There are many differences between the “Drill-Hall Navy” and the operating Fleet, but most of them come down to a single, four-letter word: ship. And, unless the Surface Naval Reserve is given ships to operate from its coastal and river towns, and on the Great Lakes, this atrophied arm will continue to wither.
A memorable article of the early 1960s applauded the ready-responsiveness of the Groups I and II destroyer and mine warfare units.[*] Still, these were and are elite Reserve units which account for only a small Percentage of the Naval Reserve Surface Program. In Commander Thompson’s words “The largest component of the selected reserve—65% of the personnel—is the Active Fleet Augmentation Component, which provides trained personnel for immediate, active duty to raise the manning level.”