Army Reserve to Celebrate Century of Service

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April  2008 – Since April 23 1908, the men and women of the U.S. Army Reserve have answered the nation's call to service at home and around the globe. Next week, the reserve will mark its 100th birthday with ceremonies in and around the nation’s capital.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
The U.S. Army Reserve will celebrate a century of service on April 23, 2008. The reserve will mark the historic 100-year anniversary with a mass re-enlistment and rememrance ceremonies in and around Washington, DC.  
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
To celebrate a century of service, the Army Reserve will hold a mass re-enlistment on the Capitol Hill steps here and remembrance ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Va. Slated to attend the events are Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz and Command Sgt. Maj. Leon Caffie, respectively the Army Reserve chief and senior enlisted soldier.

Kicking off the event at 10 am, 100 Army Reserve soldiers will raise their right hands, once again pledging their service to the nation. Their re-enlistment symbolizes the Army Reserve’s commitment to another century of service, according to an information sheet distributed by the Army Reserve.

Following the re-enlistment, past Army Reserve soldiers will be honored at 2:15 p.m. during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery. Later at the cemetery, current and future reservists will be commemorated with a tree-planting and plaque dedication.

Unlike the component of the past, which served primarily as a strategic reserve, today’s Army Reserve is an operational force that plays an integral role in the world's greatest Army, the information sheet states.

“Today's Army Reserve soldiers represent the values upon which our country was founded. They are citizens who are willing to lay down their plows and pick up their rifles when called upon,” according to information made available by the service. “They're proud of their service. They're proud to say they're part of the Army Reserve.”

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the military has mobilized more than 216,000 Army reservists. Currently, more than 26,000 of these soldiers are deployed worldwide.

Related Sites:
Army Reserve

DeCA, industry partner to extend commissary benefit to Guard, Reserve members

 By Cherie Huntington, DECA

FORT LEE , Va. – “The groceries are coming! The groceries are coming!”

            With apologies to Paul Revere, those could be the fighting words of the Defense Commissary Agency as it strives to deliver the benefit to geographically separated Reserve and National Guard members and their families throughout America .

            “It’s open season for good ideas on how to expand the benefit to our reserve forces,” said Rick Page, DeCA’s acting director. “Help us get more of the benefit to you.”

            Thinking outside the “box” of conventional commissary locations, DeCA team members have been taking the benefit on the road to authorized shoppers, conducting on-site sales out of warehouses, aircraft hangars, armories, tents in parking lots, and even the back ends of semitrailers. Even as the agency plans to increase the number of these events this year, industry partners made them even more inviting by donating $95,000 in commissary gift certificates for distribution to thousands of National Guard members during the past holiday season.

            The extent of industry support surprised even DeCA officials. “I was overwhelmed by the generosity of our suppliers and manufacturers,” Page said. “Since your commissary delivers 30 percent savings or more, that $95,000 in your shopping cart represents $130,000 in a commercial grocery store.”

            The American Logistics Association presented industry’s gift to the National Guard Bureau chief at the Pentagon in December. The ALA ’s members represent industries providing products and services to military resale systems, including commissaries and military exchanges.

Personnel Chiefs Push For Incentives, Integration for Reserve Forces

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 2007 – The reserve components are vital to the military and its ability to fight the war on terror, so it’s essential that they’re properly managed and compensated, the service personnel chiefs told the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves yesterday.

The chiefs shared insights into better ways to integrate Guard and reserve members into the total force and to ensure the reserve components get the resources and manpower they need.

“The current environment, and I predict, the future, requires the seamless integration of the active and reserve military, civilian employees and support contractors into a cohesive and rapidly tailorable force,” Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel, said in his prepared statement.

He noted that almost 382,000 reserve-component soldiers have mobilized since Sept. 11, 2001, to fight the terror war, and that more will be called as the war progresses.

“Never before in the history of the United States have members of the Air Force reserve components played such a pivotal role in the defense of our homeland and our national security objectives around the globe,” agreed Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel.

More than 10,000 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve members are currently on duty at home or abroad, he reported.

Just as the military depends on these troops to carry out its mission, the services’ personnel chiefs agreed that it needs to ensure that they and their families receive the compensation and support they deserve.

That’s particularly important for the Army and Marine Corps as they increase the size of their forces, but no less critical for their sister services as they reshape for the future, they said.

Rear Adm. Edward Masso, commander of Navy Personnel Command, said that as the Navy continues reducing the size of its force, it needs to do so in the smartest way possible.

“We need to apply both small adjustments and major course corrections in order to shape our force into a smaller, more effective and cost-efficient total force,” he said in his prepared remarks.

These changes will have far-reaching implications for the force, he told the commission. “What we do today – the decisions we make – will dictate our situation tomorrow and determine what we are capable of in the future,” the admiral said.

Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, the Marine Corps’ deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, called individual Marines the most effective weapon in the Corps’ arsenal. “Accordingly, our manpower and personnel plans must support the accession and retention of this vital resource,” he said.

Ultimately, the long-term success of the reserve components depends on managing them in a way that meets troops’ and their families’ expectations and needs, as well as operational requirements, he said.

The personnel chiefs’ testimony reflected comments offered the previous day by Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

During his June 20 appearance before the commission, Dominguez urged more flexibility for reserve-component members that enables them to better balance their military and civilian obligations and encourages them to serve.

Dominguez joined the service chiefs in endorsing a “continuum of service” that enables military members to shift between the active and reserve components, more full-time support for Guard and reserve units, expanded opportunities for joint training and qualifications and a more competitive compensation package.

The independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves was established under the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 to recommend any needed changes in law and policy to ensure that the Guard and Reserves are organized, trained, equipped, compensated and supported to meet U.S. national security requirements.

Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, USA
Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, USAF
Rear Adm. Edward Masso, USN
Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, USMC

Related Sites:

Commission on the National Guard and Reserves

Related Articles:
Flexibility Encouraged to Promote Reserve-Component Service

VA Completes Cabinet's Push for Employer Support of Guard, Reserve

By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April  2006 With a stroke of Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson's pen here today, all 15 U.S. Cabinet secretaries have now signed a joint statement in support of the Defense Department's Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve organization.


Click photo for screen-resolution image
Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson (right) became the last of the 15 U.S. Cabinet secretaries to sign a joint Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve statement of support. Thomas F. Hall (left), assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, delivered remarks during the April 14 ceremony. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley   (Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Nicholson became the last Cabinet secretary to sign the document during a ceremony at VA headquarters.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs stands foursquare in support of our Guard and Reserve troops and the ESGR mission," Nicholson said. ESGR has been a very important advocate for the job rights of returning deployed reservists and National Guardsmen, he said.

The Defense Department established ESGR in 1972 to promote cooperation and understanding between reserve component members and their civilian employers.

The joint ESGR statement might be the only document signed by all Cabinet members, said Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

"This is a very historic day, because today we complete the signing of the statement of support by the entire cabinet," Hall said. "I think it is very fitting, and we planned it this way, to have VA as the last signer of this, because it's the bookends. The first signer was DoD, the last is VA."

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve has more than 5,200 volunteers across the country, Hall said. "They ... make sure that when our young men and women answer the call to the colors and come back, they're able to start their education over (and) go right back to their jobs," he said.

Craig W. Duehring, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, presented Nicholson with a plaque reflecting VA's support for reserve components.

Click photo for screen-resolution image Craig W. Duehring, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs (left), presents Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson with a plaque reflecting VA's support for reserve components. Nicholson became the last of the 15 U.S. Cabinet secretaries to sign a joint Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve support statement at an April 14 ceremony. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  
Click photo for screen-resolution image Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs (left), and Craig W. Duehring, his principal deputy, flank Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson as he becomes the last of the 15 U.S. Cabinet secretaries to sign a joint Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve support statement. Photo by Samantha L. Quigley  

Army Reserve Undergoing "Deep, Profound Change"

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2004 – Army Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly doesn't like the word "reservists." Members of the Army Reserve are "soldiers" plain and simple, he said.

"I have put out a policy statement which says we don't have 'reservists.' We have Army Reserve soldiers," Helmly said during a recent interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service. "The intent there is to induce across the length and breadth of our force an identification with the simple title of American soldier."

The changes the Army Reserve is undergoing are much deeper than what the service's members are called, the general said. Leaders are working to overhaul how Reserve soldiers train and mobilize, the regulations governing these things, even how soldiers think of themselves.

"Transformation" is another word Helmly prefers not to use. He said he prefers to call what his service is going through as "deep, profound, enduring change."

"Our intent, frankly, is that our force will be ready for a call to active duty as if they knew the hour and the day that it would come," he said. "That requires that each and every soldier take their individual responsibility for personal fitness, wellness, healthcare, personal affairs, the affairs of their family, etc."

Helmly likened changing a military service during wartime to refitting an airplane during flight. "There's no time out here for remodeling. We cannot hang a shingle out that says, 'Closed for remodeling,'" he said. "We've got to do it while we're still mobilized."

Part of that remodeling is cutting "23,000 spaces worth of structure" over the next three years to have those spaces available to better fill deployable units. Also to ensure the most soldiers deployable, the service has changed how it manages soldiers' physicals and updated training guidance to units.

Until recently, Army Reserve units have spent considerable time training after mobilization but before deployment. This led to units being mobilized for 18 months for a 12-month deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. It also resulted in insufficient time to prepare soldiers to go to war.

Today the Army Reserve expects units to be fully trained and ready to go to war before an alert order is even issued. "We are requiring commanders to train warriors prior to mobilization and changing the model from 'alert, train, mobilize, deploy' to 'train, mobilize, deploy.'

"Waiting until mobilization to undergo training is simply too late. You cannot respond and you cannot have the kind of soldiers ready to fight, accomplish their mission and survive if you wait until the unit's mobilized," he added.

Such fundamental changes require a deep commitment on the part of service and defense leaders, Helmly said.

"Our soldiers on the battlefield are performing with magnificent courage. And they are really out there -- stout of heart and doing a very dangerous job immensely well," he said. "And I think here in the Pentagon, we in senior leadership positions owe those soldiers the same amount of courage, commitment and sense of urgency and energy to make changes in the institutional processes that govern how those soldiers are treated."

Army Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly

Guardsmen, reservists essential to war effort
by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

September 2003 - WASHINGTON (AFPN)  -- National Guard and Reserve forces "have been absolutely essential" to the war on terrorism, the commander of U.S. Central Command told the Senate Appropriations Committee. His comments came during a Sept. 24 hearing about the fiscal 2004 supplemental funding request for Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We couldn't get the job done without them," Army Gen. John Abizaid said. "It isn't a matter of 'nice to have,' it's a matter of 'must have.'"

But Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the committee that such heavy reliance on the reserve components -- which has a large percentage of the military's combat service support capabilities -- "doesn't posture us very well for the 21st-century security environment we're going into."

Myers said Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld has ordered a rebalancing of the force to provide a better mix of capabilities between the active and reserve components.

"Because it's inevitable (that) if we're going to send an active ground component … into a situation, there's going to be a reserve piece that goes with it," Myers said. "And that may be fine for some situations, but probably not all."

The Defense Department's goal is to accomplish the rebalancing within the next two years.

About 170,000 Guard and Reserve members are currently on active duty, down from a high of 223,000 during major combat operations in Iraq, Myers said. The number could drop more if a third multinational division joins Operation Iraqi Freedom.

However, if no additional multinational division materializes, Myers said, planners might have to use other options to keep manning on track in Iraq, including the possibility of more reserve component call-ups. Other options, he said, involve increasing the number of active-duty troops committed to the operation or, ideally, getting enough Iraqis trained so they can assume a larger role in their defense.

Meanwhile, U.S. troops serving in or being deployed to Iraq "should expect to spend one year in Iraq," Myers said, whether they are on active duty or in the reserve components.

"There is an issue of fairness here, and I think the (guardsmen) will be the first to tell you that they are willing to pull their fair share," he said. "They always have, and they're very proud of that."

Defense Department policy has been to issue one-year mobilization orders to the reserve components, although service secretaries have the authority to extend that period. Current Army policy, for example, is that mobilized reserve component troops will spend up to 12 months in theater, in addition to active duty time spent to train up, ship out and demobilize at the end of their tours.

And when reserve-component troops are called to active duty, Myers and Rumsfeld agree they need more notice than many have been getting.

"The system that is in place is designed for an industrial age, and as a result, a number of people were only given five, six, eight (or) 10 days’ notification of their call-up," Rumsfeld told the committee. "And that's just not respectful of them and their employers and their family. And we're fixing that system. We cannot do that to the Guard and Reserve in terms of activation."

"We can do a better job in providing predictability," Myers said. "We can do a better job in communicating when people will come on active duty and when they will be leaving active duty."

Myers said reserve-component units to be called to active duty for the next rotation already have been alerted and are preparing for their missions.

Reserve-component troops have “been doing great work all the way from combat operations to support operations. They're all over the theater," Abizaid said.

Myers said the war on terror demands that the military make maximum use of all its assets. "We are relying heavily on the reserve component," he said. "And you would expect to do that if you're a nation at war and the stakes are high."

Myers said his meetings with reserve-component troops, as well as with troops he met during his recent trip to Bosnia and Kosovo, confirm that they "couldn't be prouder of what they're doing," and that despite the sacrifices, they are committed to the cause.

Sen. Lloyd Bennett, an Appropriations Committee member from Utah, agreed, relaying a story about a guardsman from his state who had returned home on leave from his deployment in Iraq while his wife delivered twins.

"They were sitting there in the crowd with these two babies less than a week old, the wife holding one, the G.I. holding the other," Bennett said. "And in that meeting was a gentleman who wanted to make the point that everything (in Iraq) is disaster … that nothing's going well.

"This G.I holding this baby spoke up and said, 'I believe in the mission. I'm glad to be there. I'm leaving tomorrow, and I'm glad to be going back,'” Bennett said.

    Breaking Military News

Federal Times

Government News

DoD-Sourced News:

Stars & Stripes Magazine

Armed Forces News


Defense Commissaries

Tricare News




© Partnership Marketing Inc.
No Endorsement Implied