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More Time Overseas Could Mean Fewer Troops

Posted April 13, 2007

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— Extended tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan could lead to a mass exodus from the military in the coming years, according to observers.

"Our troops are tired," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Springer, a military analyst for WRAL. "There's a lot of people who are saying, 'Well, I'm out of here.'"

The recent announcement by Defense Secretary Robert Gates that tours of duty would be extended from 12 months to 15 months, with rotations back home shortened could exacerbate that trend.

"The Army always says they're all about the family, but I don't think they are when they're doing it like that," said Patricia Gurney, whose husband recently retired from the Army.

Gurney said she's glad her family won't have to deal with longer deployments, but she said she fears the Army will suffer.

"I think you're going to see a lot of soldiers trying to get out, and you're going to see more families being broken apart," she said.

Soldiers know deployments are part of the job, so few publicly complain. But some have told their wives that the current environment isn't what they signed up for.

"Eventually, people are going to serve their time and get out and go on with their lives," Army wife McKenzie Schalla said.

Congress has approved hiring 92,000 troops, including 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 Marines. But it will take five years to phase them in and longer to train them.

All branches of the military met or exceeded recruiting goals in February, the last month figures are available. Recruiters are working to entice more volunteers by enlisting soldiers up to age 42, allowing non-citizens to earn citizenship by serving and lowering the standards for test scores and minor scrapes with the law.

Springer said troop morale remains high but noted that could change.

"Men and women understand they have a mission to do, and they're about to do it," he said. "When soldiers give up on leadership, that's when you get the exodus."

24 Comments

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  • Tarheeljunior Apr 18, 2007

    It is funny that they cracked down further on the types of tattoos a Marine can get, but they lowered that stardards for who can join. Mixed messages friends, that is what our government is good for. As the fiance of a Marine who has been in Iraq, I know a lot of men who have gotten our recently or are getting out soon. No one has, or plans to re-enlist. A look at myspace shows that every Marine I have met has a countdown til the day they get out. Most of them cannot wait. It isn't because they don't like the Marine Corps (most of them love it), it is because they do not want to go back to Iraq. They have seen this mess up close and they don't want anything to do with it anymore. Most of the troops are first termers, and that is why they don't re-enlist.

  • Quagmire Apr 15, 2007

    They are called moral waivers. Here is an article

    http://tinyurl.com/ypv6z3

  • choirgirl Apr 15, 2007

    What we all should be worried about is the kind of people they are signing up now. Notice how they mention that recruiters are offering citizenship (probably to illegal aliens) and casting a blind eye to "minor scrapes" with the law. Well, I'll tell you about those "minor scrapes"..when my husband was in a leg unit, a guy in his platoon showed me his GANG tattoo. I guess he thought I was impressed...NOT!

    So, then we send these guys into battle and they rape a 15 year old girl and burn her family so no one can testify we wonder what happened.

    And unfortunately it only takes one or two bad soldiers to ruin the reputation of our entire military force internationally.

  • Quagmire Apr 15, 2007

    Meanwhile you have recruiters at Raleigh High Schools telling kids that they will not have to deploy if they sign up.

  • hail2opeth Apr 13, 2007

    lol! Maybe it's about time for an American Foreign Legion! We could put sign up station all along the Mexican Border, offer a signing bonus, and double the size of our armed forces in a month or two. =P

  • nc lover Apr 13, 2007

    Regularguy - Your reading the post. Your saying the right thing. God bless you and the rest of us,.I hate to say it but
    the U.S. is going down.
    The U.N. even said no to begin with.
    We have lost face with our allies. I hate to say it but its to late to pull out now. We must finish what we started to keep face. And There is no finsih. Just a shamefull pullout

  • regularguy_nc-at-yahoo.com Apr 13, 2007

    That "war" is based on nothing but a pack of lies. The president and his little den of theives are doing it out of greed. The federal government supports warlords and governments that are worse than what they claim they are fighting. Liars, theives and murderers who are out to destroy our constitution, economy, and our freedom!

  • nc lover Apr 13, 2007

    You go girl? And just remembr you have a stake in this. Keep
    vocing your opion

  • CherryDarling Apr 13, 2007

    LOL...

    Looking up some facts on the internet to support his claims, no doubt.

    tee hee hee

  • nc lover Apr 13, 2007

    hmmmmmmm - I wonder where jymske is

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