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Equipment problems plague Missouri guard

September 8, 2005
By: Dustin Blanchard
State Capital Bureau

Equipment problems are among the issues emerging for nearly 2000 Missouri national guard assisting in relief efforts near New Orleans.

Dustin Blanchard has been embedded with the Guard all week.

Guardsmen say they don't have all the vehicles they need, because they left many of their trucks in Iraq.

Of the vehicles they do have, many are not in good condition.

Some are 20 -- even 30 years old.

Breakdowns have cost the guardsmen time, but Lieutenant Colonel David Harrell says his men are still completing their mission.

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"you go to war with what you got -- and the same with state emergency duty. You respond to the emergency with what you got. If you've got a vehicle that is half broken down, but will make it, and I think all but two of our vehicles did -- then that's what you go with. We do have some shortages of equipment.

The guardsmen have repaired most of their broken vehicles -- using everything from improvised parts to a sharpened stick.

Returning from the New Orleans area, I'm Dustin Blanchard/