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Active duty ahead for thousands of reservists

Members of the 171st Air Refueling Wing of the Pennsylvania National Guard train at Pittsburgh International Airport


Yugoslav prisoner of war in U.S. custody

New wave of refugees sweeps out of Yugoslavia

Clintons applaud Kosovo aid effort


Crisis in Kosovo

CNN's Rym Brahimi gives viewers a look inside a NATO AWAC surveillance plane (April 16)
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CNN's Gene Randall reports on U.S. reservists joining NATO campaign (April 15)
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Clinton meets with family of captured U.S. soldier

April 16, 1999
Web posted at: 10:52 p.m. EDT (0252 GMT)

In this story:

American vs. Yugoslav prisoners of war

Albright makes direct appeal to Serbs

Pentagon: Yugoslavia has chemical weapons

Reserves bring Kosovo crisis to new level

Biggest call-up since Gulf War


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Thousands of "weekend warriors" could find out as early as next week if they will be among those called to active duty because of the crisis in Kosovo, Pentagon officials said Friday.

Defense Secretary William Cohen said the Pentagon planned to request a "significant number" of U.S. military reservists be called up to bolster the NATO war against Yugoslavia.

Military officials said President Bill Clinton is likely to approve the request that as many as 33,000 reservists be activated. That approval could come as soon as Monday, according to administration sources.

They said the 60 percent to 70 percent of those called up will be from the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard and will be involved in refueling and transport flights and ground logistics. Army reservists who handle civil affairs duties, ranging from food handling to medical and mail support, will also get the call.

The president visited the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan on Friday where he greeted 50 volunteers from the 927th Air Refueling Wing who were departing that evening to support the NATO air campaign in the Balkans.

American vs. Yugoslav prisoners of war

Clinton also held a private meeting with the family of Army Staff Sgt. Christopher Stone, one of three U.S. soldiers captured March 31 by Serbian forces along the Yugoslav-Macedonian border.

An uncertain future lies ahead for many refugees  

"Our prayers are with you and we will do our best to bring him home safely," White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said Clinton told the Stone family during the 15-minute meeting.

The president also told Stone's father and step-mother that he was proud of their soldier son.

U.S. officials have been frustrated by Yugoslavia's refusal to allow the International Red Cross and other relief agencies to visit the prisoners.

The Pentagon announced Friday that a Yugoslav soldier was now in U.S. custody in Albania and stressed that he is being afforded all the rights of a prisoner of war, including medical care and correspondence with his family.

Albright makes direct appeal to Serbs

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright tried Friday night for the second time to speak directly to the Serbian people in their own language in a message to be broadcast into Yugoslavia.

In the message, Albright asks them to ponder why 19 NATO nations are united against the policies of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

"NATO has no wish to conquer your country and expand eastward," Albright said. "But our nations cannot stand by while thousands of innocent people are killed or driven from their homes."

Albright's message was scheduled for broadcast on Radio Free Europe, the Voice of America, the Internet and Worldnet.

Pentagon: Yugoslavia has chemical weapons

Also Friday, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon confirmed that officials believe Milosevic has chemical weapons at his disposal.

"The Yugoslav military did have some chemical weapons capability," he said. "Some of it has been dismantled and some of it's been moved. We believe that there is still a chemical weapons capability of unknown quantity in Yugoslavia today."

Bacon said there was no evidence or indication that Belgrade planned to use such weapons at the moment. But he said its unclear what Yugoslavia "would do in the event of an invasion."

U.S. reserves bring Kosovo crisis to new level

The Pennsylvania National Guard prepares for mission  

Over the past four years, nearly 18,000 members of the U.S. military reserves have served in Bosnia as peacekeepers or in support services.

But calling up reserves for Kosovo takes the war with Yugoslavia to another level.

"The idea that many people are going to be taken from their normal lives and asked to contribute to this mission -- it's one more thing that makes us feel more serious about what's going on in southeastern Europe," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution.

The active-duty tour for those called up could be as long as 270 days.

"Most Americans right now have been impacted by 'what' they're watching on television around the dinner table," said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Dan Benton.

"Now, potentially it's going to be a matter of 'who's' watching television around the dinner table -- because this could be the second largest presidential call up since the Gulf War," said Benton.

Biggest call-up since Gulf War

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle refuels  

The call-up would be the biggest since more than 200,000 reservists were activated during the Persian Gulf War.

The U.S. military relies heavily on reservists for almost any large operation.

Many of the Air Force refueling aircraft in the Balkans already are operated by members of the Air National Guard. Nine Air Guard refueling wings from nine states already are participating in the NATO missions, as are KC-135 refueling units from five Air Force Reserve wings in five states.

The call-up of additional forces would follow a major buildup of U.S. and other NATO aircraft in the effort to halt Milosevic's campaign against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo province.

Correspondents Jamie McIntyre, Bill Dorman and Gene Randall contributed to this report.

Cohen regrets convoy deaths, defends NATO pilot
April 15, 1999
NATO searches for answers in Kosovo convoy killings
April 15, 1999
Greece working on urgent humanitarian effort for Kosovo
April 15, 1999
Kosovo or bust, KLA guerrillas ready to fight
April 15, 1999

Related to this story:
  • Selfridge Air National Guard Base

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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