Chief of the Army Reserve and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve Command Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley addresses the Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, April 30, 2014. (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez)

For the last four years, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey W. Talley sat at the helm of U.S. Army Reserve Command.

In that time, the Reserve force has been more battle-tested than any other time in its history.

No longer a strategic reserve, waiting in the wings, Talley and other Army leaders said the nation’s citizen-soldiers have become an operational reserve, actively deployed across the nation.

The brand, Talley said, has never been more highly valued.

So it was a reluctant Talley who relinquished command of that force Wednesday at Fort Bragg.

With no successor confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Talley handed the USARC colors to Gen. Robert B. "Abe" Abrams, the commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Command.

Abrams, who hosted Talley’s relinquishment ceremony outside the headquarters building shared by Forscom and USARC, said Talley wasn’t leaving because he wanted to. He was leaving because, by law, he had to.

"He turns into a pumpkin tonight," Abrams joked, referring to Talley’s four-year statutory limit on serving as commander of USARC and chief of the Army Reserve.

Maj. Gen. David J. Conboy, deputy commanding general for operations at…

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