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Reservists on the Move in Europe and Stateside

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 1995 – Eleven Army Reserve units in Germany and Italy began mobilizing today in support of NATO's peace operation in Bosnia Joint Endeavor.

Reservists from 12 stateside Army Reserve and National Guard units will begin moving Dec. 14 from their home stations to Fort Dix, N.J. or Fort Benning, Ga., for training before going overseas.

This is the third time in five years reserve component members are being called to active duty, according to Deborah Lee, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs.

About 3,800 reservists and National Guardsmen are being called up for Joint Endeavor. Nearly a quarter of a million reserve component service members were called up during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. About 3,000 were called for operations in Haiti.

Dec. 8, 1995, President Clinton authorized the callup of 3,388 Army, 171 Navy, 100 Marine Corps and 141 Air Force reserve component members for up to 270 days about nine months of active duty.

"At this time, only the Army projects the need to actually utilize the authority for the involuntary callup," Lee said. "The other services believe they can fulfill their needs based solely on the scheduling of volunteers. So they intend to work voluntarily to the hilt for the time being, but they can rely on those numbers as well for the future should they need them."

About 950 of the 3,800 reserve component members being called up will actually go to Bosnia, Lee said. The other 2,850 will serve in Europe as backfill for the active component units moving to Bosnia, Lee said.

Reserve component personnel going into Bosnia will receive cold weather and mine awareness training once they arrive in Europe, Lee said. "Reserve component troops will receive exactly the same training that the active duty soldiers receive," she said.

In Bosnia, reserve component personnel will provide support in civil affairs, psychological operations, public affairs, medical, communications and water purification. Reserve members remaining in Europe will work as military police, in finance, logistics, transportation, public affairs and medical fields.

At this point, Lee said, reserve officials are projecting two sixmonth rotations. Units will serve six months overseas and then be replaced by another reserve unit. During operations in Haiti and Desert Storm reserve component personnel were originally called for 180 days, but the law has since changed to a 270day presidential callup, Lee said. This allows for a sixmonth deployment with time for training before units are deployed and time afterward to demobilize, she said.

Reserve component members have already played a significant role in operations in Bosnia during the last two years, Lee said. "We have had Air Force Reserve, National Guard and Naval Reserve fighter, airlift and tanker units flying critical supplies into Sarajevo and helping to reinforce the nofly zone over Bosnia for a number of years now," she said.

Naval Reserve medical personnel supported a 60bed hospital as part of operation Provide Promise in Croatia. Air National Guard chaplains have rotated teams into Pisa, Italy, at 15 and 30day intervals to support troops involved in operation Deny Flight. A Serbian Orthodox Air Force Reserve chaplain served as a resource on religion and culture for the negotiating teams during peace negotiations at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.

To improve support for reserve component families while the units are overseas, Lee said DoD for the first time issued an instruction making it a command responsibility to develop family readiness plans. Units are now required to give family briefings as part of mobilization training, distribute information on all benefits and entitlements to reserve component members and their families, and establish a single point of contact at the unit for family requests for information and referral.

"I will tell you this family readiness program is a change over what we had during Desert Storm and, for that matter, in Haiti," Lee said. "During Desert Storm, we learned that our family assistance programs for the reserves were spotty at best, and so we've been working ever since to improve upon that situation."

Reserve component personnel are normally parttime service members; when they return from the active duty mission, Lee said, they have the right to go back to their old job and they have the right to expect the same level of seniority and rate of pay. These are provisions of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, she said.

The reserve components' integration as part of the Total Force Policy began 25 years ago, Lee said. As a result, today's reserve components are considered active players in DoD's stateside and worldwide operations.

"In this busy postCold War world in which we live, I think it's becoming pretty obvious to one and all that the reserves are no longer the backup force of last resort as they frequently were viewed during the Cold War," she said. "They're no longer the forces that get called up only in the event of a major global war, but rather today's National Guard and Reserve are being counted upon more and more to respond quickly and decisively to the entire array of missions that our country runs on a daily basis."

(NOTE TO EDITORS: A related story, #9512, President Clinton Authorizes Reserve Callup, was released Dec. 13.)

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