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Happy birthday "citizen Sailor".

March 3, 2009, marks the 94th birthday of the Navy Reserve Force. Today, some 67,000 Selected Reservists and nearly 54,000 Individual Ready Reservists have taken up the calling. They serve in all 50 states, drilling from a total of 128 Navy operational support centers (NOSC) split into five regional Reserve component commands (RCC). They are fully integrated in every aspect of the Navy and often mobilized at the tip of the spear in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mobilization has become even more commonplace for the Reserve force since Sept. 11, 2001. A concept of total force has started forming, integrating the active with the Reserve to increase combat readiness.

The vision of a total integrated force is one that Commander, Navy Reserve Force Vice Adm. Dirk Debbink feels strongly about.

"Our Reserve Sailors are truly dedicated to fulfilling our vision of 'Support to the Fleet, Ready and Fully Integrated.' I feel privileged to be working for each of them," Debbink said. "The focus for our force is three-fold: support to the fleet, support to our Sailors and support to their families."

Reserve Force Master Chief (FMF) Ronney Wright agrees.

"Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 52,000 mobilization requirements in support of global war on terrorism operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom have been filled by Selected Reservists," said Wright. "On any given day, more than 17,000 of the 68,000 Navy Reservists are providing fully integrated, global operational support to the fleet and combatant commanders. Critical skill sets include cargo handling, special warfare, customs inspectors, medical support, intelligence, aviation and myriad mobilization assignments."

With a fully integrated Reserve component, there is seamless service provided to the support of the maritime strategy. At any given time, up to 30 percent of the Navy Reserve is providing global operational support.

Reserve Sailors like Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gino Flores have had firsthand experience in active-Reserve integration. Flores mobilized to active duty twice; once to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2008 and once to Kuwait in 2005. He credits his Reserve training in helping him prepare for the tasks he faced during his mobilization.

"In the Reserve, we are constantly reviewing and updating training requirements that may be applicable to real world situations," said Flores, who drills with the Public Affairs Center in Jacksonville, Fla. "In being mobilized to active duty, we have the opportunity to put that training into practice. You become a valuable asset to your unit."

The skills that many citizen Sailors bring from their civilian job make a positive impact to the military mission.

"The integration of the Reserve component with the active component becomes an essential tool allowing the Navy and Defense Department to meet ongoing operational commitments," Wright said.

Story by MC2 Ryan Hill, editor The Navy Reservist magazine
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Title Annotation:Navy Reserve Force
Author:Hill, Ryan
Publication:All Hands
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2009
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