Training soldiers for battle not only priority
By Nancy Montgomery, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Sunday, September 28, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Tough, thorough and relevant training for soldiers before they deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan is Gen. Carter Ham’s top priority. But it’s not the only one.
Ham has been assessing U.S. Army Europe policies and programs since his arrival as commander at the beginning of the month. He sees room for improvement.
On family support, he said, "I think we’re doing OK."
"First, they want their soldiers home," Ham said. "Next they want predictability. That’s a big rock in my rucksack."
Letting people know how often they’ll deploy and how much time they’ll have between deployments is difficult as the U.S. continues to call on its soldiers to fight two wars now in their fifth and seventh years and transform all at the same time — and with a new administration taking over in four months.
During a trip to Iraq last week, Ham and commanders there discussed the difficulty of repeatedly getting troops and equipment ready to deploy again after one year’s "dwell time," and spoke of how superior 24 months between deployments would be.
"A year sounds like a long time. But there’s block leave, returning equipment, schools …," Ham said. "You want to deploy them as well-trained as you can but you don’t want to deploy them tired. We want to give them as much time as we can at home."
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Sunday, September 28, 2008
General Carter Ham would have 24 months between deployments
Just one more thing McCain got wrong when he voted against giving more dwell time between deployments. General Ham, well he has the best interests of the troops in mind.