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They also serve

By Sgt. Maj. Patrick van de Poele
First published in
SFOR Informer #71, 29 Sept, 1999.

The place held in the United States Armed Forces by the Reserves and the National Guard is often ignored. It is very hard to identify them by their uniforms from their active service colleagues. Of the 2.8 million people serving in the US Military today 50% of that total belongs to the Reserve and the National Guard. (On September 30, 1998 the active military counted 1,406,830 men and women against 1,353,284 in the Reserve and National Guard). In the Army the figure is 54% and they are being increasingly called upon to serve over seas to help fill the commitments taken on by the US Military. They are sent overseas by a presidential selective reserve call to active duty of up to 270 days. A large number of the individuals and units being deployed to Bosnia and Hercegovina (BiH) are made up of part time soldiers. The 49th Armoured Division due to relieve the 10th Mountain Division next year belongs to the Texas National Army Guard, the first Guard Division to be deployed as such in peace time.

CPIC Tuzla - Eagle Base, the HQ of Multinational Division North, is also the venue of the Coalition Press Information Centre (CPIC) Tuzla. This Centre, apart from its commander, Lt.Col. Sam Taylor, is entirely manned by personnel belonging to the Army Reserve and the National Guard. Lt.Col. Taylor is an active duty officer who's stateside posting is in charge of the ROTC programme of the University of San Francisco. The ROTC programme is one of the major sources of officers for the United States Armed Forces as well as for the Reserves and National Guard.

"The most important point of the CPICs mission is that we communicate the importance of our mission to the citizens of BiH. We work very hard to make everyone understand that our presence here and actions undertaken are in their best interests." The CPIC is composed of two units the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment (MPAD) and the 314th Press Camp Headquarters serving on this deployment as an MPAD.

The 133rd MPAD

The 133rd MPAD belongs to the Kentucky National Army Guard with elements coming from Tennessee. They deployed with four officers and 13 enlisted persons. An officer was sent to each of the Base Camps, McGovern, Dobol and Demi to serve as the Task Force Public Affairs Officer, helping their respective Commanders deal with the media. Each of them has two to four enlisted journalists belonging to one of the MPADs who produce written, radio and video products for military and public media.

"I'm serving here as a broadcast journalist. The Army has supplied us with good material and I've learnt a lot using it producing videos for AFN and the home town TV channels back home." Explained SSgt.. Gary Chancey of the 133rd. SSgt.. Chancey first entered the active Army in 1981 and has since been either Active or National Guard. "By entering the Guard I knew I could be called up at any time but I didn't expect to spend nine months in a peace keeping mission, I've enjoyed this mission so far".

"The major difference between the Army Reserves and the State National Guard is that the National Guard comes under the authority of their State Governor. The State covers part of the costs accrued by the Guard and can call it out in times of crisis, for emergencies such as flooding, tornadoes, fire or civil unrest. The Reserve and active Army normally can not serve in this fashion. Technically the Governor has to release us for service with the active Army", explained Capt. William N. Nutter, the 133's commanding officer, serving in the CPIC as the Command Information Officer.

About 40% of the National Guardsmen have prior active service. MSG Steve Collier of the 133rd served 4 years in the Marine Corps as a flight engineer. He joined the guard because of a wish to serve and now totals 20 years service.

"We train a weekend a month and two weeks in summer, but we are regularly called out for snow storms, flooding and other emergencies. I was deployed during Desert Storm in the Gulf and now here in BiH". Steve has also been on exercise in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Panama. "I'm one of the luckiest soldiers because of my mission, I get to see not only the big picture but I also get to meet the soldiers doing the job, we can tell the story as no one else can."

314th MPAD

The 314th Press Camp Headquarters is serving on this deployment as an MPAD. They are a Federal Army Reserve unit based in Birmingham, Alabama and also come from Georgia and South Carolina. They deployed with 25 men and women under the command of Maj. Mark Crumpton. Seven of them where deployed to Tazar Airbase in Hungary to serve as a Public Affairs office. The 314th supported by elements of the 133rd run the CPIC in Tuzla, they also produce a weekly 12-page colour newspaper, the Talon.

The Army reserve also has a number of people who have served previously as Active Military but many joined the Reserve directly from civilian life or the ROTC. Maj Crumpton, in civilian life a Police Officer, has never served in the active army, his full military service has been in the Reserves.

"There is no difference in pay scales, rank structure, and job qualification between the different types of military. We all obey the same regulations. In the Reserves and National Guard we tend to serve longer in the same unit. Though the Reserves seems to be more oriented towards Support Units and the Guard towards Combat and Combat Support Ones, there is no general rule." For instance the 8th Battalion, 229 Aviation Regiment, equipped with Apaches Attack helicopters that has recently arrived in theatre is an Army Reserve Unit.

"A CPIC is particularly well suited for the integration of Army Reserve and National Guard personnel into the mission. They bring a dual capacity of civilian and military expertise as well as a breadth of experience that helps in their task. They are people who understand and love the military, they have a sense of duty as great as any active duty service man, and are people who sacrifice a lot of their time to their military training. They have acquired in their civilian field's expertise and skills that the army could not supply. They are among the most talented individuals in the Public Affairs field that I have encountered in over 20 years of service." Concluded Lt.Col. Taylor.

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