Marine Reserves Bolster Regular Corps With AM-Gulf Rdp
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) _ Thousands of Marine reservists uprooted from their homes and families accepted their pending participation in Operation Desert Shield with a mixture of resignation and understanding.
″We all signed up for it and now we’ve got to do it,″ said 22-year-old Lance Cpl. Kevin Nobis of Waterloo, Iowa.
Between 10,000 and 12,000 of the 43,000 Marine Corps reservists in the United States will call this eastern North Carolina base home during an intense training period before their likely deployment to the Middle East later this month, said Lejeune spokesman Maj. Jay Farrar.
The first group arrived Nov. 26, and the Camp Lejeune Military Processing Center has inoculated, shaved, shorn and dog-tagged about 1,000 a day since.
″This event is brought to you by Saddam Hussein,″ reads a sign inside the center just above a cartoon depicting the Iraq leader in a gun sight.
″We sent out roughly 10,000 Marines when this began,″ Farrar said. ″Now we’re bringing that many through again.″
About 80 percent of the Marine reserves called to action will join with active duty troops for two to four weeks’ training.
″People think the reserves are just weekend warriors, but we really train hard and we know how to do the job. We just need some practice,″ Lance Cpl. Richard Nordenbrook, 21, of Fairfax, Va., said Sunday at an anti-tank missile practice range.
″People always talk about them being weekend warriors,″ said active duty Marine Lt. Mike Nosbisch, 24, of Buffalo, N.Y. ″But they’ve got a mission here, too, and that mission is to go to war.
″Whether or not people want to hear that, that’s what it is.″
About 50 men trained with live missiles for the first time since the reservists arrived a week ago.
As the reserves sat nearby observing the exercise, mortar shells exploded about 1,000 meters out into the practice range providing a smoke screen as two armored trucks carrying anti-tank TOW missiles raced out of hiding and into position.
The reservists sat out of the action, but if the Camp Lejeune unit goes to Saudi Arabia, their newest members will go right along with them.
″If my country needs me then I’m here,″ said Nordenbrook. ″None of the active duty troops want to go either, but none of us are complaining.″