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NEWS | May 10, 2019

History of the Navy Reserve

By Lt. Russell Chilcoat

VIDEO | 08:01 | History of the Navy Reserve

The history of the Navy Reserve is a proud legacy forged by dedicated men and women who, when duty called, were willing to leave their homes, put civilian careers on hold, and serve in defense of our Nation.

At the beginning of World War I, a young Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, anticipated the need for a federal maritime reserve force and began to urge Congress to enact legislation to accomplish this goal. On March 3, 1915 the United States Naval Reserve was officially established, and by the war’s end, over 250,000 Reserve Sailors were serving. During World War II, 84% of the 3.4 million Sailors serving on active duty came from the Navy Reserve — including five future U.S. Presidents.

From Korea to Vietnam, the Gulf War to Iraq and Afghanistan, and humanitarian missions like Katrina and Haiti, Reserve Sailors have continued to answer our nation’s call, providing strategic depth and critical expertise to the Navy, Marine Corps and Joint Force.

For the past 105 year history, Navy Reserve Citizen Sailors have set aside civilian lives to proudly serve in defense of the country. They’ve manned the rails in service to their nation — creating and maintaining a proud heritage and history built on the Navy core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

The Navy Reserve is a force of highly experienced Sailors who come from all walks of life. They include teachers, engineers, business owners, medical professionals, construction workers, pilots and police officers. Their specialized knowledge and skills complement and enhance the ability of the Navy to successfully execute its mission, making the Navy Reserve a key element of America’s maritime defense strategy.

As the Navy Reserve continues to sail into its second century of service, its mission to support the Navy remains vital. Whether mobilizing for overseas contingency operations, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, or supporting the fleet’s forward presence requirements, Reserve Sailors are trained and ready — anytime and anywhere our country needs them.