The Senior Army Reserve Association is the professional association of the leaders of the U.S. Army Reserve, established to provide them with timely and useful information. It reflects their views in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill as national policy affecting America’s Army is developed.
The Association was organized in 1949 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The initial membership was composed of the General Officers and Chiefs of Staff of the twenty-four combat divisions then in the Organized Reserve Corps. The senior officers of those divisions met annually at Fort Leavenworth for a one-week Refresher Course conducted by the Army Command and General Staff College.
BG James T. Roberts, CG of the 13th Armored Division (CA), called for the creation of an organization for the purpose of expressing the concerns of the senior field commanders of the units in the ORC. BG Herbert H. Vreeland, CG of the 76th Infantry Division (CT) on April 19, 1949, called the first meeting to order. MG Julius Ochs Adler, CG of the 77th Infantry Division (NY), was selected to chair the meeting and was subsequently elected as the first President of the Association.
In 1964, following a proposal to merge the units of the USAR into the National Guard, SARCA membership was expanded to include all General Officer commands of the USAR. Working closely with the Reserve Officers’ Association, SARCA played a major role in preventing the merger. In 1970 the By-Laws were amended to permit Association members to become Retired Members upon retirement, as well as permitting continued membership for those becoming Individual Mobilization Augmentees. In 1980 membership was expanded to include Colonels who commanded USAR units and in 1982 it was opened to Colonels serving active duty tours. The Executive Committee’s size was also increased. BG Raymond Jacobson CG of the 352nd Civil Affairs Command, became SARCA’s first Executive Director in 1982. He served until 1985 when BG Lewis M. Helm, Deputy Chief of Public Affairs (IMA), succeeded him.
Health care benefits for Reservists became the key issue for SARCA during 1985 and 1986 following the capture of a USAR Major in Beirut by terrorists as he was returning from Annual Training. That incident caused the Association to recommend legislation to provide Reservist with the same protection as Active Component members for injuries sustained while on duty. These laws are now in effect. Due to the increasing responsibilities of Executive Committee members in unit assignments, the 1986 Annual Meeting approved the creation of a Steering Committee empowered to act with a two-thirds vote in the absence of the Executive Committee. Committee Chairmen appointed by the President also serve on the Executive Committee.
Each year between 1980 and 1990 the Association presented the GEN Walter T. Kerwin, Jr. Award to a USAR General Officer unit in recognition of their outstanding performance during the preceding training year. Nominations were submitted by CONUSA’s, with final selection being made by FORSCOM. The Award was presented to the winning unit during the summer SARCA meeting. A larger copy of the Award was displayed in the Secretary of the Army’s conference room on the first floor of the Pentagon. This award was suspended in 1990 during Operation DESERT STORM.
In 1988 SARCA established an annual award for the “Legislator of the Year.” The first recipient was Rep. Beverly Byron, who chaired the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel and Compensation. Senator Strom Thurmond, who has successfully led many fights for the Reserves in recent decades, received the award in 1991. Rep. John P Murtha was presented the award in 1992 for his leadership in maintaining a strong Reserve. He was, at that time, serving as Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. The 1993 award went to Rep. Dave McCurdy , of Oklahoma. Rep. Ike Skelton, of Missouri was the 1994 recipient. The 1995 awardee was Senator Robert Dole of Kansas. Rep. Greg Laughlin, of Texas was so honored in 1996. 1997 saw co-recipients Reps. Paul McHale of Pennsylvania, and Steve Buyer of Indiana.
In recent years, SARCA’s members have insisted that the organization remain deeply involved in those issues of concern to the Army Reserve. This was reflected in the results of an extensive membership study conducted during 1987-1988 by MG Felix Santoni. During the 1989 Annual Meeting the membership established several working committees to carry out this mandate.
In late 1988 the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee asked the Secretary of the Army to provide a plan to place the Chief, Army Reserve, in command of all USAR units. After discussions with the Congress, the Department of the Army established a new USAR command and control structure giving the CAR three “hats”: Chief of the Army Reserve, Commander of the US Army Reserve Command under FORSCOM, and Deputy Commander –in –Chief of FORSCOM. In October, 1992, an independent advisory commission recommended the establishment of an independent USAR Command located in Atlanta, Georgia, to be commanded by a Lieutenant General. In late 1993 Congress mandated the establishment of a separate US Army Reserve Command, to be commanded by the Chief, Army Reserve. This legislation did not require the USARC Commander to report directly to the Chief of Staff of the Army, nor did it change the rank of the Chief, Army Reserve. SARCA members had labored vigorously to ensure the creation of the USARC as a permanent entity within the Army’s administrative structure.
In January 1993, SARCA approved a measure accepting as members all Colonels of the USAR, regardless of whether or not they had served as Commanders at that rank. A Life Membership option for retired SARCA members, established in January, 1992, proved popular, with 61 retirees enrolling by early 1995.
In its FY 93 budget, the Department of the Army recommended USAR end-strength cuts from 308,000 in FY 92 to 257,500. The House of Representatives restored about 15,000. During the meeting in June, 1992, SARCA’s membership voted unanimously to generate an effort to restore the cuts. A vigorous campaign of letter-writing and personal contact was undertaken, in cooperation with the Reserve Officers’ Association. The Senate voted to maintain end-strength at 296,230. The final authorization and appropriations bills set USAR FY 93 end-strength at 279,615 as well as limiting the types of units DA was authorized to inactivate.
During FY 94 end-strength discussions, it was agreed that the strength of the USAR would be reduced still further, to the level of 260,000. This was the first time in a number of years, that an agreement was reached by the Active Army, Army Guard and Army Reserve, in discussions which included SARCA, ROA, and National Guard Association representatives. Plans were made at that time for further reductions in 1995, which would result in an end-strength of 230,000 by 1996 and 208,000 by 1999. These figures were arrived at despite the best efforts of the SARCA and ROA representatives who were present during the discussions and who argued vigorously for the maintenance of sufficient USAR strength to meet foreseeable contingencies. The newly formed Congressional Action Committee, along with members of the Executive Committee and key members of SARCA, expended a great amount of effort in defense of the USAR. Without their unremitting efforts, matters would almost certainly have turned out much more unfavorably than they did.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) addressed the 1995 Annual Meeting. During this same meeting, SARCA implemented its Hall of Fame, initially honoring ten outstanding retired members of the Association in an impressive ceremony. Then-President MG Paul Rehkamp also instituted the practice of selecting one Colonel to serve on the Executive Committee from each of SARCA’s five member regions. This adjustment was designed to provide for greater representation of senior field grade officers. At the same time, mandated force structure changes caused a sharp drop in USAR strength to 242,000 and a reduction in the number of units in the force. The number of general officers slots was to be reduced by 28 in 1996. SARCA agreed not to actively oppose the cuts.
The 1996 Meeting was addressed by Army Chief of Staff, GEN Dennis J. Reimer, and by GEN George A. Joulwan, CINCEUR/CINCUSAREUR, who returned from Bosnia to participate in the meeting and the Hall of Fame ceremony. 1997 began with persisting stringent budgets, continuing end-strength reductions to 230,000, concern about the ambitions of some National Guard representatives, and steady deployments to Bosnia. Serious debate regarding the structure and end-strengths of the Reserve Components continued unabated, and by early 1998, SARCA members were writing to Congressmen and Governors opposing legislation proposed by the National Guard Association. In the meantime, the Off-Site process had reduced the USAR from 319,000 to 208,000 over a five-year period. During 1998, a large number of USAR soldiers deployed to Bosnia, and the USARC proposed the addition of Civil Affairs slots to meet the humanitarian mission requirements. The relationships among the Active Component, the USAR, and the National Guard became considerably more civil, despite the announcement that the USAR would drop to 205,000 by FY 2000.
In 1996, annual Life Member receptions and briefings began to be held during Annual Meetings. Life Member pins were presented to this “Loyal Legion,” which had grown to 89 retired SARCA members by 1996 year’s end. Life membership reached 118 in 1997, 134 in 1998, and 155 in 1999. In 2000, a life membership option for active members was established. By January 2001, 13 of the 182 Life Members were active reserve members. By the January 2003 meeting, the Life Member number had grown to 191.
After years of effort by SARCA and numerous other RC related organizations, the desire to establish the CAR and other RC Chief positions as 3-star billets saw fruition in early 2001. Former SARCA President, Thomas J. Plewes, along with his RC Chief counterparts, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General, the first 3-star leader of the Army Reserve.
Within a month after the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001, anthrax was identified in two postal boxes in the Pentagon Civilian Post Office. The post office was closed immediately and all mail was shipped to a decontamination center in Ohio. This included a large amount of mail for SARCA whose postal box had recently been moved to the Pentagon. The Pentagon facility was permanently closed and the Association never received a large number of membership forms during its membership renewal drive in the fall of 2001. A new mailing address was established at a post office in Springfield VA.
Immediately following the events of 11 September, many USAR Units and Individuals were called to duty to support the fight against Terrorism. Among those were 20 General Officers serving on active duty … a record number in the history of the U.S. Army. These deployments continue to increase as of this Update, made so by the recent surge of activity in the Middle East. A number of the SARCA General Officers have returned from around the world to brief the organization following their deployments, and no doubt we will have many such excellent reports in the years to come.
2002 saw several significant changes in SARCA’s membership. For the first time, SARCA leadership made membership available to promotable Lieutenant Colonels, with full voting rights realized once they are promoted. SARCA leadership also expanded over a three-year period the amount of time a member could pay for Life Membership, somewhat reducing the financial burden of a one-time payment.
While SARCA has had a limited website since 2001, by the expertise and diligence of COL(Ret) Bob Fritz, the organization’s full service site came on-line in January, 2003 at “www.SARCA.us”. The membership options described above are fully explained. Current leadership and contact information is available. Numerous briefings and information updates are available for member use. And membership renewal, with on-line credit card security will soon become a reality, greatly simplifying that effort.
In January of 2004 BG(R) Lewis Helm who served as the Executive Director since 1985 decided that it was time for him to “hang up his sword,” and MG (R) Craig Bambrough became SARCA’s new Executive Director. 2003-2004 brought with it an increased deployment of USAR forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and KFOR & SFOR. USAR forces are deployed across the globe and SARCA continues to help get information of importance to the Senior Army Reserve Commanders.
SARCA’s history is rich, but the future promises even greater challenges and opportunities to excel.
1949–1951 MG JULIUS O. ADLER
1951-1952 MG LEIF SVERDRUP
1958-1961 MG CARL T. SUTHERLAND
1961-1963 MG STUART D. MENIST
1963-1964 MG LOUIS D. BURKHALTER, JR.
1964-1966 MG EUGENE G. CUSHING
1966-1968 MG ERNEST L. MASSAD
1966-1968 MG WILLIAM H. PRENTICE
1970-1972 MG JOHN W. KANE
1972-1974 MG LADDIE L. STAHL
1974-1976 MG MERRILL B. EVANS
1976-1977 MG BENJAMIN J. BUTLER
1977-1978 MG NORRIS E. SILLS
1978-1980 MG CHARLES BEACH, JR.
1980-1982 BG RAYMOND M. JACOBSON
1982-1983 MG ROBERT G. OWNBY
1983-1985 MG EVAN L. HULTMAN
1985-1986 MG ROGER W. SANDLER
1986-1987 MG ROBERT O. BUGG
1987-1989 MG GUILFORD J. WILSON, JR.
1989-1991 MG JOSEPH G. GRAY
1991 - 1993 MG FELIX A. SANTONI
1993-1995 MG PAUL G. REHKAMP
1995-1996 MG RONALD L. LO WE
1996 MG THOMAS J. PLEWES
1996-1999 MG DONALD F. CAMPBELL
1999-2001 MG JOE M. ERNST
2001-2002 MG JAMES DARDEN
2002-2004 MG ROBERT SILVERTHORN
2004-2006 BG MICHAEL W. BEASLEY
2006-2007 MG WAYNE M. ERCK
2007- 2009 MG RITA M. BROADWAY
2009-2011 MG PAUL MOCK
2011-2013 BG JOHN HANLEY (acting)
2013-2016 BG MATHEW MATIA
2016 BG MARION GARCIA
2016-2018 COL JOE MORAVEC (acting)
2018- MG RITA BROADWAY