Peters Honors Navy Reserve in Centennial Ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base

HARRISON CHARTER TOWNSHIP, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today delivered the keynote address a U.S. Navy Reserve centennial ceremony at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve, highlighted the important role the Navy Reserve plays in America’s military and national security and recognized the sacrifices of Navy reservists and their families over the last 100 years.

“The Navy Reserve has come a very long way since its founding one hundred years ago, and while the mission may have changed over the years, one thing has not – the readiness to serve,” said Senator Peters. “The United States of America is the world’s strongest military power thanks in no small part to the commitment and support of the Navy Reserve forces. Simply put, reservists are a critical part of the fabric of our great Navy. Today, as we celebrate 100 years of Navy Reserve heritage and tradition, we also look forward to the next century of excellence.”

The U.S. Navy Reserve was established under the Naval Appropriations Act of 1916, dated March 3, 1915. The U.S. Navy Reserve’s mission is to deliver operational capability and strategic depth to the Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Forces. Today, the U.S. Navy Reserve has over 48,000 personnel on Selected Reserve and over 10,000 on full-time support. Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Detroit is one of 123 Navy Operational Support Centers fleet-wide that will be celebrating 100 years of Navy Reserve service this year.

“The men and women of the Navy Reserve balance civilian and military life and give back to their communities while always standing ready to defend our nation. When called to active duty, they leave their families and everyday lives behind and often work for less pay than they receive at their full-time civilian job,” Senator Peters added. “The dedication and commitment of the men and women I served with in the Navy Reserve reinforced in me the idea that as Americans, we must keep the promises we’ve made to our service members, and as Senator, that is what I am committed to doing.”

Senator Peters has consistently been an outspoken advocate for America’s military and veterans. This week, Senator Peters introduced the Military Reserve Small Business Jobs Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that would extend for five years a tax credit for small businesses that provide differential pay to military reservists and National Guard members called to serve on active duty. The bill, which Peters introduced with Republican Senator Joni Ernst (IA), who continues to serve as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, provides a tax credit for 20% of the differential salary payment for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, helping provide financial security for the nation’s approximately 824,000 reservists, 15,438 of whom serve in units in Michigan.

Peters also cosponsored the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, a bill that would improve mental health care and suicide prevention for veterans. The legislation, which was recently signed into law by the President, will increase access to mental health care by requiring a third party to evaluate the effectiveness of suicide programs at the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and make recommendations on improvements. Additionally, the bill would create a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning service members; create a new website with information on available mental health care resources; enhance collaboration among suicide prevention programs; extend the ability for certain combat veterans to enroll in the Veterans Health Administration for one year; and create a pilot loan repayment program for VA psychiatrists

The son of a World War II veteran, Peters volunteered for the U.S. Navy Reserve at age 34 and served for over a decade in units at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. He earned a Seabee Combat Warfare Specialist designation and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Peters’ Reserve duty included time in the Persian Gulf during Operation Southern Watch.