But the tom-toms of war, not the drums of the classic rock band, keep cadence as Weaver readies to leave his Cedartown home Sunday for National Guard basic training at Kentucky’s Fort Knox.
The 12th anniversary of the first allied strikes in the Gulf War is this month, raising the question of whether President George W. Bush will soon follow in his father’s footsteps and attack Iraq.
Weaver, who is attending North Georgia College on a military scholarship, expects to see a repeat performance of the Bush versus Hussein showdown.
“War is probably going to happen, but I don’t think it will be bloody, Vietnam-type stuff,” Weaver said.
His mother, Linda Weaver, certainly hopes things don’t grow to that proportion.
“I’m uncomfortable, like any mother would be,” she said. “I feel safer since he’s going to be trained and ready, instead of pulled up (by a draft) and trained.”
So far, no local National Guard units have been activated, said Sgt. 1st Class Tommy Jacobs, who helped recruit Joshua Weaver. Jacobs and Weaver are with Rome’s Company A.
“There’s been no change,” Jacobs said. “So far all my guys are walking around relaxing. They are asking questions, but the answer is business as usual.”
But that would all change if the federal government issued a mobilization notification.
Jacobs was serving in Savannah when his unit got the call to mobilize for the Persian Gulf War.
“Lots changed,” he said. “We were put on alert, mobilized and prepared for war. We went to the Mojave Desert (in California) for additional training.”
Though Jacobs never saw combat, he felt the impact of being in a wartime situation.
“I was a hard charger before, but I became more of one (after the mobilization). Training had a stronger meaning,” he said.
In the event of war, Jacobs would busy himself at the home front organizing the Family Assistance Center, among his other duties.
FAC is a support group for the families of soldiers called away for duty.
As well as serving as a support group, FAC helps family members on the home front deal with matters that the absent service members used to take care of, such as handling finances and getting automobiles fixed.
But since Floyd County does not have a major military base, the area is not likely to be uniquely affected in the event of a mobilization, said Al Hodge, president and CEO of the Greater Rome Chamber of Commerce.
“Local employers with employees in the National Guard might be affected,” Hodge said.
While Weaver and Jacobs brace for the expected war, the kind of mobilization Berry College student and native Roman Philip Reeves is planning is anything but military.
“We’re planning (an antiwar) protest on campus at Berry,” Reeves said.
“I think (a war with Iraq) is a bad idea because the foreign policy Bush is putting in place is reinforcing some of the main causes behind terrorist groups, like interfering with national sovereignty,” Reeves said.
But don’t expect to see the college become a hotbed of antiwar activism. Reeves believes he holds the minority view around campus. “At Berry, most students support the war with Iraq,” Reeves said.
Though Reeves disagrees politically with a war with Iraq, if drafted he would serve. “I’d have to do my duty as anyone else would have to,” he said.