WWII Poster of the Week & the US Naval Reserve- June 9, 2019

This week’s WWII Poster of the Week calls on men to join the US Navy, or the US Naval Reserve. The US Naval Reserve played a large part in World Wars One and Two, with more Reservists serving in the Fleet than “regular” sailors.

Naval Reservists in the inter-war period received regular training, and were ready and able to instantly step into active service.

The US Naval History and Heritage Command‘s article on the US Naval Reserve notes:


Throughout World War II, there were actually more Navy Reservists than active duty Sailors serving in the U.S. Navy. Records show that by the time the war finished, over three million Naval Reserve Sailors were serving on active duty, comprising 84 percent of the Navy. Among them were 86,000 women.

John F. Kennedy was the first President to have served in the U.S. Navy, as a reservist. Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George HW Bush were all Navy veterans.

Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, and Bush spent their entire naval careers in the Reserve. Nixon and Carter were commissioned officers, who later transitioned into the Reserve after retiring from active duty.

Naval Veterans Who Became President

  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy (WWII): Ensign (USNR) 10/1941; retired LT (USNR) 3/1945- injuries sustained in combat. AWARDS: Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (three stars), Purple Heart.
  • Lyndon Baines Johnson (WWII): LTCDR (USNR) 6/1940; first Congressman to serve on active duty in the military while in office. Recalled to US from duty in New Zealand with all other sitting Congressmen. Remained in Reserves until 1964, retiring with the rank of CDR. AWARDS: Silver Star.
  • Richard Milhous Nixon (WWII): LTJG (USNR) 6/1942, declining an exemption from service. Served in Southwest Pacific. Retired 6/1966 CDR. AWARDS: Navy and Marine Corp Commendation Medal with two stars, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (two stars).
  • Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. (WWII): Ensign (USNR) 4/1942; LTJG 6/1942; LT 3/1943; LTCDR 10/1954. Retired 6/1946. AWARDS: Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (nine stars), Philippine Liberation Medal (two stars)
  • James Earle Carter, Jr.: Ensign (US Navy – Annapolis) 1946 assigned to submarines; LTJG 1945; Nuclear Power School 2/1953. Resigned commission 1953 upon father’s death. Retired from USNR with the rank of LT in 1961.
  • George Herbert Walker Bush (WWII): Ensign/pilot (USNR) 6/1943; LTJG 8/1944; shot down 9/1944, rescued; discharged from service 9/1945, entering the USNR; LT 11.1948; resigned from Reserves 10/1955. AWARDS: Distinguished Flying Cross; Air Medal with two bronze oakleaf clusters.

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