News You Can Use: Nov. 22, 2004

   November 22, 2004, Volume
2, Issue 25

Index of Articles

Note: Topics below are now bookmarked!
Click on the underlined topic below to link to the pages on that topic.




Training Continues in Winter Months

On Capitol Hill, Military Warns of Being Under Strain

Percent of Targeted Active-Duty Soldiers Transitioned to Guard in FY ’04


Hammond JV Coach Leaves for Guard
Training, Deployment to Iraq

More Arkansans Bound for Iraq

A Soldier Says Goodbye

Guard Unit Called Up for 2nd Time in 2
Years 194th Field Artillery Leaves for Iraq in January

Guard May Not Go Until Next Year; Battery
C May Be Deployed to Iraq After Holidays Instead of Dec. 27

Monument Lit for Guard Deployment

Billings Twins Going to Iraq

Holding Time Precious National Guard
Soldiers Prepare For Deployment In Farewell.


National Guard Unit Returns from Bosnia

Local Guard
Unit to be Honored in Christmas Parade

Security Forces Leave Base

Woman Wants
Town to Get Up to Send Off Soldiers


State To Help Guard Families


Praises 30th’s Efforts

Outline Hopes for Iraq Tour; 256th Has High Expectations


Military Families Gather In Walbridge


No Way to Treat Our


for Soldiers Carry on Their Memory

Engineer Joined Guard After College


Military Personnel Get Day to Fish in Keys

New Safety Steps
Planned for N.J. Range

Air Force Engineers Help Soldiers Build Field Bases

Help Sought To Get Books To

National Guard, Roush Extend Agreement for ’05



National Guard Family
Program Online Communities for families and youth:



TRICARE website for information on health



Civilian Employment Information (CEI) Program Registration for
Army and Air National Guard, Air Force, and Coast Guard Reserve (Note to those viewing this page in
Word or PDF format:
You may have to copy this address and
paste it into your browser’s address window.)



Cumulative roster of all
National Guard and Reserve who are currently on active duty



Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)
contains links and information about schooling, distance education, scholarships,
and organizations devoted to the military family is a
website that helps military children with transition and deployment
issues.  It has some great features
for kids, parents, special needs families, school educators, and more—even
safe chat rooms for kids.



Disabled Soldiers Initiative (DS3)

This website provides information on the new DS3
program.  Through DS3, the Army
provides its most severely disabled Soldiers and their families with a system
of advocacy and follow-up.



Have an article,
announcement, or website that you’d like to share with the National Guard
Family Program Community?  Send your
suggestions in an e-mail to
[email protected].




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Guard Training Continues in Winter Months


The On Guard

National Guard Bureau

By Staff Sgt. Cheryl Hackley

ARLINGTON, Va. – If there is one war the Guard will continue to
fight, it’s the one against Mother Nature. This year alone, Guard members
have dealt with four hurricanes in Florida, flooding in West Virginia, and
wildfires in California. And now the winter months are upon us all. Even
though the temperatures drop, the training for the National Guard continues.    

“We don’t stop training just because it’s cold,” said Capt. John
Wisniewski, Minnesota’s 55th Civil Support Team operations officer. “However,
we try to limit our exposure to the elements.”

CSTs are important elements of the National Guard’s preparedness for
homeland defense and homeland security. Their mission spans all 54 states and
territories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. From the
tropical weather in Hawaii to the cold weather in Minnesota, the teams have
to be prepared to answer a call for support at any time, rain or shine, hot
or cold.

The 55th CST will be take part in a joint training session with the
Coast Guard in Duluth, Minn., on Lake Superior in February. Last year, when
the team trained near there, the temperatures dipped to 30 degrees below
zero, with a wind chill of about minus 50.

Extreme temperatures like that can using equipment a challenge, but it
doesn’t stop the mission.

“The cold weather really drains our equipment, but it just takes more
energy to run everything,” said Wisniewski.

Training year-round allows Guardsmen to recognize any equipment
concerns they may face with climate changes. The 55th has already discovered
a need to bring in new decontamination equipment because of the cold weather.
Also, medical personnel on the team have to shift their training and safety

“The medical team has a new direction when it comes to the cold,” said
Wisniewski. “They have to watch for additional cold weather injuries such as

“A lot of people don’t stop to think about the dangers of working in
their Personal Protective Equipment during the cold,” agreed Lt. Col. Alicia
Tate-Nadeau, Illinois Guard spokesman. “After working, people sweat in their
suits and we have to watch them as they begin to cool down in a cold

Illinois’ Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear or High-Yield
Explosive Enhanced Response Force Package will perform decontamination
training this month and again in January.

“January in Illinois is really cold,” said Tate-Nadeau.

But again, the Guard is ahead of the game. The Illinois Guard is
ordering special gloves to outfit the heavy decontamination gloves the CERFP
team members wear during their training.

Other weather barriers the CERFPs face are hoses freezing and ice
around the decontamination site. These are just a few of the hazards team
members are on the lookout for during their training, said Tate-Nadeau.
Warming tents are also provided on site for Guardsmen while training in cold

By continually training, the Guard is prepared to overcome any issues,
whether weather related or not. For those states that really feel the brunt
of Old Man Winter, such as Vermont and Maine, Guardsmen are taught additional
cold-weather survival skills.

“Eventually, every Soldier goes through a 2-week Mountain Warfare
School in Vermont,” said Army Staff Sgt. John Brooks, logistics NCO at Bravo
Co., 3/172 Infantry, Maine Army National Guard. “They learn basic winter
survival skills such as building a snow cave for warmth, how to ski and
snowshoe, and ice climbing.”

This preparation can provide Soldiers with the additional knowledge
they need to work in a cold-weather environment. The soldiers also learn
survival tips, like keeping their canteen upside down (because water freezes
from the top down) so they can still drink from their canteens, said Brooks.

Across the states and territories, the Guard is prepared to train and
fight even as the cold weather sets in. Whether from Mother Nature or a
terrorist attack, this organization proves itself ready for any “snowballs”
thrown its way.




On Capitol Hill, Military Warns of Being
Under Strain

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Los Angeles Times

November 18, 2004

By Esther Schrader, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Continued fighting in Iraq is straining U.S. forces
nearly to the breaking point, even as the Pentagon pumps more than $5.8
billion per month into sustaining its forces there, the chiefs of the Army,
Navy, Air Force and Marines told Congress on Wednesday.

In testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, the service chiefs
said the military would need considerably more money for Iraq over the next
year. The chiefs of the Army and Marines in particular stressed the
increasing difficulty of recruiting and retaining soldiers, and then
equipping them for combat.

“Make no mistake, today we are at war,” Gen. Michael W.
Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, told lawmakers.

In the last year, as the insurgency in Iraq has grown, “the
demand on the force has increased exponentially,” Hagee said. “This
demand is especially telling in the strain on our Marines, their families,
and on our equipment and materiel stocks.”

For the Army, which has 110,000 soldiers serving in Iraq — five times
as many troops as the Marine Corps — the strain is particularly acute, Army
Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker said. Despite racing over the last
year to install heavy armor on its fleet of more than 8,000 Humvees in Iraq,
it has so far manufactured the armor for only half, he said. And not all of
that has been installed on the vehicles.

The Army has sent more than 400,000 sets of body armor to its forces
in Iraq but needs 373,000 more this year, Schoomaker said.

It has equipped soldiers serving in the war with 180,000 sets of top-of-the-line
clothing and fighting equipment under an initiative to rapidly equip the
forces, but it is short 131,000.

The Army is also rushing to provide its troops with 41,600 more
radios, 33,500 M-4 carbines and 25,000 machine guns, and to repair thousands
of tactical wheeled vehicles, Schoomaker said.

“I’m talking about quite a large-scale deal,” he told the

Republicans joined Democrats on the committee in expressing dismay
about the strain on the forces.

Committee Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) said the war was
“in danger of wearing [the military] out.”

He added that the unrelenting pace of military operations was
“eating up the life span of major equipment, ranging from fighter
aircraft to tanks and Humvees.”

With the Iraq war approaching the two-year mark, Hunter suggested that
continuing to fund the overall U.S. military on a peacetime basis — with
periodic “supplemental” war spending — may no longer be sufficient.

Though equipment costs have been significant, the service chiefs
testified, so has the impact on personnel. Recruiters have been forced to
offer large signing bonuses to attract new recruits, while the National
and Reserve are struggling to retain people.



58 Percent of Targeted Active-Duty
Soldiers Transitioned to Guard in FY ’04

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Table of Contents

European Stars and Stripes

November 18, 2004

By Lisa Burgess, Stars and Stripes

ARLINGTON, Va. — Just more than half of the 7,000 active-duty soldiers
that the Army National Guard sought to transition into its ranks did
so in fiscal 2004, according to a Guard official.

The Guard managed to recruit just 3,900, or 58 percent, of those
soldiers, during the one-year period that ended Sept. 30, according to Guard
spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Jones.

Such soldiers are one of “three funnels that fill up the tub” for the
Guard’s recruits, Jones said in a Wednesday telephone interview.

The other two sources of recruits are people with no prior service who
are recruited at the state level; and people who have served in the military,
but left for some time before deciding to join the Guard, Jones said.

Soldiers who make an immediate transition to the Guard, with no break
in service, are a treasured resource because their training, physical
conditioning, experience, and proven record of success in the military all
are up to date, said Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz, director of the Army National

Schultz spoke Friday at the annual Military Reporters and Editors
Conference in Arlington.

By comparison, “we’ve had years in the past when [as many as] 10,000
[active-duty] soldiers joined the Guard,” said Schultz.

Retention, meanwhile, or the number of guardsmen who chose to stay,
“was great,” 99.8 percent in fiscal 2004, Jones said.

“We were surprised,” Jones said. “Retention exceeded what we thought.”

The higher-than-expected retention helped the Guard finish the year
with 342,918 soldiers, or 98 percent of end strength, Schultz said.

To maintain its authorized end strength of 350,000, the Guard needed
to recruit 56,000 soldiers in fiscal 2004 but ended up with about 88 percent
of that total.

“We missed by 8,000” soldiers, Schultz said.

And after holding conversations with active-duty soldiers deployed to
Iraq, the three-star general told a roundtable on reserve and National Guard
issues at the conference that he is convinced that “nothing” will persuade
these war-weary soldiers to jump straight into the Guard.

“I don’t think there’s a thing in the world we can do” to change these
soldiers’ minds, Schultz said, even though Congress added bonuses and
benefits to the 2005 National Defense Authorization for reservists.

“Money won’t drive everything right now,” Schultz said.

“It’s not that these soldiers have a bad attitude,” resenting the Army
for sending them to combat zones for a year or more, Schultz said. “It’s just
that they need a break, and they’ve figured the deal out.”

“The deal” is the realization that joining the Army National Guard no
longer means immunity from deployments, he said.

The Army National Guard is adding another 1,000 recruiters before the
end of the year to its existing force of 2,700 in an attempt to boost its end
strength, but Schultz said he remains worried about strains on the force.

Staying up to strength is vital for the Guard because the pace of the
Army’s reserve deployments continues to be at an historical high.

As of mid-November, more than 93,400 National Guardsmen were either
deployed or preparing for deployment, Schultz said, and in Iraq, reservists
now account for 40 percent of the U.S. force.

And the third rotation of U.S. forces to Iraq, which is slated to
begin next February or March, will include even more reserve and Guard
soldiers than the first two rotations, Army officials have said.

“The question is how long can we keep this up?” Schultz said.





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Hammond JV Coach Leaves for Guard
Training, Deployment to Iraq


The Associated Press State & Local Wire

November 16, 2004, Tuesday

HAMMOND, Ind. – Jesette Perkins will be part of a different team for
the next year or so.

The junior varsity girl’s basketball coach at Hammond High School,
called to active duty with the Indiana National Guard,
is heading to central Indiana’s Camp Atterbury for training and deployment to

The only thing she regrets is the timing, just at the start of the new
basketball season.

“It’s difficult because I got to see them develop at practice,
getting to know this year’s team and their style of play,” Perkins said.
“I only saw one game, and not getting to see how they develop in a game
situation, that’s hard.

“They were asking me, ‘Why do you have to go?”‘ she said.
“They don’t want to see me leave. I don’t want to leave, but I have a
responsibility to take care of.”

Perkins, a former player at Hammond and a graduate of Indiana
University, teaches third and fourth grades at a private school in Hammond.
She joined the National Guard more than two years ago and is a member of a
military police unit based in Michigan City.

The 45-member unit is expected to leave for Iraq within a few weeks.

“We’re going to miss her,” Hammond varsity coach Bob Delano
told The Times of Munster. “She had a great relationship with the girls.
She has a great spirit. If every one of my girls grew up to be like that, it
would be perfect. She’s just a model person.”

The Wildcats gave Perkins a send-off overtime victory against East
Chicago in her only game with them at the start of this season.



More Arkansans Bound for Iraq

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock)

November 17, 2004

By Andy Davis, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Jeremiah Ingham spent nine months working as a medic for the Arkansas
Guard in Afghanistan, but an injury he suffered after
returning kept him from traveling last year with his unit to Iraq.

So when a captain asked Ingham a few weeks ago if he wanted to join
other members of his unit who had volunteered for another tour, Ingham jumped
at the chance.

“I said, ‘Sign me up. Put me on the list,’” Ingham said. “He
asked me if I was serious, and I said, ‘As a heart attack.’”

Ingham was one of about 80 Arkansas National Guardsmen who left
Tuesday to replenish the ranks of the state’s 39th Infantry Brigade in Iraq.

More than 2,800 Arkansans are deployed with the brigade, primarily in
Camp Taji, just north of Baghdad.

Soldiers said goodbye to their families and briefly spoke with
reporters at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock on Tuesday morning before
boarding buses for Fort Hood, Texas. The soldiers are tentatively set to
leave for Iraq on Dec. 15.

Many of those being deployed were fresh recruits who recently finished
their training. Nine, including Ingham, belonged to the 296th Medical
Company, based in Charleston, who volunteered for the deployment.

The medic company was deployed with units throughout Iraq from
February 2003 to March 2004. This time the medics volunteered to fill
vacancies in the 39th.

Serving in the military fulfills a lifelong dream for Ingham, a
23-year-old private from Rogers whose father served in the U.S. Air Force in
Vietnam. Ingham said he decided to become a medic after watching emergency
workers in action after a car hit his brother in 1999.

“Whenever I saw them work on him and save his life, I thought,
`That’s awesome,'” Ingham said. “It’s just a great feeling knowing
that what you do saves lives.”

He said he didn’t worry about the deployment or being away from his
wife, JoAnn.

“I have a good relationship with the Lord, and he’s going to keep
me safe,” Ingham said. “I feel like I’m obligated to do the
greatest good for the greatest number of people.”

Pfc. James Williams, 19, of Stuttgart, fought back tears as he said
goodbye to his mother and two sisters. His 2-year-old nephew and 4-year-old
niece milled about in matching camouflage uniforms. “I love you,”
Williams told the gathered relatives. “Let’s take care of each other,

During his childhood in Altus, Okla., Williams often watched airplanes
take off and land at a nearby U.S. Air Force base, and he decorated his room
with models and posters of airplanes.

His career hopes shifted after he learned his vision would prevent him
from becoming a pilot. He joined the Guard last year as a junior in high

“I’m proud of him,” said Williams’ mother, Keitha Morris.
“He’s doing what he wants to do. He’s doing what he loves to do.”

Unlike Williams, 2nd Lt. Joe Foley, 23, of Batesville, never expected
he’d be sent overseas when he joined the Guard six years ago. He mainly
wanted help paying for his education at Arkansas Tech University in
Russellville. His father served in the Guard for 24 years and never went

Now, Foley, whose brother is serving in Baghdad, is preparing to lead
a platoon of about 50 people. He said he feels confident in his leadership
abilities but nervous about the conditions he’ll face. “I’m worried real
bad,” Foley said. “You’ve got to be worried for your guys, not just

Foley and the others are replacing vacancies within the 39th caused by
casualties, emergencies and other circumstances, said Capt. Kristine Munn, a
spokesman for the Arkansas National Guard. The deployment doesn’t relate to
the return this month of 240 soldiers with the 39th whose earlier service in
Egypt put them over the Guard’s active-duty limit of two years within a five-year
period, Munn said. Those guardsmen are being replaced by soldiers from other
states, she said.

The 39th includes most of the Arkansas-based units stationed in Iraq.
The brigade was mobilized in October 2003 and is due to return in March 2005.

Also, about 55 Arkansans are serving in Baghdad and Balad, Iraq, with
the Guard’s Headquarters Company of the 2nd Battalion, 114th Aviation, also
based at Camp Robinson, Munn said.

About 20 members of Army Reserve’s 392nd Chemical Company in Little
Rock will report to Fort Polk, La., on Saturday for an eventual deployment to
Iraq, a reserves spokesman said.

About 340 airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville are
also serving in the region, a base spokesman said.

Since the beginning of the U.S. invasion in March 2003, 22 Arkansans
serving in the military have lost their lives in Iraq. In addition, a Marion
truck driver working for a private contractor was killed in a roadside attack
last week.



A Soldier Says Goodbye

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Times Argus

Nov 18, 2004

RANDOLPH – If big girls don’t cry and wars aren’t won by 40-year-old
women, how do you explain Karol Delia.

Delia, a Barre schoolteacher who celebrated her 40th birthday this
summer, says she’ll certainly shed “a tear or two” when she says
goodbye to her family on Friday. She’ll be shipping out with about 600 other
Vermont soldiers who will soon be deployed to provide support for the war in

A tall, sturdily built woman with ever-smiling eyes that have been noticeably
misty lately, Delia says she doesn’t relish the idea of spending the next 18
months half a world away from her husband, Dominic, their daughters, Mikaela,
12, and Mackenzie, 10, her 17-year-old son, Nathan, and her stepdaughter
Sarah, 18.

But Delia isn’t complaining.

“It’s bittersweet,” she says, searching for just the right
word to describe her feelings since learning a little more than a month ago
that her Army National Guard unit was being sent to the Middle East.

“Being in the military you know there’s always that possibility
that something like this could happen, but at the same time you’re proud to
do what you have to do for your country,” explains Delia, who admits she
would have mixed emotions if, for some reason, she learned she couldn’t join
her unit on its sketchily defined mission.

“I guess it’s bittersweet all the way around,” she says.

According to Delia, that fact has been driven home time and again
during a dizzying month that has featured a seemingly endless stream of
goodbyes and an overwhelming outpouring of support from family, friends and
community members. She says the last few days have been particularly trying
due to the emotional buildup associated with tomorrow’s looming departure

“This is the worst week because of the countdown,” says
Delia, who managed to squeeze in an early Thanksgiving dinner, while juggling
her military commitments and struggling to make time for her family.

“Once we’re on that bus and that final goodbye is done it will
almost be a relief because we can catch our breath and finally look forward
again,” she says. “Then we’ll be counting down to coming

Over the last few weeks, Delia has been counting down to leaving –
steadily unplugging from her life here in central Vermont.

Earlier this month she said goodbye to her fifth-grade class at Barre
City Elementary and Middle School – stepping aside for the long-term
substitute who will see her students through the rest of this school year and
presumably handle her teaching duties through the first part of the next
school year.

But Delia insists you can’t take the schoolteacher out of the soldier
and wherever she ends up – Kuwait, Qatar, or Iraq – she’ll be formulating
future lesson plans.

“Geographically, I’m going to see areas of the world that I would
never otherwise see and I’m going to be able to share that experience with my
students,” she says. “I find that very exciting.”

Delia, who chuckles at the notion she has redefined the term
“teacher in-service,” admits she is far less enthusiastic about the
thought of being away from her family for more than a year.

“That’s going to be the hardest part,” says Delia, who fully
expects to miss two Thanksgivings, two Christmases, her 13th wedding
anniversary, her stepdaughter’s high school graduation, a move from Randolph
to Brookfield, and more birthdays and family gatherings than she cares to

“I’ll be over there wondering how everyone’s doing over here and
what memories I’m missing,” she says.

However, Delia insists she isn’t feeling sorry for herself, not after
listening to old-timers swap stories during a recent Veterans Day ceremony in
Randolph about the years they spent overseas in the military.

“I feel very lucky,” she says. “To put it into
perspective, I don’t think I have it that bad.”

Delia says she feels doubly lucky knowing that her family won’t be
splintered by her deployment, as it almost certainly would have been if her
husband, Dominic, hadn’t retired from the National Guard in 1999.

“We’re very, very fortunate that our family unit will be
intact,” she says.

Dominic Delia, a burly man with a booming voice, glasses and a goatee,
says the fact that his wife will soon be stationed overseas is just now
sinking in.

“Maybe I’m the king of denial, but I’m in shock,” he says.
He concedes he was emotionally ill-prepared for his wife’s unit to be
deployed, even though the 186th Forward Support Battalion had been on alert
since June and she had actually volunteered for an overseas mission that was
scrubbed two months earlier.

“I’m nervous because I’ve never geared myself up to be the one
who stayed behind,” he says. “I always figured I’d be the one
that’s going … It’s the staying behind that’s killing me.”

Dominic Delia, 42, served for four years in the regular Army and 16
years in the Vermont Army National Guard before retiring five years ago. He
blames himself for talking his wife into re-enlisting in order to secure her
own retirement two years ago.

“I’m the dumb-ass,” he says. “I’m just going to be lost
without her.”

Dominic Delia says he is uneasy about how little information he has
about his wife’s mission.

“The only thing I know is she’s got to leave on Friday, she’s
going overseas and it’s somewhere in the Persian Gulf,” he explains.
“That’s about all we’ve been told.”

According to Dominic Delia, recent reports that members of the Vermont
Guard aren’t going into “combat” weren’t particularly comforting
given the region of the world where they’re being deployed.

“To me, not going to combat is getting stationed in Hawaii,”
he says. “The Persian Gulf is about as close to ‘combat’ as you can get
these days.”

However, Dominic Delia says he is heartened that his wife is a member
of a well-trained Guard unit that includes many of the couple’s fast friends.

“If I had to go I’d go with the Vermont Guard rather than the
regular Army in a heartbeat,” he says. “It’s a family (and) I’m
sort of feeling left out of a family function.”

As it is, Dominic Delia’s duty will be to maintain a functioning
family while his wife is away – a task he will perform with the help of her
sister, Sonja Laiho.

Laiho, who “left Vermont and never looked back” after she
graduated from Montpelier High School in 1983, says she got a call from her
sister while living in California earlier this year.

At the time, Delia believed she was would have to spend several months
overseas on a mission that was subsequently canceled and was recruiting her
sister to come back to Vermont help with the kids.

Laiho says her answer was never in doubt.

“It was just a given,” she says. “In a perfect world that’s
what families do.

“I couldn’t not be here,” she adds. “I couldn’t have
slept well at night knowing they (the children) were here and she (Delia) was

Although Delia’s initial mission was canceled, Laiho remained when her
sister’s National Guard Unit was put on alert and has agreed to serve as
surrogate mom and “slave driver” until Delia returns home.

“My ovaries are shrinking by the minute,” jokes Laiho, 38,
who never married and says she has no children of her own.

What Laiho does have is opinions and many of them are at odds with
those of her sister and brother-in-law.

“Let’s just say they’re very military and I’m very not
military,” she says, questioning the deployment of her sister’s unit in
the first place.

“What’s guarding our nation if we’re sending our National Guard
over there?” she says. “I know she is doing a good thing. It just
doesn’t make sense to me.”

On Friday, Delia will leave Vermont a Randolph resident, but when she
returns her family should be living in Brookfield.

According to Delia, the couple decided to start house-hunting before
she got called up, but only recently made an offer that was accepted on a
home on School Street in Brookfield, where they had lived for 12 years before
moving to Randolph.

Dominic Delia, who works for campus security at Vermont Technical
College, says moving back to Brookfield in the spring is one of a number of
projects he has planned to keep himself occupied while his wife is away. In
addition to taking a criminal justice course at VTC, he’s going to renew his
police certification and hopes to join the Orange County Sheriff’s

Then there’s the move, and a 400-square-foot addition to the new house
that needs to be built.

“I’m loading myself up wicked with projects to keep me
busy,” he says.

Delia, who helped plan the addition and won’t mind missing the move,
worries that returning home after her prolonged absence will be a major
adjustment. By that time her family will have settled into a new routine in a
new house and she will seem like the outsider.

“It will be like starting over,” she says, noting that she
has established some ground rules concerning the move.

“I’ve reserved the right to rearrange the furniture,” she
jokes, explaining that she has also declared a moratorium on interior decorating
until she gets back to help pick out paint colors.

“They can just wait,” she says with a smile.

Let the countdown begin.



Guard Unit Called Up for 2nd Time in 2
Years 194th Field Artillery Leaves for Iraq in January

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November 17, 2004

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa National Guard unit
is being called to duty in Iraq for the second time in two years. The
Battalion Fire Support Element, 194th Field Artillery will leave in January
for 18 months. The order affects about 10 soldiers based in Fort Dodge and
Storm Lake. The unit was also deployed in 2002.



Guard May Not Go Until Next Year; Battery
C May Be Deployed to Iraq After Holidays Instead of Dec. 27

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Table of Contents

The Register-Mail

November 17, 2004

By Tammy Bould

GALESBURG – The last group of Galesburg’s Battery C, 2nd Battalion,
123rd Artillery may not be deployed until early next year.

The C Battery had been split into three groups, with some Galesburg
National Guard
soldiers joining Macomb’s B Battery and some joining
Milan’s A Battery. The first group left for Fort Dix, N.J., on Oct. 27 and
the second group left Nov. 11. The third group was to be called up Dec. 27,
but now friends and family are saying they will leave Jan. 2.

The Illinois Army National Guard Public Affairs Office would not
confirm the date Tuesday, saying only that the Galesburg soldiers are
scheduled to leave after the holidays.

The soldiers will be processed and receive additional training at Fort
Dix, N.J., before being sent to the Middle East. They have been called for up
to 18 months of active duty, a tour that can be extended if the Secretary of
Defense determines the soldiers are still needed.

While on active duty, the 123rd Field Artillery unit will provide
force protection to U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq.

“Friends of C Battery” is still collecting personal items to
send with the last group. Organizer Bob Franey said local response has been
good, but the only items no longer needed are books and magazines. The items
needed most are wet wipes, batteries, canned food and beef jerky.

Franey said various churches, schools and Seminary Estates are
collecting items in addition to the drop-off boxes located at both Hy-Vee
stores, Econofoods on Henderson Street, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Hawthorne Centre
Craft Mall, Galesburg Electric and the armory.

A “Support Our Troops” evening is planned, starting at 6
p.m. Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1556 E. Fremont St. Entertainment
and food will be available and those attending are asked to bring items for
the troops.

On Dec. 5, a community-wide prayer service for the troops is scheduled
at 6 p.m. at Bethel Baptist Church, 1196 N. Academy St.




Monument Lit for Guard Deployment

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November 19,

The Bennington Battle Monument will be lit today from 4 to 7 a.m. to honor
the approximately 600 members of the Vermont National Guard being deployed at
a 9 a.m. ceremony at Norwhich University in Northfield.

Gov. James
Douglas ordered the lighting to coincide with the departure of a contingent
of guard members from Bennington County being deployed with Charlie Company,
2nd Battalion, 172nd Armored Battalion of the 86th Brigade.

has authorized the state to illuminate the monument outside of a limited
pre-approved schedule.

directed that the Bennington Battle Monument be lit to honor all of the brave
men and women who defend our freedom with their selfless sense of duty and
honor,” Douglas said. “This monument proudly represents the story
of the American Revolution and the legacy of every Vermonter who has served
our state and our nation. It will now also represent our appreciation to the
men and women being deployed, those that are currently serving and those who
have served.”



Billings Twins Going to Iraq

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The Associated Press State & Local Wire

November 19, 2004

BILLINGS, MO. – Identical twins Roy and Troy Simanton share a lot in
common – even their cell phone numbers are just one digit apart – and now
they’re both heading to Iraq.

They’re members of the Montana Army National Guard, and will be
serving in infantry posts.

Roy, a sergeant, and Troy, a specialist, are scheduled to leave Monday
for Fort Polk, La., where they will join other members of the 1-163rd
Infantry Battalion. From Fort Polk, the 1-163rd will leave for Kuwait.

Roy and Troy, 24, are in different companies and won’t be stationed
together in Iraq, but they plan to stay in touch by e-mail and,
“hopefully, we can get to some cities and see each other,” Roy

Two cousins, Erik and Jon Simanton of Malta, also in the Army National
Guard, are being deployed as well. Erik will go to Iraq, while Jon’s unit
will head north to Alaska.

Roy and Troy graduated from high school in Malta and then moved to
Billings in 1998 and attended Montana State University’s two-year School of
Technology. Troy studied automotive technology, and Roy chose diesel

“Right after that we joined the Guard to help pay for
college,” Troy said.

In the same platoon, they completed basic training and field artillery
training at Fort Sill in March 2001.

In early 2002, the two were activated. Troy served as a border guard
for 18 months, and Roy was assigned to Sidney and Helena for seven months as
an airport guard.

They were called up in May, trained two weeks in June at Helena and
then spent three months at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Even though the twins will spend the next year fighting the same war
in different locations, one thing won’t change, said sister Jeni Anderson.

“Pretty much they’re inseparable. They always have been and
always will be.”



Holding Time Precious National Guard
Soldiers Prepare For Deployment In Farewell.

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Fresno Bee

November 21, 2004,

By Dennis
Pollock The Fresno Bee

Army National
Sgt. William Smith on Saturday had the task of helping members of
the press distinguish among those soldiers from a Fresno unit who will soon
leave for duty in Kuwait and those who will stay behind.

He did that
by differentiating between the color of their camouflage fatigue uniforms:
“If they’re dressed like a tree, they’re not going. If they’re dressed
like a sand pile, they’re going.”

Smith was
dressed like a sand pile.

When the
Fresno resident — along with some 260 other soldiers from the Fresno unit —
leaves to spend about a year providing aviation support to troops in Iraq,
he’ll leave behind his wife, Sherri, and five children.

The timing
of the deployment — likely in early December — means the soldiers will be
able to spend Thanksgiving with their families, but probably not Christmas.

Like others
with the 1106th Aviation Classification Repair Activity Depot, Smith and his
family will prize this year’s Thanksgiving holiday more than usual.

Some, like
Sgt. Charleen Haux of Clovis, will engineer a combination of Christmas with

not going to be about the presents,” said Haux, who leaves behind
daughters Heather, 18, and Hailey, 16, and son Jarred, 9.

It will be
about the presence.

will be time spent — movies, dinner and friends and giving thanks for my
family,” Haux said. “I’m grateful that, as opposed to previous
wars, we’ll be able to stay in contact.”

E-mail has
made this a different war.

Haux said
she is not fearful of her new assignment with the unit that repairs and
maintains helicopters. “It’s just the sheer time and space away from my
kids more than the fear of bullets flying over my head.”

Smith said
he has talked to each of the unit members who will be leaving.

and every one of us does not want to go. It’s tough as individuals to leave
family and friends behind. But as soldiers, we are proud to serve,” he

During a
farewell ceremony Saturday that drew more than 1,200 family members and
friends to an aircraft hangar at the guard unit’s headquarters on Dakota
Avenue, Brig. Gen. James P. Combs gave the “citizen soldiers” a pep
talk, thanked them for their service and said he understands sacrifice.

“My son
[Vincent] is being trained at Fort Lewis right now, getting ready for
deployment,” Combs said.

Combs heads
the California Army National Guard and said it has deployed about
12,000 troops — 8,000 of them to the Afghanistan-Iraq region — since Sept.
11, 2001. “The largest deployment of the Army National Guard in
California since the Korean War,” he said.

In remarks
to the assembled troops, their commander, Col. Donald K. Takami, drew
laughter when he recalled five weeks of the unit’s deployment training at
Fort Lewis, Wash., “and those miserable barracks.”

California aviation repair unit will take the place of a similar unit from
Missouri that has been stationed in the Central Command Area of Operations,
which covers Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. There are four such
AVCRAD units across the country.

Sgt. Maj.
Hal London towered Saturday over 6-year-old Keenan Quintana, a
camouflage-clad first- grader, who championed a fund drive to buy prepaid
phone cards that were distributed to the soldiers.

presented the Clovis boy with a miniature wooden helicopter and a pair of dog
tags. “Wear these on behalf of these soldiers,” he said.

The crowd
gave Keenan a standing ovation.

The reporter
can be reached at [email protected] or (559) 441-6364.





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Indiana National Guard Unit Returns from


The Associated Press State & Local Wire

November 16, 2004, Tuesday

INDIANAPOLIS – About 160 Indiana National Guard
soldiers have returned home after spending most of the year on a NATO
peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The guard members marched into their Indianapolis armory early Tuesday
morning, to the cheers of their friends and relatives.

The armory’s gymnasium was filled with people carrying signs, balloons
and U.S. flags to greet the members of the Indiana National Guard’s 38th
Infantry Division.

Their plane had landed at Indianapolis International Airport just
after midnight.

And how did that feel?

“Good. Real good,” said 7-year-old Connor McLochlin, wearing
camouflage fatigues to match his father, 1st Sgt. Jeff McLochlin, of
Rochester, Ind.

“It feels great,” the father said, embracing his son and greeting
his wife, Nicole, and their 3-year-old daughter, Kennedy.

On Oct. 31, the first part of the Indiana force returned home. The
rest stayed to help prepare to hand off the mission to soldiers from the
European Union.

The Guard contingent was said to have been the first Indiana Guard
unit stationed in Europe since World War II. In April, the troops took over
the peacekeeping role in the northern zone controlled by NATO, working with
soldiers from Turkey, Portugal, Slovenia and Poland.



Local Guard Unit to be Honored in
Christmas Parade

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Independent Tribune

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

By Michael Knox

CONCORD – Troops from Concord’s 1454th Transportation Company of the North
Carolina Army National Guard
will lead this year’s Christmas parade.

John Howard, Cabarrus Events Association parade director, said about
80 to 100 troops from the company are expected in Saturday’s parade.

Officials are also inviting soldiers to participate in the parade who
were not with the 1454th, but served in Bosnia or the Persian Gulf.

Those interested in participating must be in uniform and meet at 1:30
p.m. Saturday at the intersection of North Church Street and Lake Concord
Road. The length of the parade lasts 2.2 miles, Howard said, but soldiers who
participate are not required to walk the entire parade route.

“Once they get in there and receive the applause and recognition
they’ll probably choose to walk the whole thing,” Howard said.

Parade officials will give out 10,000 American flags along the parade
route, which is also intended to honor the 1454th. More than 30,000 people
are expected at the parade, Howard said. An estimated 40,000 attended last

Staff Sgt. James Hamrick will serve as the grand marshal. According to
information supplied by Howard, Hamrick is the oldest member of the unit and
served with the 1454th in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. He also
served on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia from 1997 to 1998.

Hamrick was selected as grand marshal by his fellow soldiers who
returned from Iraq in February.

Concord officials originally intended to hold a welcome home
celebration for the company, but an ice storm postponed it.

“They’ve been pulled away from their home and have served and did
what they were supposed to do and they came back,” Howard said. “We
were going to welcome them home and we had an ice storm. They got home and
that was it.”

1454th 1st Sgt. Eddie Kluttz said he and others in the company are
looking forward to Saturday’s event.

“It’s great that the community would come together and honor
these soldiers,” he said.

Kluttz said though many members of the 1454th are with their families,
some have volunteered to be redeployed.

Kluttz said family members of those who have redeployed would be on
hand Saturday.

“We’re honored to have those family members along with us in the
parade,” Kluttz said.

Howard agreed.

“We feel it’s important because quite often we forget the
families,” he said. “We forget the family has sacrificed in different

During the deployment the families of the 1454th were without their
loved ones for a year.

The 1454th deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in February 2003. The company
had completed missions as far north as Mosul in northern Iraq and south to
Kuwait city.

Kluttz said the company ran 991 supply missions in support of U.S. and
coalition forces and drove nearly a million miles.



Guard Security Forces Leave Base

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Air Force Link

18 November 2004

By Bill Cissell, Journal Staff Writer

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE – About 90 South Dakota Army National
soldiers left their duty stations Thursday after the longest
activation period of any South Dakota Guard unit to date.

Twenty-two months ago, 122 members of the 665th Maintenance Co. of
Mitchell and Rapid City reported for duty at Ellsworth Air Force Base outside
Rapid City and at the Guard’s air facility at Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls.

A ceremony Thursday at Ellsworth recognized the contributions of the

Almost overnight, the mechanics, accustomed to repairing wheeled and
tracked vehicles for the South Dakota Guard, became part of the security
forces for the two facilities.

According to 28th Security Forces Squadron commander Lt. Col. David
Koontz, the arrival of the National Guard troops allowed the base to deploy
their own security forces to various locations in Southwest Asia.

“We have 50 to 60 airmen of our security-forces squadron deployed
overseas at any one time, out of a full contingent of 250 airmen. Air
Force-wide, it takes about 2,500 security forces to guard our overseas
bases,” Koontz said.

Koontz said a mixture of additional base personnel, civilians and
contractors would replace the Guard contingent.

Air Force and Guard officials alike had concerns about how the
“citizen soldiers” would fit into the full-time security force

“At first, the Guard personnel weren’t supposed to be on duty by
themselves and were supposed to be limited as to what they could do. It soon
became apparent that these were professionals,” base commander Col.
Joseph Brown said.

Brown said that after a few months, it was difficult to tell the
difference between Ellsworth security people and Guard personnel, except for
the coyote patch the Guard wears on the left shoulder of their uniform.

It was very impressive to watch people change,” Brown said.

When its active duty started in late January 2003, 122 members of the
200-person unit activated, South Dakota National Guard Adjutant General
Michael Gorman said. After a year on duty, about 30 of those Guard members

Gorman said he selected the maintenance unit for the mission because
so many state Guard units already had orders for deployment and more were on
the way.

“We didn’t want to take part of a battalion (ranging in size from
300 to 1,000 personnel) because it might get activated,” Gorman said. If
that happened, soldiers from other units and possibly other states, would
activate to fill the missing slots.

Although similar situations occurred across the nation, Gorman said
that he thought this was the first time Army National Guard units provided
security for Air Force installations.

Army National Guard Capt. Deb Bartunek commanded the Guard
maintenance/security personnel.

“Things went fantastic. These are extremely versatile
soldiers,” Bartunek said.

She said that during the unit’s second year at the base, Guard
personnel helped train incoming Air Force security forces.

“Some of our soldiers are actually sorry it’s over, and some
would stay for another year,” Bartunek said. Federal law limits National
Guard personnel activation to no more than two years.

Warrant Officer Kevin Pudwill of Black Hawk said the Guard personnel
came to the assignment with an open mind and that Air Force officials came with
open arms.

He said the transition was easier because all Guard personnel receive
general security training, but “I never thought we’d be doing security
at (an Air Force) base.”



Woman Wants Town to Get Up to Send Off

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The Associated Press State & Local Wire

November 18, 2004

BENNINGTON, Vt. – A local woman is urging her neighbors to get up
before dawn on Friday to help send off about 25 Vermont National Guard
members to the Middle East.

The soldiers are due to board a bus at 5 a.m. Friday for a ride to
Northfield and later Burlington for a flight to Mississippi for training
before being sent overseas.

“They’re going out to do their duty and we should go out and wish
them Godspeed and good luck,” said Mary Lou Albert said Wednesday. The
wife of a Vietnam War veteran, she has always had a spot in her heart for
servicemen and servicewomen, she said.

Albert is urging people to get out of bed early at 4 a.m. to line the
street by the Vermont Veterans Home and bring a flashlight.

“That would be great if (people) could make up a sign showing
their support,” Albert said. “Of course, an American flag or the
state flag even, to show who we are as Vermonters.”

Troops are expected to be escorted out of town by Bennington Police,
Vermont State Police and the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department.

About 600 members of the Vermont National Guard are being called to
active duty. It is the largest call-up of Vermont Guard units since the
Korean War, said Lt. Veronica Saffo, a spokesperson for the Vermont National

The men and women leaving Bennington are members of Charlie Company,
2nd Battalion, 172nd Armored Battalion or an attached unit, the 86th Brigade
of the Vermont National Guard.

The soldiers are going to perform security duties somewhere in the
Middle East. They are not headed to Iraq, officials said.

The soldiers leaving Friday will stop at Norwich
University in Northfield for a departure ceremony. They will then be bused to
the Burlington International Airport where they will be flown to Camp Shelby,
Miss. After more than a month of training there, they will fly to Kuwait in
the Middle East.




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To Help Guard Families


Whittier Daily News

November 19, 2004

By Charles F. Bostwick

Friday, – State
employees called to active duty in the National
will get a month’s pay from their state jobs now that Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger has issued an executive order.

one-month emergency military leave pay is authorized under a years-old law
but state personnel officials said the current war in Iraq didn’t qualify
them for it until the governor issued an order authorizing the guard call-up
already enacted by the federal government.

have a lot of families that need help,’ said Tammi Bennett, wife of a state
prison correctional officer who has been in Iraq since March with a Palmdale National Guard tank unit.

In many
cases, Bennett said, guardsmen’s families are short of money after the
call-up because their civilian pay has stopped but the Army pay hasn’t kicked
in yet.

hard on the families and I don’t think people always understand that,’
Bennett said.

The state
Department of Personnel Administration issued a memo Tuesday telling state
personnel officers to inform workers called to active service in the
California National Guard though
not in the reserves they get a month’s state pay.

The pay is
expected to go to a few hundred state employees who are among the 6,400
California Army and Air National Guard
personnel now on active duty or among others who have served since the Sept.
11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

officials do not know how many guardsmen qualify or what the cost will be to
the state treasury. At least two other state employees are in Iraq with the
Palmdale tank company, which is Company B of 185th Armor Regiment’s 1st

cost to the state is not that great compared to the cost to the families of
the men protecting our freedom,’ said Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, whose
staff had worked for months trying to get the pay authorized after they were
contacted by the Bennetts.

The law
seemed clear, but Runner’s staff said state personnel officials resisted
making the payments.

to get a clarification, to get the rationale for denying this, the only thing
I was told was: The governor didn’t call them up; the president called them
up,” Runner aide Larry Grooms said.

staff appealed last month to the governor.

it got to the Governor’s Office, there was real action. It was fixed real
quick. We should have told him sooner,’ Runner said Tuesday.





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Leader Praises 30th’s Efforts


Fayetteville (NC) Observer

November 18, 2004

TIKRIT, Iraq – The commander of the Army division overseeing the work
of National Guard members from the Cape Fear region says the soldiers
should be proud of their work.

The soldiers from the Guard’s 30th Brigade Combat Team – which
includes the Clinton-based 30th Heavy Separate Brigade and units from seven
other states – are nearing the end of a deployment to Iraq that began in
March. They should be home before the end of January.

Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division,
said Wednesday that the 4,000 National Guard soldiers have done their work
well. They have policed Iraq’s border with Iran, handled land claims of the
province’s Kurds and generally fostered good will with the local politicians
and tribal leaders.

“I remember when I got word that the 30th was going,”
Batiste said from his office in one of about two dozen palaces Saddam Hussein
built in his hometown of Tikrit. “I was happy to hear that.”

While Batiste said the unit should be home in January, he cautioned
that the “enemy has a vote,” meaning the homecoming could be
delayed if conditions take a turn for the worse.

The 30th operates under the direction of the 1st Infantry Division.
Batiste said he formed his positive opinion of the 30th Heavy Separate Brigade
while training with its soldiers in the 1980s, when the brigade participated
in NATO training exercises in Italy.

Historic missions

He said the 30th and the 1st Infantry Division have been paired up on
historic missions twice before in World War I and World War II. The 30th
Heavy Separate Brigade traces its history back to World War I, when it was
activated as the 30th Infantry Division, and its soldiers were known as the
Old Hickory Brigade.

“The folks back in North Carolina and West Virginia and every
other state represented by that patch there can be proud of what they’ve done
over the past 10 months,” Batiste said.

A battalion from the 17th Field Artillery Regiment, an active-duty
unit from Fort Sill, Okla., had responsibility for the Diyala province before
the 30th Brigade Combat Team – with five times the number of soldiers – took
over. Since taking control March 23, the 30th has been able to beef up border
patrols, find and destroy weapons left over from Iraq’s war with Iran, and
complete $3.6 million in civil affairs projects.

During a briefing Wednesday at the division headquarters, officials
said the North Carolina soldiers are to hand over control of their area of
operations in eastern Iraq to a Tennessee National Guard unit on Christmas

Soldiers from North Carolina will spend between 14 and 20 days in
Kuwait, packing vehicles and cleaning supplies, before heading back to the
United States.

“They will be less than a month in Kuwait,” said Maj. Jim
McGregor, chief of plans for the 1st Division. “Then I suspect those
North Carolina soldiers will go home and watch TV closely for the next 60 to
90 days.”

Measure of success

McGregor said a measure of success for the North Carolina soldiers –
and the 1st Infantry Division as a whole – will be how well things go after
they leave the country.

McGregor said the National Guard soldiers have put their civilian
skills and their military training to use.

“They bring a great perspective,” he said. “When the
lights go out, there is more than likely an electrician who can turn them
back on because that’s his job.”

The next rotation of troops will put an even greater emphasis on
National Guard soldiers. Capt. Matthew Handley, a spokesman for the 30th,
said about 40 percent of all soldiers in Iraq will be guardsmen.

The 1st Division and the 30th Brigade Combat Team are handing over
control of their area of operation about a month before the scheduled Jan. 31
Iraqi national elections. Soldiers from both units are working now to
register Iraqis to vote.

They are working in a region that is still far from stable. The 1st
Division’s area of operations includes the Sunni Triangle, where former
regime elements, religious jihadists and terrorists attempt attacks daily.

Batiste said the success of the deployment can’t be measured merely by
the yardstick of the number of attacks. Those make headlines, but he pointed
to more subtle indicators of the soldiers’ effect on the region.

“It’s the attitude of the people,” he said. “It’s
people who are put back to work, the number of schools that are open.”

Batiste said he hopes to leave his area of operations in the hands of
Iraqis. The goal is to have the Iraqi National Guard operating independently
at the platoon level, police working with confidence and local city councils
taking actions to improve the lives of their people.

“It’s a dangerous place, and it probably always will be,” he
said. “But we have this irreversible momentum, and it’s headed in the
right direction.”



Soldiers Outline Hopes for Iraq Tour;
256th Has High Expectations

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The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

November 18, 2004

By Acadiana Bureau

– This week several soldiers in the Louisiana National Guard’s 256th
Tiger Brigade Combat Team, which recently arrived in Iraq, had some comments
on their hopes and expectations for the next year.

An update from the brigade’s public affairs
section provided the information from five Louisiana soldiers.

“I would like to learn about a culture that
is foreign to me and experience a different way of life than I am accustomed
to,” Spc. Chris Hulin said. “I would also like to improve both
physically and mentally by exercising more and working toward a master’s
degree using online courses.”

Hulin is a member of the 2nd Battalion, 156th
Infantry (Mechanized), based in Abbeville.

“I expect a lot of cohesion within the units
and separate companies. It’s going to be a long year, and I think we all need
to be there for each other,” said Sgt. Neeka Dorn, with the 256th’s
headquarters company.

Spc. Douglas Franklin of the 1st Battalion, 141st
Field Artillery, based in New Orleans, has a two-fold aim.

“I want to save some money. I have a son
starting private school, and the money that I’m making here would help out a
lot,” Franklin said. “I also plan to develop some kind of
relationship with the local people and to make this a better place for the
next group of soldiers that will come in.”

Sgt. 1st Class Tony Wyatt of the 1088th Engineer
Battalion, based in Plaquemine, said he’d like to have an impact.

“I volunteered to be here to do my duty and,
hopefully, to make a difference in the lives of the Iraqi people,” he

Second Lt. Candice Biery of the 199th Support
Battalion, based in Alexandria, spoke of her fellow soldiers.

“I’m looking forward to growing as a leader,
getting the information to my soldiers as soon as possible to assist them on
their missions,” Biery said. “I also want to be able to work well
with other task forces in support of their projects and mission.”

The 4,000-strong brigade arrived in Iraq earlier
this month. The brigade has units in Abbeville, Alexandria, Breaux Bridge,
Crowley, New Iberia, Jeanerette, St. Martinville, Fort Polk, Houma,
Jonesboro, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Napoleonville, Natchitoches, New Orleans,
New Roads, Opelousas, Plaquemine, Shreveport and Winnfield.

In addition to approximately 3,000 Louisiana
soldiers, units from New York, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin and Illinois
are attached to the brigade.

The brigade trained this summer at Fort Hood,
Texas, and Fort Irwin, Calif. They left for Kuwait in October.

While in Iraq, the brigade is attached to Task
Force Baghdad, under the 1st Cavalry Division.

This is the first combat mission for the brigade,
which was activated but never deployed in Desert Storm.





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Families Gather In Walbridge


The Blade

20 November

By Ignazio Messina

Staff Writer

Wells knows the holidays won’t be the same for her and her five children this

kids keep me busy, and as long as I stay busy, I will be OK,” Ms. Wells
said. “Right now, we’re praying we get to see him before he’s deployed.”

Her husband,
Sgt. Daniel Wells, is one of the 125 or so soldiers from the Ohio Army National Guard‘s 612th Engineer
Battalion who were sent earlier this month to Camp Atterbury in Indiana
before being deployed to Iraq.

Ms. Wells
sighed heavily and shrugged when asked if she was disappointed her husband
was pulled away from home just weeks before Thanksgiving Day.

sentiments were in the hearts of many family members yesterday at the National Guard headquarters in
Walbridge – where the Christ Child Society of Toledo, a community service
group, sponsored a party for the families of soldiers called overseas.

children watched a puppet show, petted an Australian lizard from the Toledo
Zoo, or created holiday cards with Polaroid pictures, their parents shared
stories and reconnected with friends.

Matt and
Tiffany Gagle have been without their father – Sgt. Jeffrey Gagle of the Ohio
National Guard‘s 216th Engineering
Battalion – for most of the year.

holidays are going to be hard,” said Matt, 15, a student at Toledo
Christian School. “We would get worried about him when he told us that
he was going off of the base for something, but we know that God is watching
after him.”

Mary Bell,
who organized the event with the Christ Child Society, said she was pleased
with the turnout. About 50 children and 50 adults came to the party.

we have so many people from this area deployed, we chose to do something for
the children,” she said.

Linda Power
said the holidays will be sad without her sister, Sgt. Robin Giles of East
Toledo, but stressed that people need to remember how hard the holidays can
be for the troops overseas.

“We are
sending her a small Christmas tree, and hopefully it will get there on
time,” Ms. Power said. “We’ll celebrate Christmas here when she
gets home. I’m leaving my tree up until then.”





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No Way to Treat Our Soldiers


Denver Post

November 18, 2004

By Peter G. Chronis

More than any time since World War II, the U.S.
armed forces are relying on National Guard and Reserve troops to carry
out their mission, a result of the demands of deployments in Afghanistan and

Yet there’s troubling evidence that some
employers aren’t doing right by reservists when they return.

Most activated Reserve and Guard members take a
serious pay cut to serve their country – they shouldn’t be pushed out of
their civilian jobs, too. (To their credit, some private-sector and
government employers have made up the difference between military and
civilian pay and kept up the troops’ benefits in their absence.)

Sadly, Marine Lt. Col. Steve Duarte, about whose
ongoing fight with his former employer, Agilent Technologies Inc., I wrote
about in June, isn’t alone. Duarte was “workforce-managed” on Nov.
10, 2003 (the 228th birthday of the Marine Corps, no less), shortly after
returning from an overseas deployment to Iraq. After 19 years of dedicated
service, Agilent suddenly decided Duarte’s skills aren’t as good as those of
his peers and terminated – er, “workforce-managed” – the
compensation specialist.

The 1994 Uniformed Services Employment and
Re-employment Rights Act was passed because many troops called up for Desert
Storm in 1990 and ’91 found their civilian jobs had vanished. The U.S.
switched to an all-volunteer military in 1973, and under the “total
force” concept, the Guard and reserve augment active-duty forces in

Since the Sept. 11 attacks, 442,415 reservists
have been called up to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Mike
Biddle, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. Of
those, 270,274 have been demobilized.

The current deployments have been much longer
than Desert Storm, and some reservists have been activated more than once
since Sept. 11. During the 2004 fiscal year, complaints under the law totaled
1,454, up 11 percent from 1,315 cases in fiscal 2003, which in turn was up 10
percent from 1,195 in fiscal 2002, Biddle said. Before Sept. commanding officer
refers the case to the Department of Labor, which investigates and then tries
to resolve cases with merit.

Another avenue is an ombudsman organization,
Employers in Support of the Guard and Reserve, which uses volunteer lawyers
to iron out disputes.

If nothing works, Labor can send the case to the
Justice Department for possible litigation. As a last resort, Justice can
file a federal lawsuit against the employer.

So far, three Colorado cases have been referred
to the U.S. Attorney’s office here, Dorschner said. Two were settled after
suits were filed in federal court, and a third was settled without filing
suit. (Duarte hired private attorney George Aucoin of New Orleans to file his

“I feel pretty strongly [about USERRA] and I
think that most Americans feel strongly that the law that protects
reservists’ jobs is a good one and should be enforced,” said U.S.
Attorney John Suthers.

Employers usually “take the issue quite
seriously” once they hear from the U.S. attorney, he said.

Duarte, 51, told me that he’s sent out a bunch of
résumés but still hasn’t landed a new job. “There are a lot of
‘hopefuls’ – people who sound very positive – but nothing that’ll put money
in my pocket.” Settlement talks failed, he said, and the case is set for
trial in March, and he’s determined to see it through. “It’s the
principle of the thing,” Duarte said.

Ultimately, a court may decide who’s right but,
as a former Marine reservist, my sympathies are with Duarte. Citizen-soldiers
deserve our gratitude – not a kick in the pants. But if the numbers are any
indication, I’m afraid he’s going to have company.





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Tributes for Soldiers Carry on Their


The Associated Press State & Local Wire

November 16, 2004, Tuesday

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Park benches, flagpoles and even a golf tournament
are different ways Iowans are making tributes to 17 Iowa soldiers killed in
Iraq or Afghanistan.

At the Des Moines gravesite of Army Pvt. Kurt Frosheiser, a candle
flickers all day, every day. Frosheiser, 22, died when his vehicle ran over
an explosive device near Baghdad in November 2003.

“I give (Kurt) an Army salute, and he deserves it,” said
father Chris Frosheiser, 57, a former Army reservist who greets his son
everyday in this fashion. “It’s my duty. I’m his dad.”

Every four days, Frosheiser replaces the candle that stands in a
gold-domed plastic holder at his son’s tomb.

The Kurt Frosheiser Memorial Golf Tournament held in Altoona in July
raised about $9,000 for a proposed Iowa Veterans Cemetery, said Chris
Frosheiser. About 120 golfers took part in the tournament, which Frosheiser
hopes will become an annual event.

Students at Garfield Elementary School, in Cedar Rapids, dedicated a
flagpole in honor of Army National Guard Pfc. David Kirchhoff.
The 31 year old died of heat stroke in Iraq on Aug. 9, 2003.

Kirchoff’s mom Nancy Kirchhoff, 57, taught at the school for about 25
years before retiring in 2002.

“It was one of the most meaningful things for me,” Nancy
Kirchhoff said about the flagpole.

A trio of park benches in Cedar Rapids honor Sgt. Paul Fisher, an Army
National Guardsman who died at age 39 from injuries suffered when his Chinook
helicopter was shot down over central Iraq in November 2003.

“What we wanted to do was put memorials up in the community for
everyone to remember Paul,” said his widow, Karen Fisher, 43. It’s
important “to keep his name in the community.”

Paul Fisher’s name also is engraved on a granite bench in Veterans
Memorial Park. Fisher also will be remembered through an annual scholarship
of $1,000 in his name. It will be given over the next five years to
well-rounded university-bound students who have a parent with military

In the spring, the Aaron Sissel Scholarship Committee will present a
male and female graduating senior at Tipton High School with $500
scholarships based on service, goals and financial need.

Army National Guard Sgt. Aaron Sissel of Tipton died at age 22 after
his convoy in Iraq was ambushed near the Syrian border in November 2003.


High-Achieving Engineer Joined Guard
After College

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Chicago Tribune

November 18, 2004

By Maria Kantzavelos, Special to the Tribune

Erik. S. McCrae wasn’t one to boast about how he
graduated co-valedictorian of his high school class, finished college in just
2 1/2 years and landed his dream job as an engineer–all before joining the
Army National Guard.

“He was very quiet and unassuming. For Erik,
it was matter of fact. He was just so gifted,” said McCrae’s father,
Scott. “He was not overt about anything.”

The son of a recently retired Army National Guard
colonel, McCrae joined the National Guard in August 2001, after graduating
from college with degrees in math and applied physics and getting a job as an
engineer for a high-tech company in Hillsboro, Ore.

“My question to him was, `Why didn’t you
join before? You could’ve gotten some college [financial] assistance,'”
McCrae’s father said. “He said he didn’t want anything to interfere with
his college. He had the ability to prioritize where he wanted his time and
his effort.”

McCrae, 25, of Portland, Ore., a 1st lieutenant,
was among five soldiers killed June 4 in Baghdad when their convoy was
attacked by homemade bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. Assigned to 2nd
Battalion, 162nd Infantry of Cottage Grove, Ore., McCrae was coming to the
aid of soldiers from another unit whose Humvee had been attacked when he was
wounded, his father said.

Before he left for Iraq, McCrae volunteered as a
reserve deputy with the Washington County sheriff’s office, working full-time
in his engineering job and dating his girlfriend, Heather, whom he married a
month before his deployment.




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Personnel Get Day to Fish in Key


Associated Press Online

November 17, 2004 Wednesday

ISLAMORADA, Fla. – About 60 American military personnel – most who
served in Afghanistan and Iraq – got some well-deserved “R&R”
off the Florida Keys on Tuesday.

The outing was the brainchild of two south Florida sportfishing
professionals. Charter boat captains in the Islamorada area provided a free
day of fishing, while area businesses contributed gifts and various social

“What better way to show these true Americans how much their
sacrifice means to all of us,” said Capt. Skip Bradeen, a project
co-organizer and Vietnam veteran.

The soldier-anglers seemed to relish the experience, despite choppy
seas that affected a few.

“He wasn’t wearing his camouflage, but he sure looked pretty
green to me,” Sgt. Kevin Larrabee of St. Augustine said of National
Guard buddy Ralph Priddy, also of St. Augustine.

Five highly prized sailfish were caught and released by the soldiers.
They also pulled in a variety of food fish, the largest a 2
1-pound kingfish.



New Safety Steps Planned for N.J. Range

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The Associated Press

18 November 2004

EGG HARBOR, N.J. (AP) – The New Jersey Air National Guard is adopting new safety measures at a target range
after an F-16 fighter jet strafed an elementary school nearby.

approaching the Warren Grove Gunnery Range will have to keep a safety on
their weapons until they approach a target, to prevent any accidental bursts
of gunfire. Flight patterns will be altered so that any accidental fire will
land in a sparsely populated area.

Nov. 3, a veteran pilot on a night training mission shot up a school with 27
rounds of 20 mm cannon fire. Several rounds penetrated classrooms. No one was

military is investigating and expects to issue its findings in about three
weeks. It is looking into such possibilities as pilot error or an equipment

over the range have been suspended, and the District of Columbia National Guard pilot involved has
been grounded until the investigation is complete.

new steps are “going to impact some of our training, but it’s something
we’re going to have to do,” said Col. Brian Webster, commander of the Air National Guard unit that is
responsible for the range. “Another incident like this is beyond

pilot’s commander said Wednesday it did not appear that the pilot was aiming
at the school. The pilot’s mission was to fire at a target on the ground in
the Warren Grove range, a 9,416-acre expanse of scrub pine.




Air Force Engineers Help Soldiers Build
Field Bases

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455th Expeditionary Operations Group Public Affairs

18 November 2004

by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Lindsey

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) 
— From their desks miles away from forward-operating bases, Combined
Task Force-Coyote engineers are improving the lives of deployed Soldiers and

During their five-month deployment here, 11 Airman deployed from Missouri
Air National Guard
work alongside Army engineers designing buildings,
airfields and water-delivery and wastewater-disposal systems.

“When I see Soldiers and Marines returning from the field, it feels
good to know they’re going to enjoy a hot shower, flushing toilets and have a
comfortable bed to sleep in because of the work we do,” said Lt. Col. Paul
Blanzy, a deployed engineer.

For their service supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, Army Maj.
Gen. Eric T. Olson, Combined Joint Task Force-76 commander, awarded the
Soldiers, Airmen and coalition troops the wartime service patch in a ceremony
Nov. 11. Australian, Korean, Polish and Slovakian military engineers also
augment the unit.

The Air Force engineers can wear the “combat patch” throughout their
deployment. Soldiers awarded the patch have the option to continue wearing
the shoulder-sleeve insignia throughout their Army careers. Regulations
permitting the Airmen to wear the patch when they return to their duty
station are being reviewed, officials said.

With or without the patch, improving the quality of life for deployed
troops and Afghans is what keeps these engineers drawing up designs well into
the end of the shift some nights, Colonel Blanzy said.

“These guys have never shirked from any job they’ve been given because
they know we’re all working for a greater purpose,” he said. “It’s tough at
times — they have careers at home that are on hold and [a] family they miss
being away from, but they continue giving 100 percent.”

Some of the Air National Guard engineers, such as Maj. Scott Nall and
Capt. Fabian Grabski, will continue designing airfields, and water and
sanitation systems after shedding their desert camouflage uniforms for
civilian attire at the tour’s end in January. Others, such as Master Sgt.
Korey Goldcynski and Maj. Darren Guttmann, will trade their hats for a police
officer’s cap and a book on environmental regulations, respectively.

However, no matter how much the Airmen look forward to sharing time
with their families, taking a leisurely Sunday drive and visiting the toilet
without having to walk a city block, the National Guardsmen said it is an
honor to contribute to making the world a safer place.

“Taking care of business overseas, rather than on American soil” is
what inspires Sergeant Drake, an engineering assistant, and his co-workers to
create plans not only for today’s Soldiers, but for a better tomorrow, he

“Look in every direction around you. (These service members are)
turning Bagram into what it is today — a power projection platform from
which all that is being done for the people of this country couldn’t have
been done without you,” General Olsen said to the troops after he handed
patches to 100-plus people in formation. “Building up the infrastructure and
transportation routes, (you are) paving the way to a better future in

It is that sense of accomplishment that the Air Force engineers said
sustains them to continue designing quality-of-life improvements.

“What we’re doing here in support of the global war on terrorism is
important,” said Maj. William Morales, an engineer. “Later in life, we’ll
tell our grandchildren stories about our service here with pride.”



Help Sought To Get Books To Soldiers


Fresno Bee

November 21, 2004

Denny Boyles the Fresno Bee

The Altaji,
Iraq, branch library soon will have plenty of books, movies and board games
for soldiers to use during their off-duty time.

The problem
is that all of those books, movies and games are in the Central Valley, and
not in Iraq.

A Valley
veteran responsible for gathering all the materials for the library has now
shifted his focus and will host a fund-raiser to help raise money to ship the
materials overseas.

Sgt. Justin
Bond, who was injured while serving in Iraq, will hold the fund-raiser from 9
a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Lemoore Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Ray Messer,
head elder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lemoore, said the decision
to support Bond’s efforts was an easy one. Bond is a member of the church and
grew up with many of the other members.

were some people who asked if this would create the impression we supported
the war, but it’s not about that. It’s about taking care of our troops,”
Messer said.

young men and women serving overseas are all someone’s son or daughter. When
they are involved in a mission like this, you can’t turn your back on them
because of political beliefs. You have to support them.”

To help Bond
raise money to ship the books, the church will host a yard sale, bake sale
and carwash, as well as a booth to tape video greetings to soldiers and a
booth for writing thank-you notes.

Bond said
the idea for the library came to him while was he recovering from gunshot
wounds he received through both knees while serving in Iraq.

After being
sent home to recover from his injuries, Bond said he knew he wanted to do
something for the other members of his unit, the Fresno-based 1072nd
Transportation Company of the California Army National Guard.

returned home, but since my Guard unit remains in Iraq, part of me remains
there also,” Bond said.

Bond, who
was injured during an ambush April 9, said while he was in Iraq he noticed a
shortage of books and magazines, and a troubling trend of soldiers
“retreating to their own corners” when the day’s work ended.

are a lot of people sending care packages, which is great. But the guys and
girls over there need books. They also need board games, so that when the
work is done they have something to do together that will let them
socialize,” Bond said.

Bond decided
to start collecting by standing on a street corner with a sign asking for
books, movies and games. His efforts drew some media attention, and a trickle
of donations soon became an avalanche as Valley residents cleared
bookshelves, closets and garages to answer the call.

“I was
really overwhelmed by the response. I had figured I would get several hundred
books and some board games that I could send in care packages to individual
members of the unit,” Bond said.

Bond received more than 24,000 books, hundreds of movies and nearly 100 board

Soon, the
care package plan was dropped, and the idea of a library for soldiers began
to take shape.

The only
problem, Bond said, was paying to ship the materials to Iraq.

“When I
started, I had figured I would spend $500 to $1,000 of my own money to send
books overseas. Now, I know that won’t even make a dent. I know we probably
won’t get enough money Sunday [today], either, but it will be a start,”
Bond said.

The reporter
can be reached at [email protected] or (559) 622-2411.



DoD Announces America Supports You


The Department of
Defense announced today the launch of “America Supports You,” a nationwide
program to showcase and communicate American support to the men and women of
the Armed Forces

 In announcing “America Supports You,”
Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness
said that thousands of Americans, including
individual citizens, businesses and organizations, have spearheaded
activities and projects in their communities to show their support for
America’s Armed Forces, especially those serving in harm’s way.

“These activities of support
have a positive impact on the morale and spirit of those who serve,” said
Abell.  He said the “America Supports You” program will showcase these
community activities and projects on a new website so that the American
public and the U.S. military serving at home and overseas will know firsthand
how much the American people appreciate their service and sacrifice.

Shauna Fleming of Los Angeles created one of the projects highlighted on the
web site.  Fleming, a 15-year-old high school freshman, launched a
campaign called
A Million Thanks,” a year-round
campaign to show U.S. military men and women, past and present, appreciation
for their sacrifices, dedication and service through letters, emails, cards,
prayers and thoughts.

story is one of many that will be profiled on the

website in the coming
weeks and months.  Americans are invited to log on to the website and
share details of activities supporting the troops that are taking place in
their communities.  Everyone who
shares their story will receive a dog tag with the “America Supports You”
logo, while supplies last. 

of veterans and service organizations also joined DoD at the launch,
including Edward A. Powell Jr., USO, president and chief executive officer;
Raymond Felsecker, American Legion, assistant director of the National
Security Foreign Relations Commission; and James R. Mueller, Veterans of
Foreign Wars, senior vice commander-in-chief. 

 They join other organizations and associations supporting
the campaign through the distribution of promotional materials and
development of community-based activities.

more information about “America Supports You,” please log on to



National Guard, Roush Extend Agreement
for ’05

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From Team Release

November 18, 2004

CONCORD, N.C. — The National Guard and Roush Racing have extended
their Nextel Cup partnership for the 2005 season. The National Guard will
maintain its primary role with Roush Racing’s No. 16 Nextel Cup entry and
driver Greg Biffle.

“We couldn’t be happier with the program at Roush Racing,”
said LTG Roger Schultz, Director of the Army National Guard. “Greg, Doug
(Richert, crew chief) and the team there have done an excellent job
representing the Guard and we want to continue the relationship we’ve built
over the last 10 months.

“The win at Michigan was a milestone for the National Guard, as I
understand it was the first win for a military-backed team in the Cup series.
This season has been a morale boost for our soldiers working both here and
overseas and I expect we’ll have even more to cheer for in 2005.”

The National Guard began their involvement in NASCAR in 2002 and
joined Roush Racing last December. In a partnership with Subway, Travelodge
and Jackson Hewitt, the National Guard took on a primary role with the No. 16
team and debuted their signature red, white and blue Ford shortly before the
Daytona 500.

“I was extremely pleased when I learned that the National Guard
would continue to be a major part of our Cup program,” Jack Roush said.
“This year, we’ve had the privilege of having soldiers from the Guard at
every race. I have enjoyed the opportunity to thank them personally for what
they do for our country and look forward to carrying the relationship into

Biffle shares Roush’s appreciation of the unique relationship between the
team and the National Guard.

“It means a little bit more when you know there are soldiers up
in the middle of the night, overseas, who have stayed up just to cheer for
their car in the Nextel Cup race,” said Biffle. “This season, we’ve
had the chance to hear stories and meet soldiers who were either just
returning home or were preparing for deployment. I was happy to put their car
in victory lane at Michigan and I look forward to the opportunity to put the
National Guard Ford in the winner’s circle a few more times in 2005.”

The 2004 season got off to a good start for the National Guard team
when they took the pole for the Daytona 500 and after sustaining a few
growing pains, the team has gained momentum heading into the final races of
the year.

“We weren’t getting the finishes that showed what this team was
capable of in the first half of the season,” said crew chief Doug
Richert, “but the National Guard stood by us and showed their support
through it all. The second half of the season has been a true example of what
this National Guard team can do. We had the win at Michigan, six top-10’s in
the last 15 races and the pit crew has taken the McDonald’s/Powerade Pit
Challenge Award three times this season.

“We’re going to try to get this National Guard Ford into victory
lane again before the end of the season and then get ready for 2005. We’ve
made a lot of improvements as a team and I expect next year to be a
successful one. We take a lot of pride in representing the National Guard
each weekend and look forward to doing the same in 2005.”


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