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April 23 – Army Reserve Birthday

April 23, 1908

Today is the Army Reserves’ birthday. Do you know the history behind the Army Reserves?

On April 23, 1908, Congress created the Medial Reserve Corps, the official predecessor of the Army Reserve. Following World War I, under the National Defense Act of 1920, Congress reorganized the United States land forces by authorizing a Regular Army, a National Guard, and an Organized Reserve (Officer Reserve Corps and Enlisted Reserve Corps) of thirty-five divisions, which later became the Army Reserve. This provided a peacetime pool of trained Reserve officers and enlisted men for use in war.

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the number of Army Reserve officers on active duty rose from less than 3,000 to more than 57,000. This war signified the beginning of a new era in national security, and from that point the United States became the “world guardian” and “arsenal of democracy,” a new mission in which the Army Reserve would play a major role. To assist in the cost of maintaining such a large military force, Congress relied heavily on establishing and sustaining a combat ready Army reserve to deploy with the Active Army worldwide if the need arose.

In 1948 Congress authorized retirement and drill pay for the first time after recognizing the importance of the Organized Reserve to American success during World War II. The Korean War saw more than 240,000 Army Reserve soldiers called to active duty. This large number reflected the need for an organized, trained personnel in a short period of time. While this conflict was still underway, Congress began making significant changes to the structure and role of the Army Reserve. Such changes transformed the Organized Reserve Corps into the United States Army Reserve, divided into a Ready Reserve, Standby Reserve and Retired Reserve.