For those that have served before and returned to the Reserves, you have heard this message: “You are an ambassador, you represent the Navy everywhere you go.” This long held belief, that as military members we represent something greater than ourselves, is an understated, but incredibly important, aspect of the Reserve Sailor.
As a Citizen Sailor, we serve in our communities. Many of these communities would not be considered traditional Navy towns, as they are not near a major port, fleet concentration area, or, in some cases, even near a major body of water. It is in those communities that the Navy Operational Support Center and the Reserve Sailor become the single most important recruiting “tool” that the Navy possesses. Without the NOSC or Reserve Sailor, these communities may never be directly exposed to the Navy.
So, as we take part in our drill weekends in communities all over the United States, understand that we may be the only Navy that these citizens experience. In many ways, we are the Navy they know and understand. Consequently, we must be mindful of how we present ourselves in the local community. Embracing our identity as Citizen Sailors means that we wear two hats at all times.
When this mission is executed well, it becomes a seamless part of how the NOSC and its population interacts with the community while meeting the demands of its primary mission. However, poor execution of this “forgotten” message can lead toward a distant local population that would like nothing more than for the NOSC to go away. Once gone, it may be a resource that is lost forever.
Bottom line, be sure to embrace your role as a steward of the Navy’s image across the country. In so doing, the Reserves may certainly be able to look forward to another 100 plus years.