Guard Troops Prepare For Possible War

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The weekend warriors have been mobilized or have orders to be prepared.

As talk of war reaches a crescendo thousands of miles away, Arizona's National Guard troops are answering the call to be ready for war.

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Ken Murphy

Payson's mayor, Ken Murphy is a Lt. Colonel in the Arizona Army National Guard, serving as a Brigade Operations Officer at Camp Navajo.

While he has not been called up yet, he said, "Units under that command have either been mobilized or have received warning orders."

Among these are the 258th Rear Area Operations Center and the 1404th Transportation Company.

Murphy said the RAOC had about 28 members mobilized. They left Sunday for additional training in establishing rear operations centers, which are responsible for deploying supplies, equipment and troops. "The 1404th will have about 100 members headed for its mobilization site in the next few weeks," Murphy said.

He said the 1404th was originally based in Payson, but has since been consolidated with groups from Show Low and Flagstaff.

While Murphy is not among the guard troops being mobilized, there is a possibility he could be called up in the future. His job specialty is as a critical care nurse.

"About 70 percent of the military's medical assets are in the reserve. If they discover there is a need for more nurse officers, I could be mobilized," he said.

However, that does not necessarily mean shipping out to the Middle East, it could mean processing soldiers stateside before they go to war.

"Right now, about 100,000 soldiers are there, and about 250,000 are expected to be there in the next few weeks," he said. "That is about half the number that were in Desert Storm."

In addition to the RAOC and transportation unit troops mobilizing, Murphy said about 600 members of the field artillery units will be working both airport and air base security, along with protecting critical infrastructure.

Although Murphy is staying out of the action for now, he said, "It's an honor to serve. It's time consuming, but I'm proud to wear the uniform and serve the state and country."

He said the Guard, both Army and Air Force, provide tremendous opportunities. They provide full tuition reimbursement and an excellent start for careers.

"There are 300 career occupations to choose from," he said.

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