Friday, October 03, 2003
( 12:41 PM )
Oregon National Guard Called Up
700 members of the Oregon National Guard have been called up for duty in Iraq. Besides the fact that I didn't think we had 700 of them left in the state, this is bad news for them, their families and our state.
The soldiers will depart for training in Fort Hood,
Texas, before likely being deployed to Iraq in
March. The soldiers will likely serve in Iraq through
March 2005, said Major Gen. Alexander H. Burgin,
Oregon's adjunct general.
That means that starting this week, these folks won't likely see their families for a good 18 months. It is a crock that the Guard and Reserves are being called on for year-long duty. That year only starts once they are in-country in Iraq. These families not only have to deal with the sudden call-up, but the fact that they are going to have to fend for a year and a half - at the minimum - without the regular salary of the spouse or parent who must go to Iraq. The other problem is that most of these troops are being called up from our smaller cities and towns (I guess the other ones have already been cleaned out), communities that are more likely to hurt from their absences:
Many of those leaving are public safety officers,
and their departures leave gaps in local police
forces and sheriff's departments.
Philomath High School principal Nels Thompson
said he's hoping that someone will be able to
fill in for one of the mobilized officers, Jeff Hanke,
who has been working as the school's resource
I don't know how many more Guard and Reserves there are in Oregon to call up, but there can't be many (maybe some of my fellow Oregon bloggers might know this number - I can't seem to find a definitive Oregon tally). We hear daily about our various battalions that are over there already. We've had our share of KIA's, and though so far I haven't seen a count, I'm sure our state's wounded sons and daughters number very high as well, considering the average in Iraq lately.
This is going to keep happening across this country. The longer we have to go without international assistance (translated: the longer Bush remains the arrogant snob that he is), more of our own troops are going to have to go over there.
Just a question here: Are we going to run out of back up troops at some point? If there is another major domestic calamaty, the equal of 9/11, will we have sufficient Guard and Reserves here to help, or will that duty then fall in total to our "first responders" and then to us, everyday citizens, who will undoubtedly volunteer to fill spaces that are left empty by our back up troops, which are now in Iraq? Just wondering.
Maybe I'll make a stop at the surplus store this weekend. Never hurts to be prepared in case Oregon has to form its own State Guard to deal with emergencies here at home, and all able bodied folks will have to enlist. Never say that the Mama was hesitant to serve her fellow citizens in times of need.
Of course, this is all hypothetical... situations of such dire circumstance could never happen...