The Navy Reserve is marking its centennial anniversary today with a series of events starting in Washington, D.C., and continuing at installations around the country during the year.
The events will highlight the history of the Navy Reserve and the contributions Reserve sailors have made to the nation’s security.
“Our Centennial commemoration is a truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to highlight the Reserve sailors for their service and that of their families to America,” said Vice Admiral Robin Braun. “We want to recognize our rich history and heritage with all of our sailors, both past and present.”
Congress authorized the establishment of the Federal Naval Reserve on March 3, 1915. The only sailors eligible to enroll were enlisted Navy veterans. On Aug. 29, 1916, with the prospect of America’s entry into World War I, the Navy Reserve reorganized to allow the enrollment of non-veterans and was designated as the U.S. Naval Reserve Force.
When the U.S. entered World War I, there were 8,000 sailors serving in the Navy Reserve Force. When the fighting ended, more than 250,000 Reserve sailors were on active duty, which was more than half of the war-time Navy. These sailors included 12,000 pioneering women, who were all released from active duty by 1920 not to serve again until World War II.
During World War II, the Navy Reserve contributed 84 percent of the Navy’s manpower. Navy Reserve Sailors in World War II included five future U.S. presidents — John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush — and 15 recipients of the Medal of Honor.
More than 22,000 Reserve sailors were mobilized for the first Gulf War in the first post-Cold War test of the Force, and since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been more than 70,000 Selected Reserve mobilizations, along with an additional 4,500 deployments by Full Time Support Sailors, including more than 8,000 who have done a second combat tour.
Navy Reserve Sailors deliver essential skills and capabilities to the Navy and Joint Forces wherever and whenever needed. They possess in-depth knowledge and experience that complement critical Navy missions and provide best-practices, technical skills, process management and demonstrated leadership from vastly different work cultures to the Navy.
With nearly one quarter of the Navy Reserve Force providing support to the active duty Navy on any given day, today’s Navy Reserve is the most combat and operationally experienced Force in decades.
For information about centennial events, as well as the history and heritage of the Navy Reserve, please visit www.navyreservecentennial.com.