Marine Forces Reserve
The largest command in the Corps, the mission of Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES) is to augment and reinforce active Marine forces in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations, provide personnel and operational tempo relief for the active forces in peacetime, and provide service to the community. Equipped and trained to the same rigorous standards as active Marine forces, to include joint operations, Marine Forces Reserve will be trained and educated to the highest levels, and provide rapid response when called upon. As versatile Continental Marines, Marine Forces Reserve will be ever-ready to alleviate the intense personnel and operational tempo of active forces in peacetime.
Marine Forces Reserve, located in New Orleans, Louisiana, is the Headquarters command for all the Marine Reservists and Reserve units located throughout the United States. It is commanded by a Major General with a Brigadier General serving as his Deputy Commander. The MARFORRES staff provides policy, guidance, direction and support to 104,000 Reserve Marines all across the United States. The four Major Subordinate Commands of MARFORRES are the 4th Marine Division (4th MARDIV), the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing (4th MAW), the 4th Force Service Support Group (4th FSSG), and the Marine Corps Reserve Support Command (MCRSC) in Kansas City.
As of January 2005 MARFORRES consisted of more than 98,000 reservists. Of these, nearly 40,000 were in the Selected Reserve, in 289 units at 185 sites across the country. Another 58,000 were in the Individual Ready Reserve, Marines who were not affiliated with a local reserve unit and do not attend drills. They are available for mobilization, if needed.
The Reserve of the United States Marine Corps, since its establishment by law in 1916, has been responsible for providing trained units and qualified individuals to be mobilized for active duty in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations. Serving with great distinction for the past 81 years, in every clime and place, Reserve Marines have regularly operated alongside the Active Component in the two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm and several other conflicts. During Operation Desert Shield, Headquarters Marine Corps activated 80 units of the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, or about 54.7 percent of 4th Division-Wing team personnel. This was the first significant call-up of Marine Reservists since the 1950-53 Korean War and the first deployment of Reserve units individually since World War II. In addition, a total of 7,058 Individual Ready Reservists and 537 Retired Reservists received orders to active duty. Unlike other services, the Marine Corps adhered to a policy of not mobilizing Reserves for the first 60 days of a contingency. By 1 December, there were only 16 Marine Reservists in Saudi Arabia. Within another 60 days, more than 31,000 Marine Reserves would be activated and one out of every eight Marines who participated in the liberation of Kuwait were Reserves. The Reserves responded enthusiastically; over 99.5 percent reported in after call-up. Virtually all were trained, fit, and able to go to war. About 12,000 participated in all echelons of Marine forces in the Gulf. The integration of Reserve with Regular forces went quite smoothly. A postwar study indicated that Regular commanders found Reserves to be competent, bright, highly motivated, pragmatic, and oriented toward problem solving.
Over those years the structure of the Marine Corps Reserve has evolved from small replacement units to major combat commands. Two of these commands, 4th MARDIV and 4th MAW, have been collocated in New Orleans since 1977, but were not unified under a single commander until 1992. Built around the nucleus Reserve staffs of the Division and the Wing, and incorporating the FSSG and MCRSC, this new command was designed to be one cohesive structure reflecting the "Total Force" principles and guidelines set forth in 1990 by the Secretary of Defense. In 1994, the new parent command was named Marine Forces Reserve. This designation established its parity with Marine Forces Pacific and Marine Forces Atlantic, the other two senior organizational entities making up the Fleet Marine Force.
In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to close Naval Support Activity New Orleans, LA. As a result, it recommended to relocate the Headquarters of Marine Forces Reserve to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, LA, and consolidate it with Marine the Corps Reserve Support Command element of Mobilization Command, which would relocate to NAS JRB New Orleans from Marine Corps Support Activity, Kansas City, MO. The relocation of the Marine Forces Reserve HQ and the Marine Corps Reserve Support Command element of Mobilization Command to NAS JRB New Orleans would maintain a central location for management of widely-dispersed Marine Corps Reserve elements and would allow for the consolidation of Marine Reserve management functions. Marine Corps Reserve Support Command was the only geographically separated element of the Marine Forces Reserve. Consolidation with its Headquarters would significantly increase interaction and operational efficiency as well as eliminate duplicative staff. Location of this consolidated headquarters at a joint reserve base would enhance joint service interoperability concepts.
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