Tuesday, January 31, 2006

HISTORY'S HOT SPOTS: On The Frontlines - America'sCitizen Soldiers

This hour-long documentary on the National Guard and Army Reserve focuses on the changing role of these units in American national defence. The show begins with the Louisiana National Guard, many of whom were in Iraq when Hurricane Katrina devastated their home state.
From there, the show transitions into the changing role of the Guard and Reserves and focuses on how the "weekend warrior" reputation no longer applies. We speak to Reservists and Guardsmen who discuss, among other things, joining the service for college money and ending up on year-long, extremely dangerous tours of duty in Iraq.
We hearken back to the early days of the Guard and Reserve, explaining their initial formation and delving into some specific units with especially interesting histories. We speak to Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii, who lost an arm as a member of the 442nd Infantry, and to various historians who specialize in the history of the Guard and Reserve.
We hear from Guardsmen whose lives changed on 9/11, when they headed to Ground Zero and eventually were deployed overseas. We discuss the current controversy regarding the availability of the Guard in the U.S., and address some of the issues these "part-time" soldiers face. Lt. Gen. James Helmly, head of the Army Reserve, speaks to us at a memorial ceremony for a fallen Reservist, and addresses the controversial leaked memo in which he calls the Reserve a "broken force."
Finally we discuss the issue of Army Reserve recruiting and speak to General Helmly about how he intends to change the focus of recruitment materials. The personalities of Reservists and Guardsmen like Ray Ramirez and Paul Rieckhoff shine through as they discuss their experiences both at home in the US and in Iraq.


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