Hundreds of soldiers, including some Utahns, will have their tours of duty in Iraq extended to support an increase in troop strength announced by President Bush on Wednesday.
"The clock has been reset, folks," said Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard. "All soldiers are available again today. All of them."
That includes soldiers from units, such as the 115th Maintenance Company, that have recently returned home from Iraq.
Rather than complaining, these national guard troops seem resigned to their fate: "I kind of figured it was going to happen - they're not going to start drafting people," said Troy Steen, who returned from Iraq with the 115th less than a year ago. Oh and for those of you who just want to cheer these people on without thinking about the conserquences of this mindless war, this is his third tour since 9/11 and he has a new wife. But that doesn't matter, Bush can't be wrong, he can't lose, so we are stretching our nation's military to its breaking point.
More than 80 percent of current Utah Guard members have deployed since the 2001 attacks, according to state Guard officials. Pentagon rules limiting how long reservists may be called into active duty had, until this week's policy change, left many of those ineligible to redeploy to war.
"Even 12 months is hard, but it's a cycle," Rich Miller, who recently returned from a tour of duty in Ramadi, Iraq, where he led the Utah-based 222nd Field Artillery, said "You miss one school year . . . you're not away for your child's junior and senior year."
The more I think about it, the madder I get.