The Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) is a congressionally chartered, non-profit organization that represents the interests of the Sea Service community before the U.S. Congress. Although the association was originally named for the Navy’s Fleet Reserve program, membership in FRA is open to all current and former sailors, marines, and Coast Guard personnel. The only requirement to join FRA is to have served as an enlisted member in the USN, USMC, or USCG for at least one day.
The Association was founded by Navy Chief Yeoman George L. Carlin, and chartered in 1924 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. FRA was born out of the need for an organization to protect the pay and benefits of enlisted Sea Service members and their families on Capitol Hill. FRA also assists its members with career problems by maintaining close liaison with the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and other government agencies.
In 1998, FRA was the first organization to actively seek repeal of the Military Retirement Reform Act (REDUX) and was successful in urging members of Congress to introduce and/or sponsor legislation to repeal the law. In 2000, the Association led a successful campaign to authorize pay hikes for mid-career enlisted personnel that resulted in pay increases for E-5, E-6 and E-7 personnel on July 1, 2001. And more recently, the Association was instrumental in payday lending reform, Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for career personnel and their families, and absentee voting reform. Other major legislative accomplishments include the establishment of the CHAMPUS Health Program and Military Survivor Benefits Plan (SBP).
FRA is a member of the Veterans Day National Committee (VDNC) and is represented on the Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Services (VAVS) National Advisory Committee (NAC). It is also a charter member and leading organization in The Military Coalition (TMC), a group of 33 military and veterans’ organizations which represent five and one half million uniformed services active duty, retired, reserve and National Guard personnel, veterans, their families and survivors. TMC works collectively on legislation to enhance the quality of life for military personnel.
FRA staff members present legislative seminars to inform Sea Service personnel about actions on Capitol Hill, and the importance of participating in the legislative process to protect their pay and benefits. The Association annually recognizes members of Congress with its prestigious “Pinnacle Award” in recognition of outstanding support for uniformed services’ personnel. FRA also hosts the U.S. Coast Guard Caucus Breakfast on Capitol Hill each year.
FRA is a major sponsor of the annual programs recognizing the Navy Sailors and Recruiters of the Year (SOY and ROY), the Marine Corps Recruiters and Drill Instructors of the Year, and the Coast Guard Enlisted Persons of Year (EPOY) and Recruiters of the Year. FRA also sponsors congressional receptions honoring the SOYs, EPOYs and ROYs, and presents the FRA “Gung Ho Award” to one member of each USMC Staff NCO Academy graduating class in Quantico, Va. The Association also sponsors patriotism essay awards and scholarship awards totaling more than $100,000 annually under the auspices of the recently established FRA Education Foundation.