I once wished for our occupation in Iraq to
end and our troops to be brought back home; however, I see
in sight. So now I wish that soldiers’ tours could be
shortened, and that President Bush experiences what soldiers’ families
have to sacrifice. As long as Bush has interests to protect
in the Middle East, and the Iraqi soldiers are not ready to
the job, the United States will continue to occupy the country
to some extent.
Middle East tours of duty are crazy. According
to Retired Lt. Col. Bob Takao, the military always has the
right to say a
soldier has to stay a little longer. The average time spent “in
theater” for soldiers is a year, with a two-week rest-and-recuperation
period. One year is a long time to be exposed to that type
of violence, and some soldiers cannot deal with it and either
themselves or return home with psychological problems.
According to Takao, the Army is considering
shortening Middle East tours to about seven months, as the
Marines do. However,
Takao suggested that soldiers may have to return to Iraq, or
My soon-to-be brother-in-law, who is 21 years old, went to
Army basic training for four months and then served a one-year
in Iraq. During basic, his wife gave birth to a baby girl.
A year later she had another girl. Although he came home to
beautiful family, he was a stranger in his own home. His daughters
were afraid of him and refused to go near him. He was devastated.
Children, especially those in their earlier stages, are affected
by their parent’s lengthy tours and have a hard time
My fiancé, who is a specialist in
the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, has orders to be in Iraq
for at least a year.
It is most likely that his tour will be prolonged due to the
number of troops needed in Iraq. Once he is back in the states,
he will spend a couple of months at a military base to demobilize
and readjust to being a civilian again. By the time we see
each other, a year and a half will have passed. He will miss
my 21st and 22nd birthday, two Valentine’s Days, one
Christmas, and most importantly my graduation from HPU. I feel
I am capable
of handling six to eight months of separation from my fiancé,
but when it starts going beyond a year, it is disheartening,
discouraging, and stressful on my life, his life, and our future
I often wonder what Bush says to the families
of soldiers who have died in the war. I also wonder what Bush
would do if he
had to give up his wife or his daughters for a year and a half.
The soldiers and their families have to deal with the devastation,
depression, and sorrow of loss or death. War changes you forever,
whether you’re on the front lines or keeping the home
fires burning. I wish I could protect my loved one from what
experience over there: the pain, suffering, and loss of life.
He will come back a different person.
Right now, although I
continue to go to school and work, I feel like my life is
put on hold,
but I know I, too, am changing.