• To celebrate the Year of the NCO, the U.S. Army Reserve Command National Museum of the Army Reserve staff created a display highlighting some of the noteworthy accomplishments of Army Reserve NCOs throughout the years, including Army Reservist and Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Alvin York, the highest decorated Soldier in World War I. The display features relics and artifacts showing how the Army Reserve NCO has evolved throughout history while still maintaining their values and professionalism.

    NCOs, Army Reserve honored in display

    To celebrate the Year of the NCO, the U.S. Army Reserve Command National Museum of the Army Reserve staff created a display highlighting some of the noteworthy accomplishments of Army Reserve NCOs throughout the years, including Army Reservist and...

  • Taking a cue from the Right Arm program at several Army installations where commanders take their "right arm" to honor their help, U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) National Museum of the Army Reserve chief museum curator Chris Kolakowski came up with the idea to title the Army Resevre Year of the NCO display "Right Arm: NCOs and the Army Reserve." The display is on the first floor of the USARC headquarters near the stairwell in the changing exhibit hall.

    NCOs, Army Reserve honored in display

    Taking a cue from the Right Arm program at several Army installations where commanders take their "right arm" to honor their help, U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) National Museum of the Army Reserve chief museum curator Chris Kolakowski came up with...

  • Corporal is the only U.S. Army Enlisted Grade 4 recognized as a noncommissioned officer today. In World War II, some Soldiers who wore stripes were technical specialist grade (top row) and were considered NCOs. Those ranks, created Jan. 8, 1942, were later replaced by a series of specialist ranks (bottom row). Today, there is only one specialist rank which, like the corporal, is graded as E-4.

    NCOs, Army Reserve honored in display

    Corporal is the only U.S. Army Enlisted Grade 4 recognized as a noncommissioned officer today. In World War II, some Soldiers who wore stripes were technical specialist grade (top row) and were considered NCOs. Those ranks, created Jan. 8, 1942, were...

  • Various NCO ranks from throughout the Army Reserve history are displayed to show changes in the style of Army uniforms. Though colors and sizes of the ranks may change, the role of the NCO in the Army Reserves and their importance remains consistant - a trait the display hopes to showcase. At the right of the case is a photo of Command Sgt. Maj. Leon Caffie, command sergeant major of the Army Reserves, the highest ranking enlisted Soldier in the Army Reserves.

    NCOs, Army Reserve honored in display

    Various NCO ranks from throughout the Army Reserve history are displayed to show changes in the style of Army uniforms. Though colors and sizes of the ranks may change, the role of the NCO in the Army Reserves and their importance remains consistant ...

  • The valor of Army Reserve NCOs is shown in this case, which contains the field jacket of 1st Sgt. Alvin Loveall, who was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 31, 1944. Also pictured in the case are a photo of Sgt. Alvin York, the most-decorated American soldier of World War I (upper left) and Master Sgt. Nicholas Oresko, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient, receiving the medal from President Harry S. Truman (lower left).

    NCOs, Army Reserve honored in display

    The valor of Army Reserve NCOs is shown in this case, which contains the field jacket of 1st Sgt. Alvin Loveall, who was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge on Dec. 31, 1944. Also pictured in the case are a photo of Sgt. Alvin York, the...

The Army Reserves and the Army NCO - both are vital to creating the world\'s greatest military fighting force.

To honor both groups, the U.S. Army Reserve Command National Museum of the Army Reserve staff has created a display in the USARC Headquarters building that highlights their contributions to America's military excellence.

The display, titled "Right Arm: NCOs and the Army Reserve," is located on the building's first floor, near the stairwell and in the changing exhibit hall.

The space, which is changed yearly by the USARC museum staff, was chosen to house artifacts detailing Army Reserve NCOs because of the 2009 Army Year of the NCO program, said Chris Ruff, USARC National Museum of the Army Reserve deputy curator.

With the contributions of NCOs being celebrated this year, the choice of what to use the display for this year seemed easy, said Ruff. The difficulty came in determining what to put into the limited space from the Reserve's 101 years of service.

"We have a lot of great NCO items," Ruff said, adding such items have come from a variety of sources: deployed military historical detachments, captured equipment and uniforms and donated materials from actual servicemembers and their families. In choosing what to display, Ruff said the staff looked for items from major conflicts dating from World War I to present overseas operations.

Items highlighting prominent Army Reserve NCOs, such as Lists of Medal of Honor recipients, and uniforms and ranks showing the evolution of the NCO, were also chosen.

"This is just a sample of (the) artifacts we have," Ruff said, adding some artifacts may be changed throughout the year.

This will not only show more items, but will also serve to increase the lifespan of items, he said. Although Ruff said the artifacts on display are preserved as well as possible and are contained in controlled cases on acid-free paper and other inert materials to prevent decay.

They are also checked daily by museum staff, and some objects are rotated out to prevent potential damage from long term exposure.

Preservation is important because the artifacts belong to the American people and are necessary in educating them on the importance of the Army Reserve and its NCOs, said Ruff.

The Army Reserves, officially created in 1908 but with a history that extends much further back (a history that can be seen in the USARC National Museum of the Army Reserve), has had a great importance on the success of the U.S. Army, Ruff said. Ruff, who started his current position in November 2008, said that he is finding new information every day.

"I'm always learning, seeing how prominent the battle history of the Army Reserve has been," he said. Sgt. Maj. Mark Papenfuss, operations sergeant major to the command sergeant major of the Army Reserves, agreed with Ruff, stating the Army Reserve serves as theater enablers in current operations.

With most active duty and National Guard brigade combat teams not staffed with special skill sets, such as psychological operations, civil affairs and route clearance operations, among others, these BCTs need to rely on the skills of the Army Reserves, most of which are performed by the Reserve NCO, he said.

"Many projects over the last year or two in Iraq in local communities were done by groups of NCOs working in partnership with Iraqis, building relationships. Our NCOs are at the local level taking on projects, training and supporting the Iraqis to maintain the infrastructure we take for granted," Papenfuss said, noting that all five Silver Star recipients in the Army Reserve are NCOs.
"Theater projects are being built by Army Resevre engineers with NCOs leading the way."

In modern times, Ruff said the Army Reserve also fulfills logistic roles, combat support and combat service support necessary to overseas operations. In this sense, the Army Reserves is like the Army NCO in that it fulfills many roles and functions necessary to ensure success, he said.

"I'd like them (viewers of the display) to get a feel (of) how important NCOs are in the daily running of the Army and Army Reserves," Ruff said.

It is a story Papenfuss said, unfortunately isn't getting told well in American media or is often ignored by the local population as they focus on issues closer to home like the economic crisis. "Less than 1 percent (of Americans) chose to put their life on the line so the other 99 percent can enjoy their freedom," Papenfuss said.

Of that 1 percent of the population choosing to serve, many are policemen, doctors, teachers and other community leaders who serve in the Army Reserves, many bringing these special skills into service while serving as NCOs, he said. Approximately 20,000 NCOs of those who are deployed overseas are supporting operations as units, with thousands of others deployed as individuals, augmentees or volunteers, Papenfuss said.

"What we do we've been very successful with so we're in high demand. That's why we keep getting called back," he added. The display of medals, photos and accompanying explanations is just a small step taken to help tell that story, the first of many planned to display the accomplishments of Army Reserve NCOS, Ruff added. "We plan to do more to feature and highlight the NCO in the future," Ruff said. "This is just the nucleus of what will be a larger display eventually."

Page last updated Thu July 16th, 2009 at 13:31