Saturday, September 18, 2004

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Soldiers from a combat unit at Fort Carson say they have been told to re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq, the Rocky Mountain News reported Thursday.

Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last week, two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity told the newspaper.

"They said if you refuse to re-enlist with the 3rd Brigade, we'll send you down to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, which is going to Iraq for a year, and you can stay with them, or we'll send you to Korea, or to Fort Riley (in Kansas) where they're going to Iraq," said one of the soldiers, a sergeant.

The second soldier, an enlisted man, echoed that view: "They told us if we don't re-enlist, then we'd have to be reassigned. And where we're most needed is in units that are going back to Iraq in the next couple of months. So if you think you're getting out, you're not."

The sergeant told the News the threat has outraged soldiers who are close to fulfilling their service obligation.

"We have a whole platoon who refuses to sign," he said.

An unidentified Fort Carson spokesman said Wednesday that 3rd Brigade recruitment officers denied threatening the soldiers with more duty in Iraq.

"I can only tell you what the retention officers told us: The soldiers were not being told they will go to Iraq, but they may go to Iraq," said the spokesman, who confirmed the re-enlistment drive is under way.

OK, so some people are hoping that we won't be stretched for troops much longer, and they don't want to permanently enlarge the army. It seems the most optimistic somehow don't believe we will need these extra troops for long enough to justify training them. In that case we need some other way to get trained troops to voluntarily come out of retirement - or at least a discussion to see if it might be possible. The problem is that the Bush administration doesn't want to discuss how overstretched we are, so the problem is dealt with by people on a lower level.

Great story from I got it from The Sideshow by Avedon Carol. I read her blog for news and links, she reads mine to make fun of the spelling. She got the link from Unqualified Offerings.

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