SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- A standing-room-only crowd of nearly 400 service members, invited guests and dignitaries welcomed Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. Robin Braun as she arrived at Fleet Logistics Support Squadron's (VR) 57 hangar on Naval Air Station North Island to speak about the contributions Navy Reserve Sailors made to the fleet over the last 100 years in celebration of the Navy Reserve Centennial.
"It's an honor to be the chief of Navy Reserve during the centennial and to be able to say 'thank you' to those veterans who served, the Sailors who are currently serving and our next generation, people like the young men and women who took the oath of enlistment with me on Jimmy Fallon," said Braun.
Braun was referring to her March 4 appearance on the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, where she led the oath of enlistment for 50 Navy Reserve Sailor recruits, then made Fallon (whose father served in the Navy Reserve) an honorary Reserve Sailor.
As part of her efforts to promote the Navy Reserve Centennial, Braun made appearances on Fox & Friends, Good Morning America and KUSI-TV News in San Diego earlier this week.
The centennial celebration in San Diego is fitting, as the city's relationship with the Navy dates back to April 1908 and has grown to accommodate the Navy's largest base on the Pacific coast, with more than 1,700 Reserve Sailors performing monthly drills at Navy Operational Support Center North Island alone.
History Professor Iris Engstrad, University of San Diego, discussed the importance of the Navy in San Diego.
"Franklin D. Roosevelt was a long-time promoter of San Diego as a naval base," said Engstrad. "In fact, his first visit came during the 1915 exposition held at Balboa Park. In 1934, during the height of the Depression, Roosevelt approved funding to expand the Navy's presence in San Diego. This presence led to an influx of new residents and an economic recovery from the Depression. Since then, the city has served as a welcoming environment for all members of the military, especially the Navy including Reserve Sailors."
Elaborating on Engstrad's historical perspective, Braun explained the role that teamwork plays in supporting the Navy's mission.
"Nobody does this by themselves," said Braun. "Everybody has the support of family members, employers and shipmates who help them along the way. So the Navy Reserve is really like a family. We all work together as a team to support the Navy's mission. The yearlong celebration is for not only the Reserve Sailor, but their family members and employers as well."
Over the last century, Navy Reserve Sailors have participated in every major conflict involving the United States to include the following contributions made since March 3, 1915, when Congress passed legislation appropriating funds for the Naval Reserve Force:
* 250,000 Navy Reserve Sailors participated in World War I
* 84 percent of the Navy consisted of Reserve Sailors during World War II
* The conflict in Korea saw 170,000 Reserve Sailors mobilized
* 20,000 Navy Reserve Sailors were activated during the first Gulf War
* Five Navy Reserve Sailors went on to serve as the president of United States (John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford and George H.W. Bush)
* The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 15 Navy Reserve Sailors
With a rich 100-year history, Braun explained the Navy Reserve remains an integral component of the fleet and looks forward to what is yet to come.
"As the Navy transforms to meet future demands so too will the Navy Reserve, building on the readiness and operational experience gained over the past decade and a half," said Braun. "As the Navy studies how best to man and train the fleet to operate new platforms and hardware to meet emerging missions, the Navy Reserve stands ready to support. Ready then, ready now, always."
For more information about the Navy Reserve Centennial visit http://navyreservecentennial.com/. Learn more about the Navy Reserve at www.navyreserve.navy.mil.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, visit www.navy.mil/local/pacensandiego/.