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Monday, October 10, 2011

10 Years Into Afghan War, National Guard Sees Bigger Role

U.S. soldiers attend during a transfer of authority ceremony from Task Force Red Horse to Task Force Maverick at the U.S. base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan in July. Task Force Red Horse is among two Cavalry regiments with the Iowa National Guard. (AP)

U.S. soldiers attend during a transfer of authority ceremony from Task Force Red Horse to Task Force Maverick at the U.S. base in Bagram, north of Kabul, Afghanistan in July. Task Force Red Horse is among two Cavalry regiments with the Iowa National Guard. (AP)

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the start of the war in Afghanistan, we check in on the National Guard, which has been stretched especially thin fighting it.

Members of the Guard used to be known as “weekend warriors,” because they train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. They also help out with disaster response in the U.S.

But they also see combat– almost half of the U.S. fighting force in Iraq and Afghanistan is National Guard, and they’ve historically been involved in wars.

More statistics that were unthinkable a decade ago:

  • Many National Guardsmen and women have been on multiple combat deployments
  • One in 10 troops killed in action since 2001 was a member of the National Guard
  • The suicide rate among the National Guard has increased
  • One study found that Guard members develop PTSD 29 percent more often than active duty military

Guests:

  • Col. (ret.) Bob Killebrew, senior visiting fellow at the Center for A New American Security.
  • Staff Sgt. J. Winkowski, Iowa National Guard

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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