[lit-ideas] Lit-Ideas The Use of the Guard

  • From: Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 13 May 2004 01:51:19 EDT

This is another interesting development.  I also don't like it that we have 
sent soldiers over to Iraq and they are helping out the civilian contractors 
who are making so much $$ from our government contracts--and oh.  Maybe this is 
why the US Higher Ups have to hire mercenary types (i.e. private security 
guards) to guard them -- our military people are busy guarding those who can 
afford to pay for private security guards themselves...
I wonder how many other units are being used outside the realm of what they 
ought to be doing (I can think of LOTS which would be constructive and 
productive and which would actually be of benefit - working for a civilian 
company in 
Iraq is not one of them...  

Holden complains about use of Guard
By Terry Ganey
St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau Chief

JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri soldiers from the National Guard should not be 
riding shotgun for civilian contractors in Iraq, Missouri Gov. Bob Holden wrote 
Tuesday in a letter to President George W. Bush. 

Holden was responding to complaints that the state adjutant general, Brig. 
Gen. Dennis Shull, and others had received from relatives of soldiers with the 
1221st Transportation Co. The relatives said their loved ones had told them 
they had been assigned to guard civilian truck drivers, which is not part of 
their training. 

"If this is true, I most strenuously object to this wrongful use of U.S. Army 
personnel in this manner," Holden said in his letter to Bush. 

Paula Moffitt, whose husband, Spc. Steven Moffitt, is a driver for the Guard 
unit now in Iraq, said her husband had told her that he was assigned the job 
of acting as an armed guard for unarmed civilian drivers. 

"What if they get ambushed and the contractors bail out on them and they are 
there to defend themselves?" said Moffitt, who lives in Poplar Bluff, Mo. 

In a memo to his military superiors, Shull raises the question: "How can I 
answer the outcry of loved-ones and families of these dedicated soldiers who 
charge that we have mobilized and deployed a National Guard unit as a cheap 
source of labor for a rich, defense contractor?" 

The Missouri adjutant general, who is appointed by the governor, is the 
administrative head of the state's National Guard. 

A White House spokesman confirmed that Holden's letter was received Tuesday. 
He directed questions about it to the military because, "It's an operational 
issue." A captain manning the military's press office in Baghdad said it would 
take some time to check on the current mission of the 1221st. 

Once a National Guard unit is mobilized, it comes under the command of 
federal authorities. Nevertheless, Shull said, he regularly handles inquiries 
families of National Guard soldiers serving in Iraq. He said the complaint 
about the soldiers' assignment concerned him enough to ask questions of higher 
authorities. He then told Holden, who responded with the letter to Bush. 

Holden's letter said Shull had told him that the Guard was providing labor 
and drivers for Kellogg, Brown and Root, a civilian contractor. 

"I can understand the necessity to occasionally use units and soldiers to do 
other non-traditional kinds of missions to accommodate the short-term dictates 
of the combat zone; but I cannot understand, nor support, the use of soldiers 
to provide labor for a civilian contractor," Holden's letter to Bush said. 

"Clearly, the use of the 1221st Transportation Co. in this manner violates 
the traditional employment of soldiers in a manner that disregards the risks to 
the lives of these young Americans," Holden wrote. "I ask you to immediately 
look into the inappropriate use of this unit and take all actions necessary to 
insist that our Army forces be used in a manner in which they have been 
organized and trained." 

The 1221st Transportation Co., which is based in Jefferson City, includes 
units from Jefferson Barracks, Dexter and Trenton. It has approximately 150 
soldiers and 45 heavy trucks. Their mission is long-haul transport of supplies 
the Army. 

The unit was mobilized in March 2003 and arrived in Iraq on June 25. The unit 
was supposed to come back a year later, but it's tour was extended for 
another 90 days. 

Shull said that the transportation unit's soldiers had been trained to 
deliver supplies with 18-wheel trucks. Each truck has a driver and an assistant 
driver. Both are armed and have established procedures on how to react if they 
come under an attack. 

However, Shull said that if the soldiers were assigned to work with 
civilians, the soldiers might be in danger because they would be placed in a 
for which they were not trained. 

"If they are assistant drivers with a civilian, that's a whole different 
dynamic," Shull said. He said he was worried that soldiers would be in danger 
they had to protect civilians in an ambush situation. 

Shull messaged his superiors Tuesday saying, "I cannot and will not support 
this non-traditional use of the 1221st. I simply do not believe these soldiers 
have been trained for this kind of complicated and non-traditional mission." 

Reporter Terry Ganey 
E-mail: tganey@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Phone: 573-635-6178 

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