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Ohio Guard Says Homefront Prepared

A government study says one-point-two billion dollars in Army National Guard equipment is in the Middle East ... raising concerns that preparedness at home may be jeopardized. A study by the Government Accountability Office says 64-thousand pieces of equipment have been taken oversees. But the Ohio National Guard says most of its equipment is still in the state.

The GAO says the Army cannot account for half of the 64,000 pieces of equipment. But James Sims, deputy director of public Affairs for the Ohio Guard says most of its equipment is still here and ready to respond to an emergency.

"Front end loaders, dump trucks, the kind of packages that are capable of helping out in flood or snow removal kinds of assistance and those are packages that are here in Ohio and available," Sims says.Sims says 80 percent of its equipment is still in Ohio. But if an Ohio unit leaves equipment overseas, a unit from other state replaces it.

"A National Guard unit from Ohio will go overseas and take their equipment with them. Instead of bring their equipment back home, what they'll do is, they leave their equipment in theatre. A National Guard unit from another state will deploy, use that equipment, and then in some cases, transfer the equipment that they left behind to Ohio," Sims says.

While Sims would not reveal exact numbers in the Guard's inventory, he says Ohio sent 430 large pieces of equipment to the Gulf Coast following the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Sam Hendren, WOSU News.