Oregon Guard to Deploy in 2009

3,500 members of the Oregon National Guard have been alerted that they will be called to active duty and be deployed sometime in 2009, LocalNewsDaily.com reports:

In what would be the biggest deployment of Oregon National Guard troops since World War II, all 3,500 members of the 41st Brigade Combat Team have been put on alert that they will be called to active duty in 2009.

“This is part of what the Guard and the Army have been working toward for a number of years since this whole war started…trying to give guardsmen plenty of lead time so they can work with their families, their employers and any other issues that may crop up,” said Oregon National Guard Brigadier General Mike Caldwell.

The soldiers could be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, but Caldwell said they have not been told yet where they will be going. He said even though these 3,500 troops make up more than half of the state’s 6,400 Army National Guard soldiers, they will be able to handle any other emergencies that come up here in Oregon. There are approximately 8600 total members between the Oregon Army and Air National Guards.

The 41st Brigade Combat Team is headquartered in Tigard, with troops based throughout the state.

Read the rest. Discuss.

Comments

  • Chris Lowe (unverified)
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    The title on the story at the link says this is "more than half" of all O.N.G. troops. First commenter over there speculates mission might be Iran.

    We need some serious analysis of what a Guard deployment of this magnitude does to public safety & emergency preparedness here.

    In the days of the draft, the Reserves really were reserves (i.e. backup troops) and the National Guard were a second tier reserve behind them, mainly domestically oriented. There's a reason our former president arranged for his son the current president to join the Air Guard -- it kept him from going to Vietnam.

    Today highly trained & equipped "regular" service members are considered too valuable to be put at risk beyond a certain proportion of their numbers, so the Guard and Reserves are not really reserves, but first call troops sent to be I.E.D.-fodder. Meanwhile most of the regulars are deployed at bases at home, in Europe, in Korea, & in smaller numbers at other bases of our informal empire around the world.

    This structure needs to be reformed so that the Reserves and Guard are put back in their proper reserve role. Or at least the names need to be changed to First Call Less Valuable Forces, so that people know what they're really signing up for when they sign up.

    (Please note that I am not saying that they really are less valuable, only that the current f'd up system treats them that way).

    Further, the system needs to be reformed such that Reserve and Guard personnel who serve in a combat theatre have immediate and full integration and rights in the V.A. system, and that the V.A. must accept diagnoses made within the military health system as a basis for treatment eligibility.

  • davidg (unverified)
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    Does the governor have the power to disband or de-enlist the national guard? This would prevent the President from calling them up and sending them to Iraq. It would be the most impressive statement the state could make about the war. Congress has refused to act to stop the war. Maybe collectively the states could do so by simply disbanding their national guard troops. Then there would be no one more to send. Can this work?

    The state national guard is rarely called out for any emergencies in Oregon. We could afford the risk of not having them available until the Iraq War is over. Disbanding them would certainly save lives - those of the Oregon national guard troops themselves.

  • sean cruz (unverified)
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    I am writing as the father of two Army National Guard soldiers, first ordered deployed to Iraq four years ago this month:

    Every Guard soldier makes a dual enlistment into both their respective state's Guard and the National Guard.

    There is nothing any state's governor or legislature can do about the national part, and that will always trump the state's interest.

    What is really missing from this discussion is the fact that we Oregonians are knowingly sending many of these soldiers off to get their lives ruined, and that we are doing so knowing that we are not doing enough to help either the troops or their families that have gone before them.

    The 3,500 soldiers we are about to send off to the war realize this fact, and they have little reason to expect that we Oregonians will value their sacrifice enough to cover their backs.

    The focus for the month of December will be on what it always is--holiday shopping and holiday travel.

    Much of the holiday shopping involves the purchase of goods made or grown in foreign nations. This does nothing to strengthen the nation in either time of war or peace.

    Most of the holiday travel involves the purchase of fuel that directly fills the coffers of the nation's enemies.

    The nation struggles with the cost of gasoline at the pump, is locked into a war to keep the price under $ 3.00 a gallon. Nothing gets people more upset than seeing a nickle bump in the cost of fueling their private motor vehicle.

    Meanwhile, it costs the US taxpayer one hundred dollars a gallon to get diesel into Afghanistan. That's right, $100 a gallon, but who cares?

    These Oregon soldiers and their families know that they are going into the meatgrinder, making sacrifices for people who will begrudge every nickle spent on services for veterans and their families on down the line, for people who will make absolutely no personal sacrifice in return.

    Who among us will these courageous people look to? Who will be there for them?

    These are important questions, and one that we must settle among ourselves here in Oregon.

  • davidg (unverified)
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    Sean,

    Thanks for your comments on the dual enrollment for national guard troops. I am not familiar with the mechanics of how all that works, but I suspect that the national guard depends to a significant extent upon the support of a state guard system. What would happen if the state guard system suddenly ceased to exist?

    Where is the training and support supplied for these troops other than in the state of their origin? What would happen if those facilities suddenly ceased operations?

    Nothing important is ever as easy as it may initially seem, but very often where there is a will, there is a way. I think the best way to support the troops is to get them out of harm's way. Withdrawing state support of the national guard would be a dramatic first step in achieving that goal. Even if it was only a symbolic act it would be worth doing.

  • Chris Lowe (unverified)
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    Maybe you're right in your cynicism about the people, Sean, I don't know. But I'm not sure anyone has given them either an opportunity or much a challenge to show it one way or another, particularly the "begrudge every nickel spent on services for veterans and their families" part.

    We need to advocate better about this. Although my personal military connections are limited, I think what Bush has been doing about this is an outrage and the same will be true if Democrats just stand pat.

    What you say about buying foreign-produced goods and national strength I don't really agree with, though. Refusal to buy into jingoistic economic nationalism does not mean I don't appreciate the sacrifices military personnel and their families make. Are you saying "buy American or you're not appreciating servicemen & -women's sacrifices"? I'm not saying you are, this is a genuine question. If you are saying something like that, I reject it.

    People of all kinds of political stripes turn "the troops" into hostages, in effect -- "agree with me or you're against them" -- as I'm sure you know better than me. Unfortunately this point about buying foreign made goods looks like it might take us down that path. I refuse to go. Excess nationalism is part of the problem.

    The whole rhetoric of national strength has a lot to do with how people let themselves get lied into this evil war in the first place.

    While I oppose misnamed so-called free trade agreements that hurt American workers (and those overseas) mainly for the benefit of rich people here and in foreign ruling elites, I also am not interested in nationalism that hurts foreign workers and peasants and often is used to promote ethnic chauvinism at home.

    I don't want to be putting words in your mouth so if I've misunderstood, please correct me.

    And good luck to you and your family. I do appreciate that your children and by extension your whole family are making sacrifices and that justice demands that they be treated right when they return.

  • sean cruz (unverified)
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    thanks to all of you posters for stepping out and commenting on this issue.

    To Chris, my comment regarding buying foreign goods and products is not related to nationalism (thank you for offering the opportunity to clarify--always appreciated).

    I meant the comment in two different senses:

    One is the fact that for those troops and their families, the holiday spirit is already part of their sacrifice, the gifts may be the last.

    The other is the fact that it takes a lot of fuel to ship those goods and products. So there is a cost to the nation even if the individual consumer gets a deal.

    On a personal level, on Thanksgiving Day 2003, I watched my son 21-year-old son Aaron pack for deployment to Iraq. He was gone the next day to join his 19-year old brother in their Utah Army National Guard unit.

    Aaron was too ill to be deployed, seriously ill, with a life-threatening condition. He lost access to medical care when he left our home in Portland for deployment.

    Tyler was sent to Iraq, .50 caliber machine gunner on a humvee with no armor, escorting convoys.

    Aaron's health deteriorated until his death in 2005 at the age of 23.

    Eight hours after we buried his brother, Tyler was on his way back for his second deployment, this time in Ramadi.

    Of the 4,000 soldiers and Marines in Tyler's unit, 75 were killed and more than a thousand were serious casulties. They lived in squalor for the entire year, under constant daily attack.

    In my family, Thanksgiving is empty of joy. There are many other families like mine.

    Some of these 3500 Oregon families will be joining us soon.

  • Chris Lowe (unverified)
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    Oh man, Sean, sorry I was so off base. And so sorry to hear of your loss. My daughter's 8, so I can imagine a little. But I can't imagine ...

    Exemplifies your point I suppose, though I'd wager there's a chunk of the general public who are in better touch with these realities than I am.

    Thanks for bringing this out here, we need it. I appreciate LT's focus on vet issues for similar reasons. Thanks for your patience with me too.

    It really is an outrage ... Any insights into what kind of support might be useful in some way would be appreciated.

    Hope Tyler comes home safely, or as safely as can be, and as soon as can be. Again, I can only imagine, but I can't imagine what it's like for you (or him). But I'll think of him, and you, now ...

  • LT (unverified)
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    Thanks for the compliment, Chris.

    When our US Senate candidates are as outspoken on these issues as our AG candidates are outspoken about the damage the Mannix "anti-crime" measure will do, I will believe they are serious.

    How does either a "tap with Tester" or Steve's Portland event even begin to deal with these serious problems. Or are we supposed to believe our US Senate candidates know what they are doing so we should just shut up and watch the campaigns unfold as their consultants have designed them?

  • WMN (unverified)
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    I don't have a lot to add to this discussion, but I have some very dear friends who will be in this deployment. The bottom line for everyone is this: We need to stand up and make our voices heard. We do not want our servicemen and women being sent to fight where there is nothing to fight for. I used to support the war, support our president, but am now seeing that this is a fruitless effort. One to rival Vietnam. Shame on us for trying to control these other countries. We got Saddam out of power; let's just leave it at that, and bring our troops home to guard OUR country.

  • sean cruz (unverified)
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    WMN:

    Actually, you have a great deal to add. Thank you. Much appreciated. Keep speaking up and out.

  • ... (unverified)
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    I am going on my 2nd tour with the Oregon National Guard. It would be nice to see all of you who "oppose the war but support the troops" do more supporting of the troops than opposing the war. Believe it or not the enemy actually reads more information online than US citizens, this is how wars are won by what is called PSY OPS. All they have to do is see what all of you are saying and they know that they are winning in your minds.

    I had the job of calling my Soldiers and telling them that there is a chance of going to war. The ones that have served overseas with me knew what to expect the younger ones were asking me what they should be doing right now. If you really support the troops then contact a unit send them support letters or other things. If you spent as much time writing to Soldiers as you do writing against the war I can assure you that you would get a better response.

    We all knew what we were doing when we signed up for the military, though we all signed up for different reasons the bottom line is the same, we are here to support our Country in any way we are called upon. For three centuries a civilian in peace, a Soldier in war - of Security and Honor, I am the Custodian, Now and Forever... I AM THE GUARD.

    What makes this Country so great is that we are free to volunteer to do what we please. Some have chosen the military, please use your time to support them during which the time is needed for support.

  • ... (unverified)
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    I am going on my 2nd tour with the Oregon National Guard. It would be nice to see all of you who "oppose the war but support the troops" do more supporting of the troops than opposing the war. Believe it or not the enemy actually reads more information online than US citizens, this is how wars are won by what is called PSY OPS. All they have to do is see what all of you are saying and they know that they are winning in your minds.

    I had the job of calling my Soldiers and telling them that there is a chance of going to war. The ones that have served overseas with me knew what to expect the younger ones were asking me what they should be doing right now. If you really support the troops then contact a unit send them support letters or other things. If you spent as much time writing to Soldiers as you do writing against the war I can assure you that you would get a better response.

    We all knew what we were doing when we signed up for the military, though we all signed up for different reasons the bottom line is the same, we are here to support our Country in any way we are called upon. For three centuries a civilian in peace, a Soldier in war - of Security and Honor, I am the Custodian, Now and Forever... I AM THE GUARD.

    What makes this Country so great is that we are free to volunteer to do what we please. Some have chosen the military, please use your time to support them during which the time is needed for support.

  • LT (unverified)
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    I question why we need to send Guard members on repeated deployments. I support everything St. Rep. Boquist (a veteran of multiple Iraq deployments, as I understand it) said in a speech on the House floor, esp. that equipment which fits the mission (not wide vehicles for patrolling narrow streets, for instance) and other things like hot meals and cold drinks.

    I went to the farewell party and welcome home party for a friend on his 4th deployment, and was on his email mailing list.

    I support the Webb Amendment about troops having as much time at home as in combat.

    As someone over 60, I corresponded with friends when they served in Vietnam. I know the importance of correspondence.

  • 1LT (unverified)
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    <h2>It is called selfless service. We may not support the war, but we fight because that is what we are, SOLDIERS. Our main goal is to bring troops home. I fight for my battle buddy on my left and on my right. I volunteer for the front lines or the gunner on the 50 CAL in hopes that if there is too be an ambush, and attack or a sniper, I will endure the pain, not my brothers in arms. It is easier to loose your own life, then to loose a fellow brother in arms. I volunteered for OEF and I will volunteer for OIF, to help bring our boys home and provide the security and freedom that Americans take for grantage each and every day.</h2>
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