The first Davis County employee called to active duty to support the Desert Storm operation in the Middle East reports Thursday to California.

VerNon Griffeth, the county's administrative services director and a chaplain in the Naval Reserve, leaves Thursday for Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., a Marine training base.Griffeth is the only county employee activated in the war so far. Two of three physicians working for Davis County Mental Health have been called up, but they work for the mental health agency, which operates independently of regular county government.

Griffeth said Wednesday he initially thought he was going to be sent overseas, but his latest orders are to report to the California Marine base.

"But knowing the Navy, that could change any time," he said. "It's a pretty desolate base," Griffeth said of the desert training center. "But compared to Saudi Arabia, it looks pretty good."

As administrative services director, Griffeth signs off on all county purchase orders. In his absence, that authority is being transferred by the county to budget analyst LaMar Holt.