Posted at 4:25 p.m., Monday, January 10, 2005
More Hawai'i guardsmen mobilized
Associated PressMore citizen soldiers from Hawai'i were called to active duty today as Gov. Linda Lingle unveiled new proposals aimed at helping members of the Hawai'i National Guard and their families cope with deployment.
Lingle announced the proposals at a mobilization ceremony for 67 members of the Hawai'i Army National Guard's 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment and 10 soldiers with the 298th Engineering Detachment.
The key measure would make up the difference in pay for state employees whose active duty pay with the National Guard is less than what they make in their civilian jobs. That measure is expected to cost the state about $200,000 a year.
Other proposals would exempt Guard members from vehicle taxes and registration fees, which is expected to cost the state and the counties about $1.3 million in lost revenue, according to Lingle's office.
Another proposal would grant guard members grace periods if their auto registrations, driver's licenses or professional licenses expire while they are away on duty.
Citizen soldiers mobilized today are to undergo two to three months of training at Schofield Barracks before leaving Hawai'i, said Maj. Chuck Anthony, a Guard spokesman.
The public affairs unit which includes military journalists, cameramen and other media who record and report on the Army's activities is headed to Afghanistan, while it hasn't yet been announced where the engineers will go, Anthony said.
Meanwhile, about 4,700 members of the Hawai'i Army National Guard and Reserves are at Fort Polk, La., making final preparations for their deployment to Iraq in late February and early March. The citizen soldiers trained for four months at Fort Bliss, Texas, for their mission of providing security around major bases in Iraq.
The Guard and Reserve members head off as more than 12,500 soldiers from the Army's 25th Infantry Division (Light) are scheduled to return from Iraq and Afghanistan in the coming months. The soldiers left last year on one-year tours of duty.
Since the March 2003 start of the war in Iraq, one civilian and 50 armed forces members with notable ties to Hawai'i have been killed in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.