Beshear says National Guard sacrifice in Iraq not in vain - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Beshear says National Guard sacrifice in Iraq not in vain

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Despite the chaos in Iraq, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear does not believe Kentucky's National Guard sacrificed in vain.

"It wasn't in vain," said Beshear before an appearance in Louisville. "They were over there protecting us and protecting our freedoms."

Over the years, hundreds of Kentucky National Guard and Air National Guard members left their families behind to serve in Iraq.

Jim Johnson was one of them. He spent 5 months as a mechanic in Iraq in 2011.

"It kind of saddens me," said Johnson, when asked about the latest developments in Iraq.

Even when he watches Iraq descend into chaos, he is still proud of his service.

"Yes sir, I am. I'm very proud of what I did over there. I went over and I did my job," said Johnson.

And as the governor commends the sacrifices made by the Kentucky Guard and Reserve, he acknowledges there are no easy answers in Iraq.

"It's a landscape that keeps shifting, and I think that, nationally, we've just got to stay on top of it and try to figure out what's the best thing for our country," he said.

Beshear says whatever happens, Kentuckians will be ready to respond.

"We've got more Kentuckians, I think, per capita, that are veterans that have served their country in some capacity than virtually any other state. We're proud of it, and we're going to keep serving our country as long as we're needed," said Beshear.

The Iraq War saw the largest deployment of the Kentucky National Guard since World War II.

Sixty-eight Kentuckians from the Guard, the Reserve and Active Duty were killed.

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