Honoring the National Guard

One by one Gov. Ronnie Musgrove recognized local national guardsmen and women by presenting them with metals of honor.

"It's good to see you, we're proud of you," said Governor Musgrove.

His stop today at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery National Guard Complex in Meridian was part of a daylong tour honoring emergency responders from around the state.

"When America needs the very best they look to Mississippi," said Governor Musgrove.

Immediately after the attacks two years ago, Gov. Musgrove says Mississippi was the first state to put together a communication system that linked federal agencies such as the FBI with those on the state and local levels. Not only that but he says hands down, Mississippi has the best National Guard in the nation.

"Right now we have more National Guardsmen and women than 46 other states in the nation that have been a part of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom," says Governor Musgrove.

"The job on the ground to be done in Iraq is a big one. There's 130,000 army troops on the ground there today and it just shows you how important our people are because out of that 130,000, 2,000 of those are from Mississippi. Out of the 130,000, a little over 20,000 are in the Army or Air National Guard," says National Guard Adjutant General James Lipscomb.

Currently, Lipscomb says Mississippi guardsmen and women are also serving in Kuwait and Afghanistan. In terms of when they will return home, Gov. Musgrove says that's up to the president. Meanwhile, with the war on terrorism ongoing, the soldiers say they're in for the long haul.