The 1955 Armed Forces Reserve stamp is a 3 cent stamp commemorating the Armed Forces Reserve components of the United States military. It is a purple stamp and it's perforations are 110 x 10 1/2. The stamp was printed by Rotary press by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and over 176 million were printed. The stamp was issued on May 21, 1955, in Washington, D.C.
When I searched for information on the history of the reserve components of the United States armed forces, I was happy to find some good material.
The reserve forces are generally the same as their active-duty counterparts with a few differences. They are still military organizations, however, they usually train one weekend a month and two weeks a year to keep their skills fresh so that they can reinforce the active duty (or full-time) military when needed. Sometimes people refer to the Armed Forces Reserve as just "Reserve" and sometimes as "National Guard".
Title 10 of the United States Code defines the role of the armed forces (military). In section 10102 it gives the purpose of reserve components. It says: "The purpose of each component is to provide trained units and qualified persons available for active duty in the armed forces, in time of war or national emergency, and at such other times as the national security may require, to fill the needs of the armed forces whenever more units and persons are needed than are in the regular components".
There are currently seven reserve components of the U. S. military. They are Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Navy Reserve. There are also five different civilian auxiliaries but they are not considered reserve forces. Also as stated in the U. S. Constitution each state may have its own militia. These forces are also not considered reserve forces, traditionally. Most are usually referred to as "state guards".
In one context the term "reserve" applies to all seven reserve components. In another context, it means the five branch reserves but not to the Army National Guard nor the Air Force National Guard. The Army National Guard and the Air Force National Guard are very similar to their reserve counterparts. The main difference is the level of government they fall under. "Reserve" components fall under the subordination of the Federal Government while the "Guards" fall under the subordination of their various state governments. However, they can be called into federal service by the President of the United States.
In short, the "reserve" units and "guard" units of the United States Armed Forces are a fundamental part of the American military and can trace their roots to before the start of the United States. I've enjoyed this and stamp and looking a little more into its meaning. I'm glad to have it and share it with you.