Saturday, February 23, 2013

US Reserves and National Guard ... J. D. Longstreet

US Reserves and National Guard
They Keep Us Free
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet

For a very long time it has bothered me that the Reserve forces and the National Guard in this country, the USA, have been called “Weekend Warriors”.   This term is an insult.  It always has been and … it was intended to be so.

Those weekend warriors make up a HUGE percentage of the fighting forces, on the ground, in combat, in the Middle Eastern theatre.  They are fighting right alongside their brothers and sisters in the uniform of the Regular forces.  They are taking casualties right along side the regular forces.  They are indispensable to our military.  This seems to be understood by everyone but the US Government.

You are aware they do not get the full benefits of the Regular forces… aren’t you?  Well, they don’t.  Surprised?  

It is past time for the Reserve Forces and the National Guard, in the USA, to get full military benefits from the US Government.

The reserve warriors leave their homes, and jobs, to put their lives on the line to defend this country.  They are being shot at, and wounded, as they share the same danger as the Regular troops.  They are, like the regular forces, volunteers. 

The Reserve and National Guard troops train on inferior equipment, Oftimes left overs from past conflicts, which work, sometimes, if they are lucky..  Basically, it is junk. After months, and years, of training to proficiency on this outdated equipment, they are thrust into a war zone, new equipment put in their hands, with a familiarization course, or two, lasting a few hours, and then they are sent into the field. 

But they go.  They go and they fight -- Heroically. 

Many come home with broken bodies just as the regular troops do. 

They deserve to be treated with the same high accolades as the regular forces.  They, too, have paid the price of our freedom.  We cannot honor the men and women of the Reserve forces and the National Guard of the United States enough.  They have defended this country as citizen soldiers since its founding.   Without them, we would not exist as a country today.

So why then are they derided as “Weekend Warriors”?

Let me tell you something about these Weekend Warriors:  These Weekend Warriors have defeated world Super Powers.  They fought one of the greatest armies in the world to a bloody stand still in Korea.  Many units were virtually wiped-out during the early months of the Second World War as communities watched the cream of their young men march away to war… and never return.  They have been there for this country from before Lexington, right up to, and including, Iraq and Afghanistan.  They’ll be there when the next threat to the freedom of the US raises its ugly head, and they will smash that head quickly and efficiently.

They are our sons and daughters, our fathers, brother, wives, husbands, cousins, etc.   They are us, just as the Regular Forces are us.  So why treat them differently?  Why?

Eventually the wars in the Middle East will end and they’ll come home.  They go back to their jobs, if they are lucky, and then once every other weekend, or so, they will slip into the door of the National Guard armories, or the Reserve Centers, all across the nation, and they will drill.  Then, come summer, they will leave their jobs, and families, for a couple of weeks, and report to a nearby military facility for two weeks of intensive training.  Oftimes these two-week “summer drills” are taken on the vacation time of the Guardsman or Reservists.   Then at some time in the future, the call will come, and they will drop everything, put on their uniform, grab their rifle from the “rifle rack” at the “Armory” or “Center”, and board a very big airplane and be at war again.

Dear Reader, these men, and women, are soldiers in the Grand American Tradition of the “citizen soldier”.  They are to be applauded.  They are to be honored.  They keep us free!

© J. D. Longstreet

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