The Kansas Army Reserve celebrated the 106th anniversary last week of the U.S. Army Reserve with a birthday party at the University of Saint Mary's Leavenworth campus.
Col. Dawn D. Devine, assistant chief of staff of the Combined Arms Center's Reserve Affairs Office, highlighted the importance of community partners in the Army Reserve's mission during the Wednesday event.

The Kansas Army Reserve celebrated the 106th anniversary last week of the U.S. Army Reserve with a birthday party at the University of Saint Mary's Leavenworth campus.
Col. Dawn D. Devine, assistant chief of staff of the Combined Arms Center's Reserve Affairs Office, highlighted the importance of community partners in the Army Reserve’s mission during the Wednesday event.
She discussed the recent partnership between the Army Reserve and Saint Mary to produce new leaders through the Reserve Officers Training Corps program.
Such programs are critical, Devine said, because of the relationship Army Reserve members have in creating bridges between their home communities and the Army.
“We balance our citizen responsibilities with our civil service duties,” she said.
“The Army Reserve is still a community-based organization.”
Devine said students in the program are learning common arms service support as well as medical service support skills, and are looking for mentors from the community to supplement their education.  
A key part of the anniversary celebration was the presentation of a plaque to Saint Mary, formally recognizing the university’s 2014 Strategic Partnership with the Reserve.
The Reserve is critical, Devine said, because its members make up almost 20 percent of the Army's staffing, but only require 6 percent of the Army's budget.  
The main speaker at the ceremony was Major Gen. (Ret.) Michael W. Symanski.
Symanski is the U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador to Kansas and also was recently appointed president of the Association of the United States Army for the Greater Kansas City Area.
Symanski discussed the history of the Army Reserve, noting that it first was conceived as a voluntary reserve corps of medical officers in 1908.
Original Army Reservists were unpaid medical volunteers.
As World War I loomed, the Reserve was re-organized and officially became the Army Reserve.
Almost 200,000 Reserve members served in that war, including Teddy Roosevelt, Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt.  
In World War II, it was estimated that 25 percent of the officers who served were members of the Army Reserve. After World War II, reservists were paid and allowed to enroll in retirement plans.
Symanski emphasized the evolution of the Reserve through its history into a “much much more professional force,” but that medical services have always been the backbone.
Reservists have added combat support and combat service support skills over the years, Symanski said.
“The Army cannot be expeditionary without those skills” provided by the Reserve, he said.
“There is no Army without the Army Reserve and the (National) Guard, who together comprise 53 percent of the Army's ground forces," Symanski said.