Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Perspective: Guard units race to ready for Iraq duty

Left: An Arkansas National Guard stands security at the scene of a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device that detonated near the Al Karradah Patrol Headquarters in Baghdad. The training at Camp Atterbury is part of the call-up of 14,000 National Guardsmen, comprised of 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Arkansas Army National Guard; 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team; Oklahoma Army National Guard; 37th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Ohio Army National Guard; and the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Indiana Army National Guard.

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. — Sgt. Dave Kinyon stood in the middle of a group of helmeted men and women dressed in camouflage rain gear and Kevlar vests, an M-9 pistol in his hand.

"If it jams you rap it once, pull back and fire," he said, tapping the handle and pulling the slide as rain, sleet and sub-40-degree wind whipped the shivers into his squad. "When you run out of rounds, drop the magazine, don't waste your time picking it up. You only have seconds with each target."

Kinyon's military police unit in the 76th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is among units from four states that will be the first to come under a new policy of shorter stints in Iraq and a shorter training period beforehand. Some in the Guard, from new enlistees to former active-duty soldiers and commanders, are concerned that the schedule will make it harder to prepare properly. They say they haven't trained yet with armored Humvees and fully equipped rifles.

Read the rest at USA Today