What's in a symbol?

Symbols are one of the most powerful communication tools that have ever existed. They have the ability to convey so much meaning, purpose and significance in such a small, and in many cases, instantly recognizable form.  Their impact is great and can create unity and strength when needed. A symbol has the power to strike fear in one’s soul, promote love and understanding, or fill your heart with pride. Cultures throughout history have relied on symbols to generate meaning; whether for religious, political, economic, or social motivation. Symbols can empower a community or instill enough strength in an individual to carry on when all hope seems lost.
For the Army Reserve, one such symbol is the Army Reserve crest. The Army Reserve crest depicts the image of John Parker, which became the official Army Reserve symbol on 8 July 1922, in a War Department memorandum. A portion of the memo clearly states that intent:
"The crest for all of the units of the Organized Reserves will be the Minute Man, the Statue of Captain John Parker by H. H. Kitson, which faces the common in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Minute Man represents the American Cincinnatus, the citizen soldier.”
        The Lexington Minuteman Statue                       Army Reserve Crest
click here to learn more                     click here to learn more
about the Lexington Minuteman           about the Army Reserve Crest
Since 1923, all Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE) color-bearing organizations (regiments and separate battalions) of the Organized Reserves, now known as the Army Reserve, have used this Lexington Minute Man crest above the eagle’s head on their flags. Also, since the introduction of the Armed Forces Reserve Medal for the Organized Reserves in 1950, the reverse side shows this Lexington Minute Man crest with thirteen stars. The Minute Man statue of Captain John Parker continues to be the official recognized symbol for the Army Reserve and the crest can be found in many formats...  
328th Field Artillery Battalion Flag   411 Engineer Battalion Coat of Arms   Armed Forces Reserve Medal
   328th Field Artillery Battalion                   411 Engineer BN                Armed Forces Reserve Medal
                                                              Coat of Arms
...including the larger than life wall plaques found in the VIP entrance located at the U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C.
click on each plaque to learn more  
Organized Reserve Corps PlaqueStrength In Reserve Plaque
The National Defense Act of 1916 established, by statute, the Army of the United States as, "the Regular Army, the Volunteer Army, the Officer's Reserve Corps, the Enlisted Reserve Corps, the National Guard while in service of the United States, and such other land forces as are now or may hereafter be authorized by law". The following year, in 1917, the Medical Reserve Corps, which was the initial Reserve organization, merged with the Officer’s Reserve Corp. By 1920, an amendment to the National Defense Act of 1916, further defined and streamlined the Army, “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Army of the United States shall consist of the Regular Army, the National Guard while in the service of the United States, and the Organized Reserves, including the Officers’ Reserve Corps and the Enlisted Reserve Corps”. The Organized Reserves was interchangeably called the Organized Reserve Corps from 1920 until 1952 when the organization changed once again.
During the Korean Conflict, Congress began making significant changes in the structure and role of the Organized Reserves, resulting in the Armed Forces Reserve Act of 1952, and the transformation of the Organized Reserves to the United States Army Reserve (USAR). The Officer's Reserve Corps and the Enlisted Reserve Corps were legally eliminated, redefining the U.S. Army Reserve as the Ready Reserve, Standby Reserve, and the Retired Reserve. 
As the Army Reserve became progressively more involved in combat support and combat service support, it wasn't long before Congress established the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve (OCAR) within the Army Staff, which was also to give Army Reserve Soldiers a voice on their behalf. Eventually, the United States Army Reserve Command (USARC) was created in October 1990. 
As the U.S. Army Reserve developed, so did it's symbols,  
To learn more about the Army Reserve symbols, click on the symbols below…
      Army Reserve Logo       USARC Shoulder Sleeve Insignia: Double Eagle        USARC Distinctive Unit Insignia
 Click on the document 
for a full PDF file version:Capt John Parker deposition of the Battle at Lexington 
                   Deposition of Captain John Parker dated 25 April 1775,
                   concerning the Battle at Lexington, (ARC Identifier: 595246)
                  Massachusetts State Papers, 1775-1787;
                  Records of the Continental and Confederation 
                  Congresses and the Constitutional Convention,
                  1765-1821; Record Group 360; National Archives
 JOHN PARKER                          
Captain John Parker, a soldier, farmer and woodworker was born on 13 July 1729. According to family legend, he had an extensive military background as a veteran of the French and Indian War, served in famed Rogers Rangers and participated in the capture of Louisburg in 1758 and Quebec in 1759. Captain Parker is famous for commanding the Lexington Militia at the opening shots of the American Revolution at the Battle of Lexington on 19 April 1775. Parker is purported to have said:
                “Stand your ground, do not fire unless fired upon, but, if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
Parker survived the encounter on Lexington Green to record his testimony about the battle. Although terminally ill with tuberculosis, he continued his military service during the Siege of Boston until he died on 17 September 1775 at the age of forty-six. Today, Parker symbolizes the fortitude of the citizen soldier and appears on the logo of the United States Army Reserve.



 For more information concerning U.S. heraldic entitlements, check out The Institute of Heraldry

 To learn more about the history of the Army Reserve check out our Publications, or for a quick history...Army Reserve A Concise History