National Guard Needs More Equipment

By: Sara Stewart, Reporter

This Memorial Day weekend, the Iowa Army National Guard says it needs more equipment to effectively fulfill its duties.

The guard's continued presence in Iraq means it only has about 60 percent of the necessary materials.
Iowa National Guard Soldiers respond to local emergencies, protect our country at home and serve overseas.

"They're doing this because it's in their heart and they put up with a lot of hardship because of that," says Brig. Gen. Doug Pierce of the Iowa Air National Guard.

But Brig. General Doug Pierce of the Iowa Air National Guard says those hardships shouldn't come

"We're moving weapon systems, we're moving optic systems, night vision, vehicles into other states in order to satisfy their mobilization requirements," says Brig. Gen. Mark Zirkelbach of the Iowa Army National Guard.

"Equipment shortages have been a part of the strategic reserves history. Now that the reserve is being used more often, demands have changed."

"We're being deployed on a more regular basis, more combat scenarios it has more of an impact on equipment and people," says Pierce.

Right now several Iowa National Guard units are deployed overseas; they have continued rotations every five years.

"We're an operational reserve because we're matching up as the active duty folks area at the same rate their doing. So we've got some good equipment but we're using it more often," says Pierce.

The guard will add more members this month than it will lose.

It has taken on more of a workload since the global war on terror.

And now, the guardsmen hope the government will give it more funding.

Congressman Loebsack organized the discussion to make sure the government is on track with what the Guard needs.

Just this week, Congress passed a bill that would give guard units across the country billions of dollars for new equipment.

The senate is working on a similar version.

If it gets passed in the senate it will go before the president for his approval.

Once that all happens, the earliest Guard units will see new equipment is next year.
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