The Pentagon says it may need to call up thousands more National Guard and reserve troops over the next couple of months, if other nations don’t soon agree to send their soldiers to Iraq to help with peacekeeping and rebuilding. Colonel Robert King says the Iowa National Guard has not received orders to expand active-duty rosters…yet. He says more Iowa units will be called to active duty in the future, as they have many skills not widespread in the regular army. Iowa units have done a good job over the years preparing to be combat-ready, and King says the reason there are so many Iowa troops on duty around the world is that they were ready to go. A lot of the kind of units needed for certain operations are not widespread in the active military — for example, the Iowa national Guard has 3 medical companies and 2 are on active duty, because a large part of the military’s medical units are in the guard and reserve. Iowa’s Military Police company gets called up “every time there’s a flap anyplace in the world,” and King says this is the third time they’ve been called to federal active duty in a dozen years, as well as a lot of instate active duty. Colonel King says he’s heard commanders in the Gulf region say they can’t tell the difference between the reserve people and the “actives,” fulltime military troops, because the guards and reservists do their jobs very well.
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