Call for reservists may not affect Alaska

Posted: Sunday, September 16, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- President George W. Bush has authorized the Pentagon to call up as many as 50,000 reservists or National Guardsmen in response to East Coast terrorist attacks but there has been no indication that the orders will affect Alaskans.

The call-up is expected to be for support of defense efforts in the United States and not a military mobilization aimed at the terrorists who struck Washington and New York on Tuesday.

John Ma, command executive officer for the 9th Regional Support Command at Fort Shaster, Hawaii, which oversees Army reservists in Alaska, said he expects the call-up to affect reservists closer to the East Coast, where terrorists on Tuesday hijacked commercial jet airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

''We don't have any indication that they will be called up,'' Ma said of Alaska reservists.

Reservists are the nation's active federal reserve force. They are distinguished from branches of the National Guard, which serve under the governors of each state during peace time and under the president during war time.

State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs spokesman Bruce Gazaway, a technical sergeant in the Air National Guard, said there likely would be a lag time between the president's authorization and the Pentagon's decision on who to call to active duty. Gazaway said it could be several days before Alaskans find out if guardsmen are are called up.

Ma said military police reservists had already been called to active duty to provide additional security at Alaska military installations. If more reservists are called, ''I think they would not be deployed out of Alaska,'' Ma said.

Alaska has about 375 Army reservists, including an engineering company split between Anchorage and Fairbanks, a garrison support unit in Anchorage and a hospital unit in Fairbanks.

Navy Reserve Lt. Cmdr. Pam Kramer she has not heard of any call-ups for Alaska's 100 Navy reservists.

''At this time we have heard nothing at all about who is going to go where,'' she said.

Alaska's Navy reservists include Seabees, the military constructors, and medical personnel.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicated he wanted the troops to support air patrols over New York and Washington. The reservists could be assigned to recovery, support and security missions such as port operations, medical support, engineering support and homeland defense.

The initial call-up would be for 13,000 Air Force, 10,000 Army, 7,500 Marine Corps, 3,000 Navy and 2,000 Coast Guard reservists.

Given the small number of Navy reservists to be called, Kramer said, Alaskans may not be included.

Guard spokesman Maj. Mike Haller said the Army National Guard in Alaska numbers about 1,900 personnel and the Air National Guard about 2,200.

Haller said guardsmen and reservists train independently but sometimes participate in joint exercises.

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