This letter began shortly after it was announced that the troops would be in for extended tours in Iraq. What is different about this e-mail exchange is that Dad wrote to his son and got a response from someone else in the unit.
Hey Ry, Just wanted to get back with you and talk about this extension deal. Don’t dwell too much on it as it is what it is. Everyone in the army is in the same boat, those currently in country and those who will soon be deployed. Everyone is going to have to suck this one up and carry on. The paper this morning said that each soldier is supposed to get an extra $1,000.00 per month pay for each month of the extension. I know that doesn’t mean a hell of a lot, but at least that is something. What is your take on how this is being received amongst the troops? Pretty sure I know the answer. My understanding is that with this new 15 month deployment plan, they will not redeploy units within a year of rotation back to the states. I’m sure Ashley has heard this by now. Have you heard from her? Jan and I mailed her birthday card and check yesterday.
You’re a professional soldier and I know you will do your best to help keep the morale of the troops up. There is nothing wrong with bitching that is what soldiers do and have always done. In the end we all carry on despite the bitching and get the job done. God knows I did my share of bitching when I was in Nam. Keep the faith Ry and we will all get thru this. Let me know if you need anything.
Dad and Jan
All is well here. I woke up this morning to the news of the extension. There had been rumors of extension lately, but that rumor is always present in ANY deployment. This time, however, it came to fruition. The only thing that really burned me up was that I heard it from a PFC who heard it on CNN. I should have been the one telling the PFC… not Wolfe Blitzer or whoever it was. So, there was a major failure in my chain of command going all the way up to Washington. The email chain began with a letter from General Odierno (the CG here in Iraq) to his Commanders last night at 2354 hrs, after the announcement was made. It started out “Wanted to let you all know that the announcement by the Secretary of Defense today regarding the 15 month deployment was a surprise to all of us.” So, if the Theater Commander hears it on CNN that should tell you something. But I am a soldier and I will carry on. The way I see it, the extra three months they have given us…well, I have already done them. We’ll call them October, November, and December of 2006. So now that those are out of the way, let’s get back to taking the fight to the enemy by means of 30mm chaingun, rockets, and Hellfires. We have a job to do and we only have nine more months to get it done. Let’s not waste time complaining.
That’s the attitude Adam! God bless you guys. Let me know if you need anything from this side of the pond. - H