The rest of Utah's Marine reservists are being called up for Operation Desert Shield, en route to Okinawa, Japan, apparently to replace active-duty Marine units bound for the Persian Gulf.
The Utah group is Company F, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Regiment, 4th Marine Division. The company, along with Naval corpsmen who are assigned to the company, was notified Friday that it is being activated as of Dec. 9, first going to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and later to Okinawa. About 100 members of the company are based at Fort Douglas.Company F is a ground combat infantry unit, and its riflemen carry lightweight weapons.
"They're excited," said their commander, Maj. Samuel D. McVey. "They're gung-ho. They're ready to go."
An additional 30 or so members of the company live in the Las Vegas area and also are being activated.
As part of the contingent of Marines in the Pacific, Company F eventually may be rotated to Korea and the Philippines, said one officer.
This brings to about 275 the number of reservists in Utah who were called up or put on notice of activation within the past week. Counting approximately 2,000 Hill Air Force Base airmen, technicians and others, around 3,000 Utahns are either on notice or activated.
On Monday, the first of the two companies of Marine Reserves in Utah - Company C, 4th Light Armored Vehicle Battalion (since renamed Company E, 2nd Light Armored Battalion) - flew to Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Official word of the activation of infantry Company F said the group will depart for Camp Pendleton, Calif. by ground transportation, arriving there on Dec. 10.
"We will have drills before hand to ensure that everyone has all of their administrative requirements taken care of, all of their personal matters taken care of," said McVey.
Probably three of the five working days next week will be devoted to drills and paperwork in preparation for the big move.
The commander, who in civilian life is a lawyer in a prominent Salt Lake law firm, is going with the Reservists. He said one of his most important priorities is to make certain that the families of all the reservists are informed of what is available to them.
They will be getting military-dependent identification cards that will enable them to take advantage of special services, such as shopping at post exchanges.
Marines have been telephoning members of the company, telling them of the call-up. As of Friday afternoon, not all were contacted.
"It's hard to reach everybody on the first call," McVey said. "We'll expect to have everybody notified as soon as we can."
"My personal reaction is that we're Marines, even though we're not full-time Marines," he said. Then on second thought, he added, "I guess we are now.
"We're here to serve at the president's discretion, and we're here to serve the country, and that's what we're going to do. I don't want to underestimate the sacrifice."
The call-up will disrupt lives, he said. It will be "a tremendous sacrifice for every man in the unit and their families."
Nobody knows how long the emergency will last, but President Bush has a right to call the Reserves into active duty for six months at a time, with an option for renewing the period.
"I think Utah can be more proud of these Marines than any other comparable group in the state," McVey said.
"Whatever job's given to us, we'll get it done."
The Corpsmen are medical specialists in the Navy who are assigned to the Marine units. Those assigned to Company F will stay with the Marines, wherever they go.