Issaquah Marine prepares for helping with Katrina
Seattle Times staff reporter
Editor's note: Since early 2003, we've periodically visited the family of Marine Cpl. Aaron Job of Issaquah through his two deployments in Iraq. Now, he's among thousands of U.S. military personnel notified they'll be sent to help in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina.
He turned 20 in Kuwait and 21 in Iraq. So when Marine Cpl. Aaron Job turns 22 tomorrow, it wouldn't be unusual for him to be away.
The location, however, could be in the Gulf Coast region, assisting with relief and recovery efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Job, based at Camp Pendleton in Southern California, has been told he'll be deployed, possibly within the next day, to help in relief efforts in Mississippi as the number of active-duty U.S. servicemen and women in the region grows to more than 10,000.
"They'll do whatever they're needed for," said the Marine's mother, Debbie Job of Issaquah. "It could be body recovery, security patrols and probably some clean-up work."
Aaron Job got a call Saturday evening, when he was at a Seattle Mariners game in Anaheim, Calif., and was told to report Sunday. He has been getting shots to guard against disease, a growing concern in areas with poor sanitation and scarce clean water.
According to The Associated Press, military officials have said 1,000 Marines from Camp Pendleton will be sent to the stricken region, along with another 1,000 from Camp Lejeune, N.C. Thousands of Army soldiers have been sent, along with tens of thousands of National Guard troops from across the country.
Debbie Job said the chance to help people in Mississippi holds a personal significance for her son's unit. When they left Iraq early this year, they were replaced in Najaf by members of the Mississippi National Guard, some of whom still are in Iraq.
The extent of Katrina's devastation in hard-to-reach areas is still being gauged. Debbie Job said a friend with relatives in Mississippi told her four of his extended family's six homes were destroyed and the roof was torn from another, and that in some areas, bodies of victims still had not been removed.
Another Puget Sound-area Marine notified that he'll be sent to the Gulf region is Cpl. Pete Steagall, 21, of Bremerton, in the same platoon with Job.
Steagall's mother, Elizabeth Steagall, said he was at home on a 96-hour leave when the call came over the weekend to return to Camp Pendleton. "He wasn't happy to have his leave cut short, but after getting the call you could just tell he was ready to go do the job," she said.
Elizabeth Steagall said making a financial donation to hurricane-relief efforts provides some satisfaction, but she's glad her son will be able to assist in a hands-on way.
"This is going to be nasty work," she said. "It's not going to be fun work. But the fact he's going to be able to help part of the United States recover from a disaster is going to be good."
Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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