Lawton_From a small group of doctors to an army of more than 200,000 strong, the US Army Reserve celebrated 100 years of service to the nation on Wednesday. The reserves are made up of soldiers who often have the same military commitments as active duty soldiers. They go through basic training along with full-time soldiers, and even get deployed overseas - all while holding down everyday jobs. Since these "citizen soldiers" first formed in 1906, their numbers have grown to the hundreds of thousands - and, they do it all - from combat medicine to combat on the ground.
Seargent Major Mary Fuller says the reserve isn't the same as when she joined. "It's not the 'One weekend of the month, two weeks in the year,' she says. "We're an army of one now." She says the reserve is a good thing. In fact, nearly half of the Army's supporting units , from military police to ground transportation, come from the Army Reserve.
Fuller says they've been through some major changes over the years. "It's a major significant milestone [100 years anniversary] in the Army Reserves history, because we've had such a transition from what we originally started out."
Reserve Sergeant First Class Jeff Garner says the reserve is used to move soldiers and equipment in times of war. This way, the Army doesn't have to reduce active duty soldiers during peacetime - and the reservists get to go back to their civilian jobs after their work is done. "Our active-duty brethren could not sustain themselves without our support," he says.
Garner says he's proud to be a part of such a historic organization. "It just gives you a great sense of pride," he says. "You wake up every morning with a smile on your face, makes you stick your chest out a little bit, walk a little taller..."