On the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the commander of the Vermont National Guard says the force is preparing for a "large-scale deployment” to the Middle East within the next two years.
Over the past five years, more than half of the 4,000 Guard members have served in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other areas in the Middle East and Asia.
Major General Michael Dubie says he expects the Pentagon to call up Vermonters again.
Dubie says the frequent Guard mobilizations show how the Iraq war has changed the make up of the U.S. armed forces.
He says Guard units are on the front lines like never before and being used at an unprecedented level.
The adjutant general says recruiting has increased and people with higher educational backgrounds than in the past are joining the force.