The Army Guard and Reserve Have Different Missions and Masters

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 22, 1997 | Go to article overview

The Army Guard and Reserve Have Different Missions and Masters


I am writing in response to Maj. Jerry Sullivan's letter, "Round three: Army Reserve vs. National Guard" (Aug. 9).

I would like to congratulate Maj. Sullivan and the entire U.S. Army Reserve for being there during peacetime call-ups. This is not a battle between the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard or the Army. It is an understanding that if the Guard and Reserve are to be a part of the total force or America's Army, they must be have the proper resources to ensure they can perform the mission.

The Army Guard and Army Reserve have two separate missions and two different masters. Our Founding Fathers recognized the militia, as defined in the U.S. Constitution, and further defined it in the United States Code as the Army and Air National Guard and the Naval Militia. There is no mention of the Army Reserve, Coast Guard or Marines.

The militia - National Guard -was created so there would be large army of ready citizens but only a small standing active army. Why was there such fear of a large standing army? It was not driven by the budget - which is of great, if not paramount, concern in the current downsizing of our military forces - but the fear that during times of peace, a large standing Army could become dangerous to our liberty. You may think it could not happen here, but the Germans, Iranians and Iraqis might disagree. Freedom does not come easy or cheap. You have to want it, be willing to fight for it and be eternally vigilant to protect it.

The reason the Army Reserve is used to a far greater extent than the Army National Guard is because the active Army controls the Army Reserve. The Army National Guard answers to its state's governor or territory during peacetime, and is not under the total control of the active Army. …

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