Local reservists prepare for call
Published 9:24 am Wednesday, February 19, 2003
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
While some members of the local Army National Guard Reserve units have already been called out, others are preparing and waiting for their own numbers to be called.
Over the past two weeks at least four local residents have been mobilized for active duty in support of what could be a war against Iraq. In all, Alabama has provided about 4,000 troops who may be used to support America's War on Terrorism.
From the Brewton area, Alex Cunningham and Evelyn (Jones) Johnson were called up about two weeks ago with a transportation unit out of Georgiana. Last week, Brewton Police Officer John Mabus was mobilized as part of a military police unit out of Thomasville. Early this week, Charles Ingram, a customer service supervisor at the Brewton Post Office who recently moved here from Phenix City, was called up.
Across the country, and here in Brewton, reservists are making preparations with their families and employers for their call-up.
Fred Barton, 1st Sgt. of the 1st of the 117th Field Artillery Unit out of Geneva, Ala., said he and seven other Brewton area residents feel their time for mobilization could come soon.
Along with Barton, six others from Brewton serve in the artillery unit: Sgt. Clinton Coleman, Sgt. Larry Frazier, SS Sgt. Ralph Barton, E4 Johnny Jackson, Charles Boatwright and Lereka Brazile.
Barton said because of the unit's specialty in artillery, they would very likely get called in if war is declared and battle ensues.
Facing mobilization will not be a new experience for most of the Brewton members of the artillery unit. Barton said most of them served during Desert Storm 12 years ago. He said that experience is helping them prepare for a possible call to duty now.
Barton, who has served nine years in the Army and 22 as a reservist, said he knew of one military police unit that is comprised of some local residents that is also waiting to be called up.
Attempts to contact National Guard representatives for confirmation on other residents who have been called up were unsuccessful.