The next time you see video of soldiers in Afghanistan, or most anywhere else, you should know they could be Army Reserve soldiers. You probably didn't know that. And, in fact, most people might not know that reservists have two jobs almost all the time. "I would say they don't, including many members of the active military. They're often surprised to hear that we have full-time civilian jobs, that we have to travel by plane to our Army Reserve unit," says Brigadier General Micheal Mann.
Michael Mann is a great example of what the Army Reserve means. As a civilian, he is an economist with the Commerce Department in Washington D.C. As a reservist, Brigadier General Mann's duty station is Army Materiel Command Headquarters at Redstone Arsenal. His job is to advise AMC Commander, General Dennis Via on Army Reserve affairs.
Put another way, he makes sure to remind the general what reservists can do to help the Army's largest command do its job. "Army reserve has most of the logistics capability in the Army, the medical and engineering, the only rail unit in the Army," says General Mann.
He also says reservists bring plenty to the Army table, but they shouldn't be seen as "extra" soldiers, but rather as soldiers. "Someone wouldn't know whether it's a reserve Army unit, or a full-time unit, because they are equally proficient," says General Mann.
There's one other thing the Brigadier General can certainly talk about, and that's the burden that reservists can help shoulder. "The active duty has been very busy over the past many years, and they're very engaged across the globe. So it's a big advantage to our nation's Army to have Army Reserve to step in and fill roles," says General Michael Mann.