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Head of National Guard Says Moral Still Up After Six Years in Iraq

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Aired 4/20/09

It's the sixth anniversary of the Iraq war and more than 1,100 California National Guard soldiers are still stationed there. The head of the California Guard just returned from Iraq and he says morale is "good" among local troops. Steve Shadley reports.

California National Guard Adjutant General William Wade says he met with his soldiers in the war zone last week. Wade says they're pretty upbeat.

"They're performing a number of types of missions. They're doing transporation, administration, air support, convoy security, security operations and even flying predatory missions over there as part of the operation," he says.

Wade says 27 California National Guard soldiers have died in Iraq since the war began. He says the Guard is offering a variety of counseling services, health care and jobs programs for soldiers when they return home. However, Wade says given the recession, some soldiers have had trouble finding jobs when they get back.

He says the California National Guard is receiving slightly less money in the state budget approved by lawmakers last month.

Still, Wade says the Guard is fully prepared to help in the event of wildfires, earthquakes, severe flooding or other emergencies.

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