The Minneapolis Star Tribune tells the extraordinary story of a Minnesota National Guardsman, Lt. Col. Joe Repya, who will soon leave for Iraq, having volunteered to return to active duty at age 58.
Joe commanded a rifle platoon in Vietnam and survived–something of a miracle in itself–and flew helicopters in the first Gulf War. This time around, he’s expecting a desk assignment, although he says, somewhat wistfully, that he’d love to fly helicopters again if the Army will let him.
Joe is a classic citizen patriot and activist. He first came to public attention in March 2003 when, disturbed by the anti-war campaign mounted by Minnesota liberals, he arranged for the production of lawn signs saying “Liberate Iraq–Support Our Troops.” His effort garnered a lot of publicity, and Joe eventually distributed 30,000 signs.
More recently, he has been active in the Bush-Cheney Minnesota campaign.
A Democratic spokesman, given the opportuntity to comment on Col. Repya’s return to active duty, responded predictably with a partisan cheap shot against President Bush.
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