Reservists may be in gulf a year Reservists may be there longer than regulars

April 26, 1991|By Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON -- Many reserve personnel called to active duty to help fight the Persian Gulf war may not return home until 1992, according to complaints raised by members of Congress.

Some reserve units have been redeployed from the Kuwait theater of operations to provide food and shelter at Kurdish refugee camps in northern Iraq.

"Where are our reservists going to end up next?" asked Rep. Toby Roth, R-Wis., who has introduced a resolution in Congress urging the Defense Department to bring the reservists home quickly.

Under current law, reservists can be kept on active duty for up to one year. The 432nd was called to active duty in two groups, in December 1990 and January 1991.

According to various sources, some of those units will remain deployed months after thousands of regular Army troops return after spending less than a year in the region.

Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, D-Miss., said on the House floor last week, "I am a little concerned that if we do not take some action on reservists . . . some of them will have stayed in that part of the world . . . longer than we kept American forces as individuals in Vietnam.

Montgomery was one of 239 congressmen who voted last fall to extend the time the president could keep reservists on active duty from six months to up to a year. The change in federal law governing reserve callups was contained as part of the fiscal 1991 defense budget.

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