SLUG: 2-280526 Pentagon / Mobilization (L)
TITLE= PENTAGON / MOBILIZATION (L)
BYLINE= ALEX BELIDA
/// EDS: THIS REPORT UPDATES CR 2-2280504 ///
INTRO: President Bush has approved the first mobilization of U-S military reserve forces since the 1991 Gulf War. V-O-A Pentagon Correspondent Alex Belida reports the move follows Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
TEXT: The President has given Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the authority to call up to 50-thousand reservists to active duty.
But a Pentagon statement says the armed forces, after reviewing their immediate requirements, will initially mobilize up to 35-thousand - most of them, about 13-thousand, from the Air Force. The next largest contingent will be about 10-thousand Army soldiers.
The reserve forces will be used primarily in what is called "homeland defense" -- that is, security duties in the United States itself. The emphasis on Air Force reservists in the mobilization reflects the requirement for stepped up air patrols following Tuesday's multiple aircraft hijackings by suicide terrorists.
The reservists will also be used in recovery operations in New York and Washington.
Those operations are continuing at the Pentagon itself, where a hijacked American Airlines plane slammed into one of the five sides, triggering a massive fire and the collapse of tons of masonry, steel and other elements of the World War Two era structure.
Pentagon officials estimate the death toll is between 190 and 250, including passengers who were on board the ill-fated plane. They also estimate it will cost in excess of tens of millions of dollars to repair all the structural damage.
Early Friday workers in the collapse area found the aircraft voice and data recorders.
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