Deployment drawdowns leave soldiers struggling
Tue, 29 Nov 2011 17:53:08 GMT —
The cascading effects of the Obama administration's decision to pull thousands of soldiers out of Iraq and Afghanistan are rippling through the National Guard.
Nearly 9,000 Army National Guard soldiers have been either sent home early from the warfronts, or were told that the Pentagon's plans to send them to battle have been shelved or changed.
As a result, U.S. military and Guard leaders are scrambling to find new missions for many of the soldiers.
"If you're a 25-year-old infantryman, and you're a student at Ohio State University, and you decide not to register for school in July because you were going to mobilize, and we say your services aren't needed anymore " that becomes a significantly emotional event in that person's life," said Col. Ted Hildreth, chief of mobilization and readiness for the Army National Guard.
Demetries Luckett is one of them. He turned in his cable box, sent his daughter to live with her mother, put his life on hold andtraveled to Camp Shelby in Mississippi to prepare to deploy.
Now he's unemployed and back in Michigan because the Army decided that Uncle Sam didn't need him after all.
"These are commitments and contracts that have been signed, and so when these changes happen, they are not insignificant," Col. Hildreth said. "So we work with the unit, the country team and the joint force headquarters to define who are no-kidding hardships and who we had to work to find other employments opportunities to fulfill the 400-day mobilization commitment that we made to that soldier."
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