Rumors that additional Utah National Guard units will be activated to participate in Operation Desert Shield are unfounded but were fueled by a weekend readiness drill.
President Bush's call-up last week of 150,000 additional combat troops from reserve components led to speculation that combat units in Utah might be activated.Maj. Gen. John L. Matthews, adjutant general over the Utah National Guard, "has been told pretty much that no more units would be called (in the current round of call-ups)," said Lt. Col. Reece Stein. Matthews is the personnel committee chairman and former mobilization committee chairman of the Pentagon's Reserve Forces Policy Board, which makes it unlikely a National Guard call-up would take Utah's National Guard contingent by surprise.
Utah's National Guard portfolio includes a significant artillery component, but its primary chain of command comes under I-Corps out of Fort Lewis, Washington. Korea is I-Corps' primary area of operation and has been since the Korean War. "They're just not taking any of those units yet. Only the round-out brigades for the 24th Infantry Division in the South" were called-up last week, Stein said.
"We drilled over the weekend and there wasn't even a hint that anything was going to happen," Stein said.
The timing of the readiness drills last weekend, following on the heels of President Bush's call-ups, likely fueled the rumors that additional Utah troops would be involved, Public Affairs Capt. Tom Wharton said.