Anyone here from Minden Coy? Would like to chat about camp, etc. I am scheduled to participate in an exchange. I'd really like to chat with some people from the company to find out more about the unit. I understand concerns about security etc., PM me if you'd like to exchange email addresses and the like. I'd like to know about the surrounding community around Minden, to discuss how a typical camp goes for a TA (LI) company, to know if there is a regimental mess planned and so on. Those are just some of the things I am interested in. If you'd like to know more about my unit, my home city, how the National Guard works (US equivalent to your TA), I can share that info with you as well. I don't presume that all of you want to know this, but if you are curious, read on. I know a few things about the TA, for example I am told that you are not required to attend your monthly assemblies but if you miss them that you dont get your bounty at the end of the year. Also, I am told that TA Soldiers may resign from the TA if they wish. When compared to the US National Guard, its similar in that we have camps, though we call them 'A.T.' which is slang for 'annual training', which is usually conducted in the summer for about 20 days. Soldiers in the NG must attend monthly drills or they could be arrested by the local civilian police. Its rare that it happens (I've been in the Guard for 8 years, and seen it happen twice) but it is possible. Once arrested the soldier stays in jail for the weekend or until a non comissioned officer retrieves him. We cannot resign from the national guard, and we don't receive 'bounties.' You may be released for being gay (if you choose to make that public), being a habitual drug user, wife beater, drunk driver, having over 20% body fat for more than 6 months, troubles with civilian law enforcement, you understand, the usual. We do have 'bonuses' which are sums of money that are usally from $3000 to $15000. They are split in half and the Soldier receives half of the amount up front and half at the end of an enlistment contract, (typically 3 or 4 years long) after the government taxes about 15% of amount. During OIF, OP TELIC as you call it, if a Soldier is deployed to Iraq, and re-enlists he will typically receive the entire bonus amount in one lump sum and free of tax, that amount is currently $15,000 (us). Our chain of command is odd in the National Guard. When we are not called to Federal Service (for example OPTELIC), we belong to the Governor of the State in which our unit resides. A Governor is the chief executive of the civilian government for the state. The Governor may call us to active state service to provide assistance to the state government or during natural disasters. We can assist law enforcement agencies, but cannot arrest civilians. Its part of the Posse Comitatus act. I am aware that the UK Army has a very strong regimental system. The closest thing to that is the National Guard. You see the Companies, Battalions, Brigades, and Divisions in the NG have been part of the state in many cases since the 1700's. So, its not uncommon to have Soldiers serving in the same Company that Grandfather served in during WWII. We don't have that long and rich tradition that you have, but for a young nation like us, ours is a long and rich tradition, obviously not nearly as long as yours. If your experience with Americans is that of the ignorant and brash, I hope to dispell the myth that we are all ignorant, fat, brash, snobbish, etc. I will not make ill references to your Royals, as long as you dont bring up bill clinton and monica. I have no intention of besmirching your honor or national pride. Our light infantry companies are about 100 men. We have as standard weapon the M4 carbine. In each 9 man infantry squad, we have 7 each AN/PVS-14 night vision monoculars, and 2 each AN/PVS 7B's, 2 each M249 S.A.W or minimi I think you call it, 2 each M203 40mm grenade launchers, and 7 each M4's. There are three NCO's per squad. A Staff Sergeant serves as the squad leader, and two Sergeants serve as the fire team leaders. We typically use the AN/PRC126 FM radio to communicate within the platoon, but are phasing in the new MBITR radios now. For operations that encompass larger distances between squads we use the AN/PRC119 ASIP radio, which features digital encryption, frequency hopping, and other security measures. Its saturday, time for beerlarrinous. Too much typing. Star Wars Episode three is showing tonight at the movies. Thanks for your time.