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NEWS | July 30, 2020

From the Top - Reserve Resiliency

By Vice Adm. Luke M. McCollum, Chief of Navy Reserve

It has been over six months now since COVID-19 emerged and subsequently became a global pandemic. The crisis hit the United States particularly hard, sending most of the country into quarantine starting in March, and deaths in the country exceeded 100,000 by late May. Our ready Reserve force, a key contributor to the military’s response, quickly mobilized to help fight the invisible enemy, and ease the burden on the civilian healthcare system. At the height of the emergency more than 1,600 members were on active duty orders. I cannot thank every one of them enough for selflessly leaving their families and going into harm’s way to care for citizens in cities often far from home.

In fact, every single one of you should be proud of your response to the pandemic whether you mobilized or not. As the pandemic impacted every facet of American life over the last several months, you responded with resiliency and reliability — from maintaining readiness and training remotely, to teleworking and attending virtual drill weekends
— often while diligently caring for family at home. You demonstrated selfless leadership by also checking on your shipmates at a time that we needed each other the most. I commend all of you for your steadfastness, but there was never any doubt you were ready for the challenge.

COVID-19 also presented an opportunity to implement the Distributed Mobilization (DM) concept nearly nine months earlier than planned. We established DM in order to create greater throughput and limit the number of stops between your home and place of duty. With DM, your Navy Operational Support Centers performed most of the activation process and, in this case virtually, sent you directly to your duty station demonstrating greater speed and agility. The lessons learned from putting DM in action will pay huge dividends for the future.

As the public and private sector slowly emerged from quarantine, Naval Sea Systems Command identified a critical backlog of unfinished work at the shipyards. The Reserve Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) community is distinctively qualified to fill such a role, and nearly 1,600 members are beginning to mobilize to meet this warfighting gap. The article in this issue on SurgeMain shows why this is such an important skillset our Reserve team brings to the fight. Thank you SurgeMain!

In another sign of our new normal, the 2019 Reserve Sailor of the Year (RSOY) was announced through a livestream broadcast event. Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical) 1st Class Amanda Alcantar, assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron Five Eight (VR-58), Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, was selected from five outstanding finalists as the 2019 top Reserve force enlisted Sailor. The margin between the finalists was very thin. Every Sailor who makes it to the RSOY selection is already a winner. Their achievements are a mosaic of their employers, families, careers and sacrifice. They exemplify the best of our Navy Reserve’s
strategic depth. Congratulations to all!
Next month I will turn over leadership of the Navy Reserve. The last four years have been the highlight of my Navy career. Without question, getting out and meeting so many of you made my role as Chief of Navy Reserve so rewarding and enjoyable. Your eye watering accomplishments and dedication will be the guideposts that I will remember. It has been a complete honor to serve with all of you. I thank you and your families for your dedicated service to our Nation and wish you well in the future!

Vice Adm. Luke M. McCollum
Chief of Navy Reserve