Saturday, April 21, 2007

Commando Brigade's tour extended

By Col. Mike Kershaw,
Commander, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

On April 11, 2007 Secretary Gates announced the tours of duty for active-duty Soldiers will be extended for up to 15 months. The news was difficult for Soldiers and their family members.
There are a number of reasons for the extension. Chief among them are the current surge of forces in Iraq, as well as the desire to give Soldiers in deploying units a minimum of 12 months at home before being redeployed. The Fort Drum installation and the 10th Mountain Division are enacting measures to help the families with the additional burden of having loved ones deployed in excess of a year and will provide support and information in the coming weeks to the Family Readiness Groups.
The extension of the Soldiers not only affects our families, but our friends in the local community as well. I would like to extend a special thanks to the residents of the greater Watertown area who have graciously supported Commando Brigade Soldiers since the beginning of the deployment. As I visit with our Soldiers in the small patrol bases and austere battle positions that dot the countryside of South Baghdad, I never fail to see some gift from home, whether a package, pictures or letters from some of our many support groups. It is often the only reminder of normalcy in this war torn land for the Soldiers of our Brigade Combat Team.
As the months pass it is my hope the community will continue to support our Soldiers and family members as it has before. This support means much to the deployed Soldiers and their family members. It reminds them that values like service and sacrifice are still valued in our country and that the citizens of our great nation have not forgotten their sacrifice in this difficult mission.
As we continue our mission in Iraq I hope that the community will continue to keep the Commando Brigade Combat Team and those we serve alongside in their thoughts and prayers. Thank you for your support.

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