Saturday, September 15, 2001

Tristaters anticipating call to duty

Pilots could be first activated

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Karl Kadon has received the call before.

        A 16-year veteran of the Army reserves, he was called to the Pentagon during the Gulf War.

        Ten years later, Mr. Kadon, a chief assistant prosecuting attorney for Hamilton County who holds the rank of major, is waiting for the phone to ring again.

        President Bush on Friday signed an order that authorized the activation of up to 50,000 reservists and National Guard members.

        The additional personnel will provide extra military muscle and know-how in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. Reservists and guard members could be called upon to help in search-and-rescue efforts, provide medical assistance, protect the country's shorelines and airliners, or any other mission the president deems necessary.

        Maj. Kadon is one of more than 15,000 reservists in Ohio. There are an additional 15,000 members of the National Guard.

        “As soon as you hear folks talking about having to take serious military action, most reservists start thinking what it'll mean for them,” Maj. Kadon said. He hasn't received any formal notification.

        “My older kids remember Desert Storm and have been asking if I have to go away again. My wife is kind of in denial — she doesn't want to think about it. But something has to be done.”

        Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke said the first reservists would be called up within days.

        Spc. Clara Just, a spokeswoman for the 88th Regional Support Command at Fort Snelling, Minn., said the reserve units under its command have been ready to go since Tuesday's attack. The command oversees Army Reserve units in six states, including three in Ohio.

        “We're highly ready and motivated to deploy to anything we're asked to support, protect or defend,” Ms. Just said. "

        “We'll do whatever is necessary.”

        That sentiment was echoed by Ohio National Guard Master Sgt. Robert Jennings, who said Ohio's Air Guard is the fourth-largest in the nation and the Army Guard is in the top 10.

        “We haven't heard anything yet. It's still too early,” Master Sgt. Jennings said.

        Maj. Gerald Miller, a reservist in the 4th Marine Division in Cincinnati, said the men and women there are trained in anti-terrorism and to carry out search-and-rescue operations.

        But no one there has been called into duty, he said.

        Among those expected to be the first to be called up are reserve pilots. Many are also airline pilots with companies such as Comair and Delta Air Lines.

        Officials from both companies couldn't say how many of their pilots could be called up, but said they were ready to manage if that did happen.

        “In the event of a call-up, there obviously will be an impact on Delta, but the company will continue to manage its operations,” Delta spokeswoman Cindi Kurczewski said.

        Comair spokeswoman Meghan Glynn said she was aware of some pilots also serving in the reserves.

        “We'll deal with it, and would be glad for them to fulfill their duty,” Ms. Glynn said.

        Enquirer reporter James Pilcher contributed to this report.


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