National Guard Rolls onto Capitol Grounds
Around the State
On Monday, the Florida National Guard began rolling in the heavy artillery. Guard members set up helicopters, military trucks and a scaled-down model of a fighter jet in the courtyard in front of the Capitol.
Of the roughly 12,500 men and women serving in the Guard, about 10,500 have been through, or are currently in combat. Lt. Col. Glen Sutphin says sixteen members of the guard have been killed in action.
"The Florida guard is one of the best trained in the nation," Sutphin said. And because the Florida guard must be ready to handle hurricanes, they receive modern equipment before soldiers elsewhere do.
A uniformed officer helping set up at the Capitol Monday said they hope to illustrate the mission and the capabilities of Florida's National Guard.
The state contributes about $16 million to the Florida National Guard's annual budget, with the greater portion -- $1.8 billion -- coming from Uncle Sam. But in a year when state lawmakers are facing a $3 billion budget deficit, Sutphin says he realizes some of their funds may also be on the chopping block.
"As a military people, we understand the need for sacrifice," he said. "It's difficult to face my people and to say we took money from starving children.
"We try to do our part."
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