Among the US military community, National Guard and Reserve units play a unique role as a citizen soldiers. From combat deployments to domestic natural diasters, their duties are varied and often unexpected. AHRN.com guest contributor and auther Kim Suchek offers an insight into the challenges exerienced by the service members and families of the Guard and Reserves.
When Guard or Reserve units are called to active duty, they are under Title 10 U.S.C. 12304. This order happens when the President determines it is necessary to augment the active forces for any operational mission for over 365 days. Prior to the 2007 Military Authorization Act for Reserve/Guard maximum changed from 270 to 365 days. This is known as Presidential Selected Reserve Call-Up (PSRC) authority. For reference regarding other federal call up titles go to https://usmilitary.about.com/.
I wish to highlight how the U.S. is served by the Merchant Marine. This is an awesome fleet of merchant ships operated by either the government or private sector that are engaged in commerce or transportation of goods during peacetime. It is an auxiliary of the Navy and during wartime can be called upon to deliver troops and war material. Those who serve in the Merchant Marine are called Mariners (not Marines). They are civilians who are only considered military personnel during times of war. Mariners are honored and given Veteran status if they have served in a war.
Although we’re certainly not the first generation of military families to deal with the continuation and aftermath of war, I want everyone to realize this war has lasted longer than America’s involvement in WWII, Korean War and Vietnam. And understanding the different branches of military and how it effects the transitioning back into the civilian world STARTS with understand the specifics of their branch and what they leave behind. When Reserve or Guard deploys multiple times this can effect areas regular branches do not face.
I am NOT saying one branch is affected more than another; again I am stating they all have their trials and tribulations. Understanding has to start at the beginning… what is expected within their branch.
After more than a decade of fighting, even the most faithful supporters are moving on with their lives, with few thoughts of the service members still serving. With our economy the way it is and a continuation of a war dragged out, a war many have forgotten reasons for which it’s being fought and many questioning why our country is there at all. Do we blame them? I say to you, their leadership and our communities: understanding your military isn’t just about ensuring military readiness, it’s a moral imperative.
Never has this country asked so much of so few for so long. And most of our service members have never asked for our gratitude—they never really expected it. They just ask for our respect and understanding of their service and the sacrifices’ not only they make but their families and their community as a whole.
We want to know
Have you experienced a Guard or Reserve activation? What challenges did it bring to your family?
Meet Your Contributor:
Kimberly Suchek is the author of: Operation Military Resources, which is a book full of over 1500+ resources for all branches of military and their families. She writes a weekly column for Star & Stripes, and is a speaker and freelance writer for various other magazines, blogs and newspapers.