January 2, 2006:
The U.S. Army is allowing over two hundred Louisiana National Guard troops, just returning from Iraq, to stay on active duty for up to a year, to help with reconstruction. Priority will be given to troops who had their civilian job destroyed by Katrina, and have a skill needed for reconstruction efforts. In a low wage area like Louisiana, many reservists make more money on active duty, than they do just with their civilian job.
Many of the 3,000 troops from the 256th brigade (of the Louisiana National Guard), lost homes and jobs because of hurricane Katrina. Troops from hurricane affected areas were allowed to return early from Iraq to help their families. National Guard and reserve troops always have the option to extend their active duty, and many do, if they have a skill the active forces need. Thousands of reservists have simply transferred to the active force after finishing a period of active duty. This has helped the army maintain its strength, even though it's been difficult to get new recruits.