April 13, 2007 in Nation/World

Deployment extension irks spouses

Aamer Madhani Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon’s decision to extend the standard yearlong deployment of active-duty Army soldiers to 15 months has been met with outrage from some military spouses, a group that has largely been unwavering in its support of the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq.

A day after the Pentagon announced the plan to extend deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, spouses in base towns from Hawaii to Georgia were burning up the phone lines as they made tearful calls to their husbands and wives and commiserated with other military families.

Pentagon officials say the longer deployments would allow commanders on the ground in Iraq to maintain an ongoing troop buildup into next year, while ensuring that soldiers would get 12 months at home when they do return.

Michelle Kasprzycki, whose husband is on his third tour to Iraq in less than four years, said on one level it may be hard for nonmilitary families to sympathize. After all, her husband, Spec. Brian Kasprzycki, joined a volunteer army.

Kasprzycki, in a telephone interview from Georgia, said she was an early supporter of the war but now has reached her limit.

“When is enough enough?” she asked. “How many times do they have to go and get through it just to be sent back again?”

About 145,000 U.S. troops are in Iraq, and there will be more than 160,000 American military personnel on the ground when President Bush’s surge reaches full strength later this spring.

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