Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Damage From Katrina Stuns Troops in Iraq

Tuesday August 30, 2005 8:16 PM


Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Ever since Hurricane Katrina roared ashore, National Guard troops from Gulf coast states serving in Iraq have followed the disaster unfolding on television sets, worried about families and friends back home.

``It's a significant emotional event. Their families are on the forefront of the disaster,'' said Lt. Col. Jordan Jones of the 141st Field Artillery of the Louisiana National Guard.

``They're all watching TV and some have seen their neighborhoods completely submerged in water.''

Jones, from Luling on the west bank of Lake Pontchartrain, said he hasn't been in touch with his own family for three days because of clogged phone lines, but that his neighbors had helped board up their home.

``It's hard, a lot of soldiers are watching this play-by-play, they're having a hard time,'' said Lt. Taysha Deaton, a spokeswoman for the unit.

The 141st Battalion, which arrived in the Middle East almost a year ago, is based at Camp Liberty, Saddam Hussein's palace complex near Baghdad International Airport. The 400-member unit, which is due to be rotated out soon, has suffered one killed and several wounded during its deployment.

``We're fixing to go home anyway, and now this happens,'' said Deaton, 25, whose home in Lake Charles was not in the main path of the storm.

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.

read more at Guardian Unlimited | World Latest | Damage From Katrina Stuns Troops in Iraq


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