Posted on 08/21/2013

Photo taken on July  4, 2013

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Clan Alpine Mountains
National Guard
Lincoln Highway
US 50

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Yes, as in mobile armored military vehicle with a large cannon! Off Horse Creek in the Clan Alpine Range, Nevada. We were somewhat nonplussed and wondered if we'd stumbled into the local militia hangout. We initially were doubly nonplussed when, on driving out, we were passed by a dozen or so carryalls, vans, and SUVs full of young men (and maybe a few young women) of military age driving in! We were relieved, however, to note that many of the vehicles had "US Government" license plates. So it's not a militia! We figured the young folks were in the National Guard and out for military training. They train on weekends and holidays--note it's the July 4th holiday--and hence get the somewhat undeserved sobriquet "weekend warriors." The National Guard is a weird holdover of the US Federal system: each state has in effect its own military units, which can be called out in state emergencies (often natural disasters, these days). But in modern times they work closely with the US Federal military and are immediately Federalized (i.e., incorporated into the regular military) during times of national emergency. It used to be, before the all-volunteer army, that a stint in the Guard was considered a relatively painless way of fulfilling one's military service. Daniel Quayle, George Bush senior's VP from 1988-92, skipped Vietnam this way back in the 60s, and this became something of an issue in Bush's Presidential campaigns.