On Aug. 29, the Marine Corps Reserve will celebrate its 100th birthday. Throughout its history, the Reserve has augmented and reinforced the Marines' presence in both World Wars, Korea, Desert Storm, and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Reserve Marines go through the same intense training and live up to the same standards that active duty Marines do. However, Reserves train part time, which allows them to maintain civilian careers and education paths outside of their training. When the training period is over, Reserves spend the remainder of their eight-year commitment in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). In IRR, Reserve Marines aren't obligated to take part in military activities unless their unit is called in to support active duty Marines. In the community, Reserve Marines carry out the Marines' community service programs such as Toys For Tots.
History Of The Reserves
As the U.S. prepared to enter WWI, the need for additional troops grew. The Reserve Force was officially created Aug. 29, 1916 to fulfill this need. Throughout the war, the number of Reserve Marines grew from 35 to more than 6,400. This number included more than 300 women. After the war, the numbers dwindled considerably, but many still saw the need for a strong Reserve Force in case of another war. Following WWI, the reserves continued to support the Marines in crucial times:
- Throughout the Great Depression, the force grew to more than 10,000 Reserve Marines. At the time, they were only paid for an annual two-week summer camp and had to purchase their own uniforms. Their dedication, despite the lack of pay, is what kept the Reserves going during the Depression.
- During WWII, the Marine Forces grew to approximately 590,000. Roughly 70 percent of these troops were Marine Reserves.
- Of the 82 Marines to receive the Medal of Honor during WWII, 44 were in the Reserves.
- More than 19,000 women joined the Reserves during WWII, where they worked as truck drivers, mechanics, electricians, cryptographers and photographers. This freed up more men to fight in combat roles, which weren't open to women at the time.
- During the Korean War, the first mass mobilization of Reserve Marines occurred. Roughly 50 percent of the Marine force was made up of Reserves.
- The Reserves' involvement in Desert Storm allowed 99.5 percent of active duty Marines to deploy when called, a greater percentage than any other service branch.
- In post-9/11 wars, every Reserve unit has been activated at least once to strengthen the Marine Force.
- Today there are more than 38,000 Selected Marine Corps Reserves and 70,000 IRR Marines.
Give Back To Veterans On The Reserves' Anniversary
Veterans of all active duty and reserve branches of the military have made countless sacrifices throughout our nation's history. A great way to say thank you is through donating your car to Vehicles For Veterans. Car donations to Vehicles For Veterans benefit programs that help disabled veterans. In return, donors receive free towing and the maximum possible tax deduction. If you have a car you'd like to put to better use, donate it today by calling 1-855-811-4838 or filling out an online car donation form.