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President Kennedy Announces August Release of Military Reservists

Apr. 11, 1962 - President Kennedy announced today that all military reservists who were called to active duty in the Berlin crisis last fall would be released in August unless the international situation grew worse. The President said at his news conference that the decision on their release was not due to any improvement in international affairs. It was made possible by the build-up of regular forces, particularly the Army, permitting the abandonment of emergency measures. The Pentagon estimated that about 145,000 reservists of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, including two National Guard divisions, would start returning to their homes in the first 10 days of August. President Kennedy praised the reservists at the news conference and in a separate statement issued at the White House. “Their ready response to our call to duty has been a most important element in the defense of freedom everywhere in these last months,” the statement said. The President spoke at his news conference with some emotion. He contrasted the reservists’ sacrifice with the actions of the steel companies in raising prices. The President drew the same contrast of sacrifice by military men compared with the steel company heads when he answered questions regarding the dependents of overseas soldiers and U.S. troops in South Vietnam.

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