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Arcadia City Leaders Should be Fired: Iowa Guard ends urban war exercise amid outcry

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Iowa Guard ends urban war exercise amid outcry


The Iowa Army National Guard has dropped plans for urban warfare training in the western Iowa town of Arcadia after being deluged by nearly 100 e-mails and phone calls from gun-rights advocates nationwide.

The four-day event in April would have involved between 90 and 100 combat troops arriving in the Carroll County community in a convoy with a Blackhawk military helicopter flying overhead.

Troops would have gone door to door, asking the town’s 443 residents about a suspected arms dealer and conducting searches of homes if property owners volunteered in advance to cooperate.

There was no opposition to the Guard’s plans from city leaders. But gun-rights advocates were outraged, and news about the exercise became a hot topic nationally on radio talk shows and the Internet.

Arcadia Mayor Oran Kohorst said Monday he was disappointed the exercise had been canceled. He said he had not heard of a single objection from residents, and he said the City Council supported it. At least two guardsmen live in Arcadia, and many residents either have served in the military or have family members who have served in the armed forces, he said.

“This was completely blown out of proportion,” Kohorst said. “They were going to come through and meet with the townspeople and just practice going in and out of their homes. They were never, ever going to confiscate guns or anything like that.”

Talk show host Alex Jones of Austin, Texas, whose syndicated radio program is carried on about 60 stations, said he had received phone calls on and off the air from people in Arcadia and nearby towns who objected to the plans.

He said he believes oil companies, in concert with central banks, are creating a worldwide economic crisis to set up a world government.

“This is part of an acclimation for martial law,” Jones said of the National Guard’s plans.

Lt. Col. Gregory Hapgood Jr., the Iowa Guard’s public affairs officer, said Monday that some urban warfare training will still be conducted, but it will be held at the armory in Carroll instead of in Arcadia.

Rather than holding a large company-sized exercise, the training will be in small groups at the platoon and squad level.

He said Guard officials changed their plans not because of the protests, but because the unit — Company A, 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry — has recently installed new leadership at the company and battalion level. Smaller unit training would be more beneficial, he said.

Company A is an infantry unit that served in Afghanistan for 13 months in 2004 and 2005, and it is expected to receive orders to return overseas within the next 24 months, Hapgood said.

One tactic used by infantry units is known as cordon and search. It involves creating layers of security in an area and then searching for weapons caches, explosive devices and bomb-making materials, and people of interest.

Hapgood said he considered the surge of e-mails and phone calls as a protest from outside of Iowa.

“We have been doing training in our communities for decades, so this is very routine business for us,” Hapgood said. “We were quite surprised when we received e-mails from out of state criticizing the event. We have a responsibility to have our men and women ready to go into combat, and we are not going to change that.”

Many of the e-mails were hostile, even threatening, Hapgood said.

One e-mail from a Texas resident said, “I am appalled the Iowa National Guard does not know what the Constitution of the United States says. … How dare you?”

A man who described himself as a “Nevada citizen” wrote that it was good the exercise was called off: “It is possible that there would have been some dead Iowa Guardsmen.”

Arcadia City Clerk Nancy Schmitz said she had 14 messages when she arrived at work Monday. All were apparently from listeners of Jones’ show, she said.

“They all basically left the same message; they talked about it being like the Nazis and having the troops coming into our homes and confiscating weapons. It was very different from what was actually going to take place,” Schmitz said.

She added she supported the training, calling it “a good opportunity to help out the troops.”


Written by Michael Cooper

February 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. The City Council supports what? Gun confiscation training. Last I heard it wasn’t illegal to be an “arms dealer.”

    In case he isn’t up to speed, the second amendment was put there to protect us from ignorant leaders such as Arcadia Mayor Oran Kohorst who seemed to be joyful that the National Guard was going to train to violate American’s rights in their backyard.

    Michael Cooper

    February 24, 2009 at 3:37 pm

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