Wire: Pentagon Extends Tours for Some Troops in Afghanistan
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2009 -- Newswire services this afternoon reported that members of the 82nd Airborne Division headquarters serving in Afghanistan have been told their tours will be extended by 52 days from 12 months to nearly 14 months.
Fox News reported that hundreds of officers and non-commissioned soldiers were told this weekend that they would have to stay longer so that their replacements in the 101st Airborne Division could have 12 months at home -- a sign at how stretched the forces remain. The members of the 82nd Airborne were supposed to return in May 2010, but will come home sometime in July, according to a senior defense official.
Troops' families at Fort Bragg, N.C., were told about the extension at a town hall meeting this weekend, Fox said.
Fox noted the following details:
"Based on the recent experience of the 101st Airborne Division headquarters in Afghanistan this move will ensure continued momentum and progress in Regional Command East," said Maj. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan.The decision comes as the Defense Department faces eroding public support for the war in Afghanistan, an 8-year-old conflict that Gates said is "only now beginning."
Brigade and other subordinate units of Regional Command East will not be affected by this change, the Defense Department said.
The announcement marks the first change in length of tours since former President George W. Bush announced that U.S. Army tours would be reduced from 15 months back to 12 months for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(Report from newswire sources.)
Source: Pentagon Extends Tours for 82nd Airborne Troops in Afghanistan
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