserve Coordinator is the link for the IMA between his or her assigned unit and the Air Force Reserve.

URCs are active-duty military or civilians who are appointed by the active-duty commander.  They act as the liaison between the IMA and the unit, and usually perform this function as an additional duty. They are ultimately there to make it easier to serve.

While operational control of the IMAs lies fully with the active component unit to which they’re assigned, administrative control is shared between the unit and the Headquarters Readiness and Integration Organization. The URC acts as the focal point for a number of unit concerns and the IR’s concerns and responsibilities. They manage the Reservist’s participation, assist with maintaining readiness, and ensure all personnel actions, such as promotions or skill-level upgrades, are completed and up-to-date. All of these duties help the IMA be ready at any given time during the year.

“[URCs] need to be cognizant that the IMA’s main responsibility is to maintain readiness and training to support their active-duty unit in the event they have to backfill the active-duty billet or position they’re fulfilling,” said Rick Bacon, a long-time URC and National Security Emergency Preparedness regional director with First Air Force - Air Force Northern, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. As a URC, Bacon oversees more than 100 IMAs who serve as Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers around the country.

Because many IMAs don’t necessarily perform their military duties on a daily, or even monthly, basis, the URC is responsible for staying connected with the member throughout the year.

Bacon said he has contact with his unit’s IMAs monthly at the very least, but often weekly. This allows him to set expectations and ensure all of their military concerns are being handled.

Staff Sgt. Dylan K. Snapp, URC and Joint Reserve Program Manager with Headquarters U.S. European Command, talked about how he ensures the IMAs are updated while they are not actively participating.

“I keep strong lines of communication with the IMAs and their assigned divisions,” said Snapp. “I aim to provide them with the knowledge and resources that keep them up-to-date on Air Force topics and policies.”

Those topics range from individual requirements, unit missions or activities, and Air Force-wide changes, such as the recent change to Air Force fitness testing.

“I am so grateful for the hard work of all our URCs at the active component units where our IMAs are assigned,” said Chief Master Sgt. Stacy Wilfong, HQ RIO command chief. “It’s vital that our IMAs have someone in their assigned unit who is up-to-speed on all things related to individual Reservists. Their work is integral in not only making it easy for our IMAs to serve, but to ensure their work for their unit is meaningful.”

All in all, the communication and dynamic relationship between the IMA and the URC is essential to the IR’s military service and support to the Air Force.

“In my personal opinion, the Air Force would not be able to operate if it wasn’t for the support of the Reserve and Air National Guard having that reserve force that is ready to respond at a moment’s notice,” Bacon said.

He said the URC’s relationship with their Reservists “ensures they have all the tools to make them successful in order to respond to the fight.” #ReserveReady

(Abrahams is assigned to the HQ RIO public affairs office.)    ■