Arlington Heights, Ill. -- The Citizen-Soldiers of the American Revolution were the precursors of Army Reserve Soldiers who proudly serve our country today. Since April 23, 1908, the federal Citizen-Soldiers of the Army Reserve have answered the call to duty in all of the nation’s major conflicts. Army Reserve Soldiers have also contributed to our national security through humanitarian and nation-building actions both overseas and at home. Today’s Army Reserve is ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century as it has in the past.
On Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 the Soldiers of the 85th Support Command and distinguished visitors: Maj. Gen. Warren E. Phipps, Jr., Commanding General, First Army Division West, Fort Hood, Texas; Brig. Gen. Gracus K. Dunn, Commanding General, 85th Support Command; Jack H. Kotter, Army Reserve Ambassador to Illinois; and Mayor Arlene J. Mulder, Village President of Arlington Heights, celebrated the Army Reserve’s 105th anniversary at the command’s headquarters about 25 miles northwest of Chicago.
Coincidentally, the 85th Infantry Division –today known as the 85th Support Command-- was organized only nine years after the birth of the Army Reserve. The 85th then entered World War I three years after the start of the war, as a very young division.
The ceremony at the Arlington Heights Reserve Center was held in their Warrior Training Center. This was a fitting portion to the day, as the Soldiers of the 85th had been conducting Army Warrior Task certification before the start of the celebration.
Additionally, Soldiers from the 85th Army Band brass quintet aided with music for the event. Performance pieces included: “Ruffles and Flourishes” at the opening of the ceremony, to pay honor to Phipps. Later in the celebration they performed “Happy Birthday” and concluded with the “The Army Song”.
Mulder has a long history with the 85th Support Command, and was more than honored to spend the 105th Army Reserve anniversary with them. Mulder stated in her remarks that the Village of Arlington Heights itself recently celebrated its 125th anniversary this year, and although the Village was older than the Army Reserve, the Army Reserve looked good for being 105.
“We’re very, very proud of this base”, said Mulder. “There was a time when it gave away part of the land so that we could have an 18-hole golf course. We were very pleased when this happened, and I was very pleased to be part of the planning committee for it.”
There is a lot of history to this land that we’re standing on, but most importantly is what happens on this land, said Mulder. The training, the preparation, and the commitment you make when you put your personal life on hold so that you can serve your country. This is being a Warrior Citizen.
This celebration was Mulder’s last event with the 85th Support Command, as she is retiring this year from her elected position as mayor. Mulder in the past 20 years has been with the 85th through all its transitions, and has always welcomed the Soldiers with open arms into her community as well.
Ambassador Jack H. Kotter paraphrased a slogan that was used as an ad several years ago, “you’ve come a long way baby”.
“I would like to say it as ‘we have come a long way’ “, Kotter said.
From the very beginning, 105 years ago, when the Reservists were just physicians and medical personnel they were first organized in the Army Reserve, so that they could be utilized in that capacity, said Kotter. Well things have changed, during the Cold War years, and the significance of the Army Reserve grew greatly. We were cap stoned to other organizations so that we all could go to the Northern Plains of Germany to defeat the enemy up there.
The Reserves went on from there and we have been even greater in the significance of our national defense, and with what the President wants us to do, added Kotter. When we went to Iraq, the "Big" Army realized that they couldn't go to war without us. For the last 10 years we have no longer been just a reserve, but an operational force. The President thinks that this is very significant in that we have come that far.
Phipps agreed with Kotter in his remarks that the Army Reserve definitely has come a long way, and that we are no longer considered a bi-component; we’re all Soldiers. Phipps stated that in his more than 30 years of service, every formation that he has stood in has always been integrated with active component and Army Reserve Soldiers.
“The Army recognized 105 years ago that we cannot raise an Army without an Army Reserve,” said Phipps. “Whether it’s filling in, in those key mobilization points throughout the United States, or serving in those key –combat service support and combat support-- roles; I notice all of those patches on the right sleeves and it’s an image of our Army. We’re all soldiers, we’re all proud to serve, let’s recognize the nobility of it, and let’s live to the honor that it also holds. Congratulations to you all, and the Army would not be without the Army Reserve.”
“For the 85th this celebration does really highlight who they are, having the Mayor of Arlington Heights, one of the Army Reserve Ambassadors of Illinois, and the Commanding General of Division-West to all come and visit,” said Dunn. “The 85th Soldiers touch so many lives in the community as citizen-soldiers; it only makes sense to have the community pay their respects to them.”
“Since 1908, men and women have embraced our nation’s call to duty in peace and in war. Supported by their families and communities, the Army Reserve Soldiers have been the strength of our Army and great nation at home and abroad,” said Dunn. “The Army Reserve track record is a life saving, life sustaining force for the Army and for the nation. It is extensive and it is distinguished.
Dunn closed the celebration by saying “the strength of our nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our Soldiers, the strength of our Soldiers is our families, and the strength of the Army Reserve is our community. We have come a long way in knowing that it’s not just the Soldier that participates in this program, but it’s the spouse, the family, and the community. Indeed in 105 years of evolution we have come a long, long way.”