Where's the Louisiana Guard? In Iraq
Micah Golmon, a dad of four stationed in Iraq, is
worried for his family back in U.S.A.
Louisiana G.I.s' turn to worry
BY NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
BAGHDAD - Hundreds of Louisiana soldiers in harm's way in Baghdad had the tables turned on them last night, fretting and agonizing over their family members back home in Katrina's path.
"I'm very worried. My fiancée said the wind was picking up to 180, 185 miles per hour," said Army Spec. Gerard Lawson, 21, of New Orleans.
"It's weird now that it's them running from danger and not us," said Spec. Mario Mendizabal, 23, from Houma, La., about 40 miles southwest of New Orleans. "I'm worried for my wife, my family, my brother, my sister. It's a good thing we're not on a mission right now because we wouldn't be able to concentrate."
All four soldiers have spent the past year working with New York's Fighting 69th. They've run countless patrols around Baghdad in Bradley tanks and now comprise a quick response team that reacts to attacks.
"I just want to know my family is okay, but they don't want me to worry so they're not telling me much. I guess it's my turn to wonder and worry," Lawson said.
Golmon, 27 and also from Houma, pulled out a photo of his wife and four daughters wearing matching pink dresses.
"I'm concerned about the stress this is putting on my wife. Here she was preparing for me to come home, and now she has four kids, two dogs and a guinea pig in a motel room in Texas," he said.
"I hope I actually get to go home to a home," Lawson added.
National Guard: Enough GIs for Storm Duty
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 29, 7:52 PM ET
WASHINGTON - Some 6,000 National Guard personnel in Louisiana and Mississippi who would be available to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are in Iraq, highlighting the changing role of America's part-time soldiers.
"The juxtaposition of the mission to Iraq and the response to Katrina really demonstrates the new and changing character of the National Guard," Daniel Goure, a military analyst at the private Lexington Institute, said Monday.
The war has forced the Guard into becoming an operational force, a far cry from its historic role as a strategic reserve primarily available to governors for disasters and other duties in their home states.
At 1.2 million soldiers, the active duty military is simply too small to carry the load by itself when there is a large sustained deployment like Iraq. Nationally, 78,000 of the 437,000 members of the Guard force are serving overseas.
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said the Gulf states have adequate National Guard units to handle the hurricane needs, with at least 60 percent of the Guard available in each state.
In Louisiana, which took the brunt of Katrina, some 3,000 members of the 256th Combat Brigade are in Iraq, while 3,500 members of the Guard were deployed to help hurricane victims and another 3,000 were on standby
So what happens when they're tired? Who replaces them?
Does anyone doubt those 3,000 soldiers in Iraq wouldn't be activated for duty now, at home?
posted by Steve @ 12:59:00 AM