In my 23 years I have served with many AC units even though most of my time has been in the reserves. It has been my experience, and expressed by many others, the Reserves are horrible about giving out awards. Reservists do not PCS so quite often we will leave even long time posts with nothing more than a pat on the back or a coin. The only time Reservists typically get awards are for Annual training which is usually only a few soldiers per unit once a year, or deployments. In dealing with AC units, especially as a commander, I got major push-back from AC unit commands as personnel section in even trying to put in soldiers for awards. When they do process them ours are pushed to the bottom of the pile after they take care of their own. I have seen soldiers leave the Army altogether because they show up from Active duty looking like Patton and can't understand my reservists are never recognized. In 4 company commands I have always tried to push for recognition for my soldiers. I have spent many long nights only to end in frustration getting told by higher of max numbers of soldiers they are willing to reward, regardless of whether they deserve it. On deployment I commanded a Route Clearance Company with a very tough Deployment in RC-E. We had to fight for every single award including submitting a soldier 5 separate times where he had been in direct contact with the enemy and even received a Purple Heart (from a separate command) just to get him recognized with a CAB. Out of 185 guys I put in 35 BSM's after this combat heavy deployment. 5 were approved. The other 30 were down graded to ARCOM's, even one ARCOM with Valor instead of giving a guy a BSM. Only recently can we put in Reserve Soldiers for the Good Conduct medal. The Reserve equivalent would stop during deployment and then would start all over from zero after deployment before this change. Without a doubt AC soldiers are recognized far more often and get more decorations than Reserve soldiers. If for no other reason than AC soldiers work with their units 365. Reservists work with their, on average, 48-60 days a year. Sometimes only 2 days at a time. This alone affords greater opportunity for recognition.
I can only speak for my own experience but while I was stationed at the NOSC (Navy Operational Support Center) the only time I ever saw reservists receive NAMs was either for funeral honors or Sailor of the Year. Now they did receive more campaign medals but while they were deploying and earning those, myself and fellow staff members were supporting them from the good ole USA. I feel my reservists (yes I said MY, because I treated everyone the same, they were MY guys and gals) deserved every medal and award they got and some deserved recognition they would never be put up for.
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