MWR in history started on the battlefields of World War I, where behind the lines, Salvation Army sisters and Red Cross volunteers ministered to the needs of soldiers as the forerunners of today’s morale, welfare and recreation specialists. After the war was over, funding stopped and morale programs were halted. It wasn’t until July 1940 that the Morale Division – later named Special Services – was established within the Adjutant General’s Office.
Between 1946 and 1955, the core recreation programs were established and staffed by a combination of active duty military and civilians. Until the mid – 1980s, active duty enlisted soldiers and officers held military occupational specialties in Special Services and were assigned at every level of command. As those occupational specialties were discontinued, civilians continued to operate MWR programs with military oversight. Special Services underwent much reorganization and had many names before coming to its present configuration.
In November 1984 the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center was established as the headquarters for MWR operations providing oversight and policy support, and also running certain specialty programs such as contracting, financial management, and other services, as well as operating management of the Armed Forces Recreation Centers and other special projects.
The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command was established by the Department of the Army 24 October 2006, and has evolved from these early beginnings.
Soldiers are entitled to the same quality of life as is afforded the society they are pledged to defend. Keeping an Army ready to fight and win takes more than hard work and training. Soldiers need a balance of work and play. The FMWRC mission is to create and maintain “First Choice” MWR products and services for America’s Army, essential to a ready, self-reliant force.