N.C. National Guardsmen On Alert For Potential Activation
Posted March 7, 2003 4:42 a.m. EST
CLINTON, N.C. — Thousands of guardsmen across the state are on alert for what could become a massive activation. If orders come, they could lead to North Carolina's largest National Guard activation in almost 60 years.
Michael Byrd spends most of his work days in the civilian world, but as a member of the 30th Armor Brigade based in Clinton, he could soon be changing uniforms to take part in what would be his first deployment.
"I'm excited, a little bit scared. I have never been too far out of North Carolina," Byrd said.
Byrd, along with more than 4,500 members of his brigade, were placed on alert this week, meaning they could soon be activated.
"Soldiers throughout the brigade have served in floods, Bosnia and other operations of that nature," said Capt. Matt Handley, of the 30th Armor Brigade.
This mission would be historic if they are called into action. It would be the state's largest National Guard call-up since World War II. Officials said the alert is in place to give the National Guardsmen and their families warning about the potential call-up.
"One of the main purposes of the alert is to let family members and employers know that, 'Look, something may be coming. Plans can start to be made without anything official,'" Handley said.
While most of the soliders live in North Carolina, some live in Illinois and West Virginia.