Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More soldiers forced to stay in Iraq


clipped from www.usatoday.com
The Army has accelerated its policy of involuntary extensions of duty to bolster its troop levels, despite Defense Secretary Robert Gates' order last year to limit it, Pentagon records show.
STOP-LOSS NUMBERS INCREASE
Gates directed the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the service secretaries to minimize mandatory tour extensions, known as "stop loss," in January 2007
Since then, the number of soldiers forced to remain in the Army rose 43% to 12,235 in March
the military has sent more troops to Iraq and extended tours to 15 months to support an escalation in U.S. forces ordered by President Bush
Soldiers affected by stop loss now serve, on average, an extra 6.6 months

"Secretary Gates understands the hardship stop loss poses to our troops and their families, but he also understands the need to maintain cohesive units on the battlefield throughout deployment," Morrell said. "Troops who have trained together and fought together should remain together."

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