December 11, 2006
Contact:
Chad Campbell/Emily Lenzner, NPR
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NPR’s TALK OF THE NATION EXPLORES
THE GROWING ROLE OF THE NATIONAL GUARD
AND ARMY RESERVE IN THE WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

LIVE TWO HOUR BROADCAST FROM FORT DIX, NEW JERSEY
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12

GUESTS INCLUDE SENATORS HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D-NY)
AND SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA)


Washington, D.C.; December 11, 2006 - An increasing number of National Guard and Army Reserve troops are being called up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan; at times up to forty percent of the U.S. forces in Iraq have been comprised of National Guard and Reserves. NPR's Talk of the Nation® looks at the future of these two military institutions in this time of war in a special two-hour broadcast live from Fort Dix, New Jersey, Tuesday, December 12. A major U.S. Army mobilization point for Army Reserve and National Guard troops, Fort Dix has seen 90,000 troops pass through its gates since September 11, 2001.

To be broadcast from the post's Timmermann Center, the December 12th program to be hosted by NPR's Robert Siegel will feature active and retired commanding officers representing the National Guard and Army Reserve before an audience of Fort Dix Soldiers, civilians and their families. They'll be invited to participate in the conversation which will focus on the future of the National Guard and Army Reserve and the training necessary to prepare a Reserve or National Guard Soldier for war. As usual on Talk of the Nation, listeners will be invited to call in questions and comments at 1-800-989-8255 during the broadcast at 2:00 - 4:00 PM (E.T.) or email questions through talk@npr.org. New Jersey Public Radio, WNJT/88.1 FM will provide support during the show.

Hour one will discuss the physical and psychological training needed to prepare Soldiers for war, as well as supportive resources available to their families. Hour two will explore the future of the civilian army, the National Guard and Army Reserve, and how they have been affected by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The program will also address several critical questions regarding the structure and design of the armed forces, the lives of the men and women involved, recruiting and retention efforts, and the future of citizen Soldiers.

Guests will include Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), both of the Senator Armed Services Committee; Col. Douglas Dinon, Deputy Commander for Mobilization at Fort Dix; Major General (Ret) Michael Davidson, former Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters; and Brigadier General C. Stewart Rodeheaver, Deputy Commanding General, First Army, Fort Gillem, GA.

The program will also feature a special performance by stand-up comedian and former Army supply specialist Tom Irwin. Irwin has performed for front-line troops in Iraq and Afghanistan with the group "Comics on Duty."

Talk of the Nation travels to and broadcasts from several different locations each year. Most recently, the program visited Columbus, Ohio for a live election themed edition timed to the mid-term elections. Other remote broadcasts took the program to Ft. Lauderdale for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention; New Orleans for a discussion on Hurricane Katrina; San Francisco to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Great 1906 Earthquake, Las Vegas for its centennial anniversary, and TC Williams High School in Alexandria, VA on the Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.

Talk of the Nation is NPR's midday news talk program that explores all topics from politics to pop culture, education, religion, books, health, family and music. Through call-ins and e-mails, listeners are able to join in dialogue with decision-makers, authors, academicians, artists and newsmakers in the headlines. Neal Conan has been host of Talk of the Nation since 2001. With 2.6 million weekly listeners, the program airs on 279 NPR stations around the country; for local stations and time periods, check http://www.npr.org/schedule/index.php.