The U.S. Army Reserve will turn 106 years old Wednesday. Local Army reservists, active-duty and retired soldiers as well as elected leaders celebrated the occasion a week early with a proclamation signing Wednesday afternoon by Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas in the Hinesville Room at city hall.
Assisting Thomas with the cake cutting that followed the signing was Maj. Gen. Mike Murray, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division and Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield; Luis Carreras, Army Reserve ambassador for Georgia; retired Maj. Gen. James E. Donald, State Board of Pardons and Paroles member and president of the Georgia Association of the
U.S. Army; State Rep. Al Williams, D-Midway; and Hinesville Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier.
Also attending were Jane Murray, Brigit Carreras, Gabby Howard, Margarete Perry, Master Sgt. Kent Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Kight and Sgt. 1st Class Darrell Ford.
“I want to thank the mayor for his support and proclamation; also, our reservists and active-duty soldiers here today, as well as our other distinguished guests,” Carreras said. “I like to think of us as ‘one team’ — the active-duty Army, National Guard and Reserve. Of course, I’m sort of partial to the Reserve ... It would be nice if we could get the Pentagon to put a little more money in the budget for the Reserve.”
Ford, the Army Reserve recruiter for the Hinesville station, said the Reserve offers 148 military occupational skills that are transferable to the private sector. Although the active Army has to reduce the size of its force, he said the Reserve’s current force of 217,000 likely will increase.
“They’re telling us to recruit as many as we can,” Ford said. “We want to get as many of these soldiers leaving active duty as we can. We want to retain that training and combat experience.”
According to information provided by the Army Reserve Command, today’s Army Reserve’s history as a “federal citizen-soldier” force goes back well before the United States was an independent nation. It wasn’t until 1908, however, that the Congress established the Medical Reserve Corps, which became the predecessor of today’s Army Reserve. With the National Defense Act of 1920, the “Organized Reserve” officially was established as a separate institution that provides a peacetime force of trained, part-time officers and enlisted soldiers who can be called on in times of war.
What is now called the “Total Force Policy” began in 1970 under then Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Creighton Abrams. Carreras said the Reserve sometimes is linked, at least historically, with the National Guard. However, the Reserve has different capabilities and missions than the Guard, he said. The Reserve is intended to complement capabilities not found in the active Army, providing up to 75 percent of the key combat-support and combat-service-support units in recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The information provided points to a study conducted by the Army Continuing Education System. The study found that Army Reserve members hold nearly 75 percent of the total force’s doctorate and about half of its master’s degrees. These include support leadership in logistics, medical, engineering, military information and civil affairs.