By Sandi Gohn
Founded on April 23, 1908, the Army Reserve is a diverse group of dedicated citizen-soldiers who serve part-time in the military while simultaneously maintaining a civilian career and lifestyle.
We dug up 10 need-to-know facts about this group of civilian soldiers. Take a look:
1. Army reservists who have been called to active duty and have served for 10 or more years are eligible to receive the Armed Forces Reserve Medal.
The medal, which can be awarded to reservists from any branch, was originally created by President Harry Truman in 1950 to acknowledge the pivotal role they play in the nation’s defense. Today, reservists who have served for multiple decades or have participated in certain conflicts are eligible to receive additional accommodations, called “devices,” on the medal ribbon.
2. Actor Leonard Nimoy, who grew to fame in the role as Spock on the television series “Star Trek,” enlisted in the reserve in 1953 and served 18 months, leaving as a sergeant.
3. More than one famous face served in the Army Reserve.
Alan Alda, who is best known for playing Hawkeye on the television series “M.A.S.H.,” was in the Army ROTC program during his undergraduate studies at Fordham University and later served as an Army Reserve artillery officer upon graduation. During his years in the military, Alda deployed to Korea, serving six months on the ground during the Korean War. Alda, who is now 83, was recently honored at the 2019 Screen Actor Guild Awards with the year’s Life Achievement Award.
4. Army reservists come from all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., Saipan, Guam, Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
There are even reservists in Korea, Germany and Italy.
5. As of 2021, over 188,000 men and women serve as “weekend warriors.”
Together as part of the Army Reserve, their 2,075 units account for roughly 20% of the entire U.S. Army’s fighting force.
6. During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Army reservists had an additional reason to cheer on team USA.
1st Army Lt. Sam Kendricks, a pole vaulter and Army reservist, gained the admiration of thousands when he stopped mid-attempt during a preliminary round to stand attention for the national anthem. Kendricks went on to win a bronze medal later in the games.
7. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Army reservists have been deployed to every major combat zone and to 30 countries.
They’ve also fought in WWI, WWII, the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
8. During Hurricane Harvey, which caused catastrophic damage and historical flooding in Houston in 2017, Army reservists were among the first responders.
Soldiers conducted rescues, housed stranded individuals, delivered supplies and worked hand-in-hand with local authorities for weeks to help communities recover from the storm.
9. Capt. Deshauna Barber, who currently serves in the Army Reserve, became the first and only service member to win the Miss USA title in 2016.
10. The Army Reserve is more diverse than its Guard or active-duty counterparts.
-This story originally appeared on USO.org in 2019. It has been updated in 2021.
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