N.Y. Air National Guard Unit Activated With PM-Gulf-Reserves, Bjt
Undated (AP) _ National Guard members prepared to report for duty today after the Pentagon started calling up military reserve units to help U.S. troops in the Persian Gulf.
Units in Mississippi, Texas, New York and Alabama were among those that received the calls.
Nationwide, about 46,700 part-time soldiers will be called by Oct. 1, about 9,800 of them by the end of this month, Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams said Thursday.
Teresa Mason, a 21-year-old private in the U.S. Army 197th Brigade food service unit, departed for duty while her husband, Joseph, stayed at home to care for their baby.
″I wasn’t real thrilled with the idea of her going over there, but when you have to go, you go,″ said Mason, who was discharged from the U.S. Army in June. ″She could be gone for three to six months and we just had a baby three months ago.
″If I could have gone it would have been one thing. I don’t think she should be away from her kid for so long.″
Mrs. Mason said goodbye to her baby and 23-year-old husband Wednesday at Fort Benning, Ga., before she left for Saudi Arabia. They lived in nearby Columbus, Ga. Mason will live with his parents in Fostoria, Ohio, while she is in the Middle East.
The crisis in the gulf hit home elsewhere, too.
For a pair of 10-year-old girls with military fathers, the uncertainty of the Persian Gulf crisis inspired them to write a song.
Elizabeth Finocchio and Heather Hogsed of Fayetteville, N.C., wrote lyrics titled ″What’s Going On?″
″I almost cried when I read it,″ said Heather’s mother, Pamela Yarborough. ″It really shows how they felt and that they’re kind of frightened by what’s going on.″
About 150 members of the 183rd Military Airlift Squadron must report to the Mississippi Air National Guard base at Thompson Field in Rankin County by 11 p.m.
In San Antonio, Texas, Kelly Air Force Base confirmed today it is sending personnel, supplies and fuel to the Middle East as part of Operation Desert Shield, the U.S. response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
″As Air Force operations increase, our operations also will intensify,″ said Maj. Gen. Richard Smith, commander of the San Antonio Air Logistics Center at Kelly.
An Air National Guard unit in New York state was ordered to report for duty by midnight tonight. The 137th Military Airlift Squadron, a unit of the 105th Military Airlift Group of the New York Air National Guard, was activated late Thursday, squadron Lt. Col. John Perez said.
The squadron, which has about 150 members, is based at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh. Many members are pilots, dock handlers and load masters trained to fly cargoes great distances, and they likely will be used to fly troops and materials into the gulf region, Perez said.
President Bush has the authority to call up as many as 200,000 reserves for up to 180 days without declaring a national emergency.
The call-up of reserves, authorized by Bush on Wednesday, is the first since the Vietnam War.
Military reservists aren’t the only backup support headed for the Persian Gulf from Alabama. Three ships in the Ready Reserve Fleet have departed from Mobile, Ala., and tanks were shipped from Anniston, Ala., on Thursday.
In Huntsville, 77 soldiers from Redstone Arsenal headed for the crisis zone, including 10 doctors from Fox Army Community Hospital, Army Missile Command spokesman Dave Harris said.
″What’s happening here is happening at military installations throughout the United States,″ Harris said.