War On Terrorism Changes Role Of Guard

One-hundred-sixteen Army National Guardsmen make up the "A" Company of 890th Engineering Unit. They are among thousands of Mississippi reservists called to active duty in the past two years. The National Guard Association, which includes both Army and Air Force, is holding it's annual conference in Biloxi this year.

Staff Sergeant Jeremy Neskey joined the National Guard six years ago. He says these days suiting up and shipping off is a lot more common for him and his comrades.

"They're being deployed more and more places," said Neskey. "They're seeing. In the Guard you could spend just as much time on active duty as an active duty soldier."

September 11th blurred the line between the active duty military and the national guard. Military officials say reservists are playing a greater and more in depth role in protecting America, both at home and abroad.

Major General James H. Lipscomb, III said " The missions that we have to do, they've changed but our people have not changed in their determination to be there when the call comes. Our people particularly from the Mississippi Guard of which we have mobilized over 4,500 people over the last two years from the Army and Air Guard."

Longer and more frequent deployments don't seem to be deterring Mississippians from enlisting.

"In the Mississippi Guard we've seen the last three years the best three recruiting years we've had in the last 10 years. So our Army Guard recruiting is up considerably from where it was three years ago and at the same time our Air Guard has continued to maintain 100 percent of authorized strength," said Lipscomb.