If you haven't noticed already, it will become more apparent in the days and weeks to come, there are fewer familiar faces in our region.

Recently, numerous men and women from Moody Air Force Base have been deployed to the northern Arabian Gulf as part of the military's increased concentration of Operation Enduring Freedom in the Persian Gulf region.

It is not unusual for Moody AFB to assign troops to various parts of the world for tours of duty, but this time, deployed Moody airmen join the ranks of thousands of American military personnel shipped out in the past few weeks for what many believe is an inevitable war with Iraq.

In 1990, scores of Moody airmen were deployed to the Middle East during the build-up for 1991's Persian Gulf War.

Then, as Moody AFB personnel departed, the community showed its full support for its military neighbors by sending them off with the region's Southern hospitality and a commitment to helping the family members the airmen left behind. Of course, in 1990, there was a definitive line drawn in the sand for Iraq to abandon its invasion of Kuwait or face imminent war. This time, as Iraq faces U.S. charges of developing and amassing weapons of mass destruction, the line drawn in the sand is more of a question mark whether there will be a second war with Iraq.

Nonetheless, the drums of war are whispering across the nation and, as a community, South Georgia must commit its support to our military neighbors who may be called upon to execute this potential war.

We offer our best wishes for a safe and speedy return to Moody's departing airmen and ask the community to remember their families, our South Georgia neighbors, in our prayers, our thoughts and our deeds.



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