Sep 13, 2004 — Hundreds of National Guard soldiers from New York and Vermont are serving on the front lines in Iraq. When they return home this winter, the Bush administration hopes to replace many of them with soldiers from the Iraqi National Guard. A recruitment campaign is underway in Iraq. But so far, the ING hasn't performed well against Iraqi insurgents. New recruits have been also been targeted by terrorist bombings and assassinations. New York reservists have been working hard to train new Iraqi soldiers, helping them prepare for what could be a long and bloody fight. In his latest audio diary, Major Eric Olsen attends an ING graduation ceremony in central Iraq. Go to full article
Jun 21, 2004 — Two National Guard soldiers from northern New York were injured last week when a number of mortar rounds hit camp Anaconda, north of Bagdad. Anaconda is a major supply hub for New York's National Guard units serving in Iraq. The area has come under regular attack from rockets, mortars and improvised explosive devices -- known as "IEDs". Iraq is filled with weapons, some left over from Saddam Hussein's regime or supplied on the black market. This week, as part of his audio diary series, Army chaplain Eric Olsen spends a day with the unit assigned to find and destroy enemy munitions around Anaconda. Major Olsen is a National Guard soldier from Saranac Lake.
NOTE: This audio diary was recorded in late May, before last week's deadly attack. The series is produced by Brian Mann. Go to full article