At first glance, the process looks chaotic, but after a minute of watching the orchestration a brilliant concert plays out. One of the young men of the Alabama National Guard is from a town not far from the work on Dauphin Island’s west end, as are many others in his outfit. He says that being on active duty in the place he calls home is something state guards hope for. Though they go wherever and whenever they are deployed, often overseas, working to protect home surf and turf is always a welcome assignment. Sweat-stained brows, hands sticky with salty sand, throats parched from Gulf Coast winds and heat, these soldiers of Alabama are producing a visible protection as mile after mile of shoreline become lined with a solid defence against the oil spill should it come ashore. These ‘boxes’, when full of sand are often used as barriers against mortar fire in war zones. Some of these guardsmen have been behind them overseas. They don’t seem to care, however, whether they are used to stop weapons or an oil spill – they care that what they are accomplishing as a team is protecting home.
Individuals not specifically addressed within this definition may be included in our PR responsibilities at the direction of the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF). This expands Army PR responsibilities considerably as multinational partners, American civilians, and citizens from other nations in our operational areas now become potential recovery obligations for the Army.