The spokesman for the Iowa National Guard says he hopes the black cloud that hung over the organization in November with the death of four of its members in Iraq will dissipate in December. Colonel Robert King says over 27-hundred Iowans remain on active duty — about half in Iraq. King says the Thanksgiving visit by President Bush last week was a morale boost to him and likely to those overseas. He says it had to be a huge morale booster, even for those soldiers who didn’t actually see him, as he says word spreads fast. King says the visit showed the troops have support from the top. He says it wasn’t necessarily the sacrifice, it was the risk the president took as his role as the leader of the free world and the Commander in Chief. King says he admires the president for making the trip. King says the visit was a good boost in morale at the Guard headquarters at Camp Dodge after what has been one of the worst months for deaths in the organization since World War Two. King says the deaths show the diverse nature of the Iowa Guard as they included a 43-year-old full-time helicopter flight instructor, to the latest, a 22-year-old part-time guardmember. He says if you go to some of the units they send away, you see everything from 18 and 19-year-olds to all the way up to 50 year olds. King says all the deaths are hard to take, especially when it’s someone in their 20s.He says they sacrificed their time, their lives, so you and I can get to do the things we do, and they don’t get the opportunity to do the things we do because they sacrificed. A total of nine Iowans have died in the most recent action in Iraq — including the four Iowa guardmembers in November.
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