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Letters to the Secretaries of the Military Departments Commending Reservists on the Eve of Their Release.

July 30, 1962

[Released July 30, 1962. Dated July 12, 1962]

To the Secretary of the Army: Dear Mr. Secretary:

Recently I sent letters to the 32nd Infantry Division, the 49th Armored Division, and the 100th Infantry Division (Training) on the eve of their return to civilian life, expressing my sincere appreciation for the outstanding work they have done since their recall to active duty. I am mindful of the fact that there are many other Army National Guardsmen and Army Reservists, in smaller units and as individuals, who have also interrupted their civilian pursuits, and have been serving on active duty since the Berlin crisis. Because of their response as citizen-soldiers, the military strength of the United States and its allies has been markedly increased, and today, although the threat remains, we are better able to meet our commitments because of their contribution.

I am particularly proud of the many accomplishments of these men and women because their call to active duty posed many extremely difficult problems and new challenges for them--and all were met with the highest degree of resourcefulness, initiative, and professional skill. I am equally proud of the families of these Reservists who were called upon to bear a great part of this burden--and did so with great understanding and in good spirit. To these Americans we all owe a debt, not only because their homes and careers were disrupted, but because they have made a real and tangible contribution to freedom and to world peace. As these Army Reservists and Army National Guardsmen return to their homes, I want you to convey to them--and to their families--my deepest admiration and respect for the important work they have done. And as they return to their civilian pursuits, let them know that they carry with them the thanks of a grateful nation and of all free men throughout the world.

The international challenge has not been diminished, and our job is not done. Our main reliance now must be on the more firmly established active Army, as well as its sister services. However, the Army Reservists and the Army National Guard must still be relied upon as a strategic force. I am confident that you will see to it that all components not only maintain but improve their efficiency and readiness. My continued interest and best wishes are with you in this important endeavor.



[The Honorable Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of the Army, Washington, D.C.]

[Released July 30, 1962. Dated July 16, 1962]

To the Secretary of the Navy: Dear Mr. Secretary:

Upon the occasion of the return to civilian life of our recalled Naval Reservists, I would like to pay tribute to the officers and enlisted men of the Naval Air squadrons and destroyer-type ships who proved so ready, so willing, and so able.

In reaching the decision a year ago that it was imperative to build up the strength of our naval forces in a relatively short time, I was not unmindful of the many personal sacrifices a recall of our Reservists would entail. However, I considered the strengthening of naval anti-submarine forces so urgent that I could find no other satisfactory alternative.

Since the recall I have been deeply impressed by the wonderful response of our Naval Reservists, their willing acceptance of sacrifice, and their outstanding performance of duty.

Our eighteen Naval Air squadrons and the crews of the forty destroyers and destroyer escorts took their places in the active fleets and bolstered our forces in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and in the South China Seas. They have demonstrated that the high regard we have always had for the readiness of the Naval Reserve is completely warranted. They merit a resounding "Well Done" from a grateful Nation.

Would you pass this letter to the Commanding Officers of all units involved with my personal thanks for their outstanding performance.



[The Honorable Fred Korth, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C. ]

[Released July 30, 1962 . Dated July 17, 1962]

To the Secretary of the Air force:

Dear Mr. Secretary:

I would like to express my appreciation for the outstanding performance of the Air Reserve forces mobilized during the past year.

The swift and accident-free deployment to Europe of several hundred jet fighter aircraft of the Air National Guard within days after mobilization, followed almost immediately by full combat-alert posture, was a convincing demonstration of the "Ready Now" status of the Air Reserve forces. The quick augmentation of our forces in Europe was a powerful factor in preserving the peace during this period of crisis. In addition, the substantial Reserve forces backup to the Tactical Air Command and the Military Air Transport Service, contributed by the mobilized units that remained in the United States, added materially to our total deterrent power.

I am mindful of the personal sacrifices made by these Reservists during this period, including significant reductions in personal income and, in thousands of cases, prolonged separations from their homes and families.

The Air force is to be congratulated for the outstanding contribution to the cause of freedom made by its Reserve forces during this critical time.



[The Honorable Eugene M. Zuckert, The Secretary of the Air force, Washington, D.C.]

John F. Kennedy, Letters to the Secretaries of the Military Departments Commending Reservists on the Eve of Their Release. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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