The Army Reserve at War and Marching to the Future

By Helmly, James R. | Army, October 2003 | Go to article overview

The Army Reserve at War and Marching to the Future


Helmly, James R., Army


'Twice the Citizen'

"You're out here because your country needs you. But you love it because the troops need you-Army, Army Reserve, Air Force, Navy, Marines, whoever it may be. We've seen a lot of casualties, a lot of people in pain, but when they see us, they're happy. They know they're getting out of there."

-Spc. Paul T. Nakamura, 437th Medical Company, Killed in Action, Al Iskandariyah, Iraq, on June 19, 2003

Spc. Nakamura was one of the thousands of Army Reserve soldiers mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He, like his fellow Army Reserve soldiers, trained and prepared for the day he would be called on to use his skills in war, contributing his knowledge, expertise and skills to the warfight. His story of service is like so many other soldiers except for one thing-he made the ultimate sacrifice on June 19, 2003, when the ambulance he was operating, the same vehicle in which he proudly performed his duties transporting fellow soldiers to receive lifesaving medical aid, was attacked by Iraqi insurgents, and he was mortally wounded. Despite his father's concerns about enlisting, Spc. Nakamura was intent on joining the Army Reserve. His motivation was patriotism. His mother recalled the day he told his parents, "Mom, Dad, I'm so proud I was born in the United States."

Spc. Nakamura, like so many other soldiers in the Army Reserve, was representative of America. Our soldiers come from every cultural heritage and represent all religious denominations. They are doctors, lawyers, law enforcement professionals, teachers, administrators, salesmen, factory workers and students.

They represent the fabric of a free society. What makes them different from their next-door neighbors though, is the fact that they have an uncommon commitment to serve their country and defend freedom. They are "twice the citizen."

"Twice the citizen," the motto of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, reflects the commitment that Army Reserve soldiers have made to follow the example of their forefathers to lay down the plow and pick up the musket when their nation calls them to service. Today, that same spirit of sacrifice, courage, loyalty and commitment is alive and strong across the Army Reserve. The history of the Army Reserve is replete with examples of the service of Army Reserve soldiers and units defending the nation's interests in every war of the 20th century. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, our soldiers are demonstrating that same dedication, sacrifice and courage. just as each war of the 20th century was different, so, too, is the global war on terrorism different. These differences directly and profoundly affect the Army Reserve, its soldiers, civilian employees and family members.

As the Army end strength and structure were reduced during the last decade of the 20th century, the Army Reserve role changed dramatically from that of a force in reserve to a full partner in daily operations around the world. The Army Reserve assumed the de facto role of an auxiliary of the Army, performing specialized, skill-rich support functions that allowed the Army to focus its attention and active duty strength on those functions that demand an intensity of training and preparation that can only be provided through daily practice.

Even as the size, structure and composition of the Army Reserve and the Army's active component were dramatically changing from 1989 through 1998, little changed with the way in which the Army Reserve planned to accomplish its responsibilities. Army Reserve organization, training, personnel management, support and use (mobilization) remained as it had been during the Cold War, a force organized and trained to mobilize over a long period of time, on a linear scale, using a sequential process that emphasized mass over time, achieving wartime preparedness after mobilization. Further, it was a force that operated somewhat autonomously within the Army, performing its own internal base operations, facilities, and personnel and information support. …

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