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27th Light Infantry, NYS Army National Guard

Elements of the New York and the Vermont National Guard face lengthy and hazardous tours in overseas war zones for the first time since World War II.

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Photo/Audio Diary
An Iraq Diary
Maj. Eric Olsen is chaplain to a battalion of the New York Army National Guard stationed in the Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad. His thirty-part audio diary begins in 2004. He and his family live in Saranac Lake.

Iraq Diary, Pt. 1: For Soldiers Leaving Home, It's Hurry Up And Wait

Hundreds of National Guard and Reserve soldiers from New York and Vermont are deployed in Iraq. For the next year, they'll serve alongside regular Army units, patrolling neighborhoods, doing reconstruction work, and fighting insurgents. In the coming weeks, Major Eric Olsen -- a chaplain from Saranac Lake -- will be sharing his audio diary, trying to give some sense of his daily experience. This morning, the journey begins at Fort Drum's Wheeler Sack Air Field, where the 2nd of the 108th Infantry battalion gathered in late February for their flight overseas.

Next Monday, Major Olsen's audio diary continues from Kuwait.  Go to full article
Specialist Mike Ames in Iraq

NY Guard on the Ground in Iraq

Families from across the North Country have already begun hearing from their loved ones in Iraq. More than 700 members of New York's National Guard have begun a year-long deployment there. They're a part of the United States' largest troop rotation since World War 2, involving more than 200,000 soldiers. Periodically we'll be checking in with soldiers and families. David Sommerstein spoke Tuesday with Molly Ames of Watertown about her son, specialist Mike Ames. She says his unit flew to Kuwait three weeks ago and then convoyed into Iraq.

The Ogdensburg Family Readiness Group is seeking donations for care packages for soldiers. You can contact Molly Ames at 315-323-0873, mba7@cornell.edu, or Sheri Smith at 315-347-2611, ssmith32@twcny.rr.com.  Go to full article
Peace activist Martha Swan

North Country Protesters Reject War In Iraq

Peace protesters gathered over the weekend at the site of an abandoned nuclear missile silo in Willsboro. The gathering was held to mark the one-year anniversary of the war in Iraq. Tony Award-winning actor George Hearn, who lives in Essex, opened the rally by singing America the Beautiful. Protestors were harshly critical of the Bush Administration, but they offered prayers and words of support for soldiers serving overseas. Organizer Martha Swan, who heads a group called John Brown Lives, spoke with Brian Mann about the rally.  Go to full article

Nat'l Guard Families Braced for Send-Off

Some 2000 family members and friends filled Fort Drum's McGrath Gymnasium Saturday for an emotional farewell to 700 New York National Guardsmen. The soldiers, many from the...  Go to full article

Reserve Soldiers Feel the Strain

National Guard and Reserve soldiers from New York are now training for deployment overseas. By spring, reserve units will make up one third of the U.S. fighting force in...  Go to full article

NY National Guard, pt. 2: The Families Left Behind

Almost 700 National Guardsmen from around New York are at Ft. Drum, training for a 12 month assignment in Iraq. In part one of our series, we heard about their physical...  Go to full article

Commentary: It's Not Rational

Feelings about the New York National Guard's activation for Iraq are running high. But they're often conflicting: fear and anger, but also pride and patriotism. Commentator...  Go to full article

National Guard Deployment Call-in

Martha Foley and David Sommerstein put the New York National Guard deployment in the context of history and tradition. And they take listener calls.  Go to full article
Civil disturbance training in the rain

New York's National Guard, pt. 1: Training For Iraq

More than 650 members of New York's National Guard are training at Fort Drum Army base near Watertown. They're preparing to become full-time soldiers for a year in Iraq. ...  Go to full article

Guard Soldiers Prepare For Departure

Hundreds of New York National Guard members got orders this week that will send them to Iraq. They include more than 100 people from units based in Ogdensburg, Morrisonville...  Go to full article

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