President Donald Trump on Friday issued an executive order that will allow men and women who served their nation in the past to serve it again in its hour of need as America battles the coronavirus.
The order gives “the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security the authority to activate the Ready Reserve components of the armed forces,” Trump said during Friday’s coronavirus task force briefing.
“This will allow us to mobilize medical disaster and emergency response personnel to help wage our battle against the virus by activating thousands of experienced service members, including retirees,” Trump said.
“We have a lot of people — retirees; great, great military people — they’re coming back in — who have offered to support the nation in this extraordinary time of need.”
Trump praised the spirit of the retired service members who want to pitch in.
“They don’t say, ‘How much?’ They don’t say, ‘What are we getting paid?’ They just want to come back in. It’s really an incredible thing to see. It’s beautiful,” Trump said.
The Individual Ready Reserve is made up of former active-duty and reserve service members.
According to the order: “The Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, at the direction of the Secretary of Defense, and the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy, are authorized to order to active duty not to exceed 24 consecutive months, such units, and individual members of the Ready Reserve under the jurisdiction of the Secretary concerned, not to exceed 1,000,000 members.”
The order said federal officials are to cooperate with state officials in using National Guard Reserve Component units.
Fine-tuning the order was a work in progress over the weekend.
“Decisions about which individuals may be activated are still being reviewed,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told CNN in a statement on Friday. “Generally, these members will be persons in Headquarters units and persons with high demand medical capabilities whose call-up would not adversely affect their civilian communities.”
“This is a dynamic situation, we do not currently have a projected number of expected activations, but the Department is now fully authorized to make activations as needed,” Hoffman said.
“When the Nation called — you answered, and now, that call may come again,” Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Seamands, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, wrote to eligible individuals the Army contacted, saying the service was “reaching out to gauge the interest” of “trusted professionals capable of operating under constantly changing conditions.”
“If you are working in a civilian hospital or medical facility, please let us know,” Seamands wrote. “We do not want to detract from the current care and treatment you are providing to the Nation.”
The Army reported that of the 800,000 individuals notified, about 9,000 have expressed interest in serving.
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