While military call-ups are taking many doctors and other key people from Utah, Sen. Orrin Hatch praised them Wednesday for showing Saddam Hussein that America is serious about forcing his retreat from Kuwait.
Hatch, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee who just returned from a trip to the Middle East, said "these particular units (from Utah) should send a strong message to Saddam."For example, he said the Utah National Guard's "144th Evacuation Hospital is on its way to Saudi Arabia and our Army Reserve Command's 328th General Hospital is tagged for support activities in Europe in conjunction with Desert Shield.
"When we prepare for casualties, and even dispatch hospitals like the 144th into combat zones, there should be no question in his (Saddam's) mind that we are very, very serious."
Hatch added, "In Utah, we've been hit badly. . . . The medical losses may pose a short-term shortage of health-care professionals in parts of Utah, but I'm told that our medical centers are implementing their emergency plans to cover them as far as possible."
Hatch also had praise for other units from Utah that have been activated, including the Army Reserve 419th Transportation Company of Salt Lake City, and the National Guard's 120th Quartermaster Detachment from American Fork and the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion.
"Both Guard units respond to the peculiar nature of this threat. The 120th is a water purification unit, and the 142nd provides linguists, many of whom are former Mormon missionaries who have had overseas language experience."