There will be no large-scale shifting of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan to help with disaster relief in Louisiana and Mississippi, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said Thursday.
Lt. Col. Trey Cate said top military officials are exploring ways to bring individual troops home to take care of families in need without altering the balance of forces in the war zones.
But top commanders are unsure if homecoming service members can yet visit areas stricken by Hurricane Katrina due to flooding and evacuation orders.
Navy Cmdr. Jeff Breslau, a U.S. 5th Fleet spokesman in Bahrain, said no U.S. warships in the Gulf would be redirected to disaster relief in the Gulf of Mexico, but individual sailors with family emergencies could be granted home leave.
National Guard units called up for rescue work in Louisiana and Mississippi had to make do without members currently deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Most Americans identify the National Guard with providing emergency services during natural disasters. But over the past three years, numerous Guard units have been sent to Iraq to fight alongside regular forces.
A brigade of roughly 5,000 soldiers from the Louisiana National Guard watched the disaster unfold on television at Camp Liberty, west of Baghdad. The troops are expected to leave Iraq by November, if their deployment is not extended.
Other than paying out the yinyang for petroleum, Dubya didn't ask most Americans to sacrifice for his sandbox war. Now the sacrifice is coming home, and people are going to be very pissed.
Thanks for making us safe at home, sir.