Troops Now Face Longer Deployments AND Less Time at Home

The troops have to be pretty upset with the military brass right now.

In April, SecDef Robert Gates announced that tours in Iraq and Afghanistan were being extended from twelve months to fifteen months. The move was necessary, Gates said, if the Army wanted to ensure that every combat veteran had at least one full year at home before being sent back into a war zone.

Well, word is leaking out that those twelve months at home are just a fantasy. According to Stars and Stripes, a company in Europe is headed back to Iraq only nine months after a 13-month tour.

Other companies made find themselves in the same situation, because a Pentagon spokesman is calling the one year at home between tours a “goal” instead of a guarantee. As for Gates, he’s as confused as anyone. “I’ll be very interested in finding out more about that,” Gates told Stars and Stripes. “We just need to find out about that, because I made it clear that people would have 12 months at home.”

Spotted on ThinkProgress, who highlights a LA Times article from a few days back titled “Long tours in Iraq may be minefield for mental health.”