Major discusses Guard's work in Iraq

Friday, July 20, 2007

The National Federation of the Grand Order of Pachyderm Clubs Inc. welcomed Maj. Ed Gargas of the Missouri National Guard, executive officer of the 1140th Engineer Battalion, as a guest speaker at its meeting Thursday at Dexter Bar-B-Que. Gargas talked about some of the lesser known aspects of the war in Iraq.

Gargas, who attended Southeast Missouri State University, gave a presentation to the group of about 10 members, explaining what the National Guard is doing in Iraq right now, because, he said, people should be able to make up their own minds about the war.

Recently, the Missouri National Guard assisted in the refurbishing of four girls' schools in one southern Iraq province, Gargas said, something that had come about because the battalion interpreter's wife was a schoolteacher at one of them.

The National Guard was able to provide the schools with 30,000 pounds of supplies, Gargas said.

Because of American military efforts in that region, Gargas said, girls will now be able to complete their educations, although he conceded it would be a long process.

In another instance, Gargas' battalion assisted in paving highway service roads in southern Iraq.

Gargas said it could be frustrating to view so much negative coverage of the war.

"We're never given the opportunity to watch good news over bad," Gargas said.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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