Thursday, August 07, 2003


He is with the 101st Airborne what he says may not apply to your soldier in another division.
Just days after some historic accomplishments and difficult losses suffered by the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) while in Iraq, the division's commanding officer is offering words of encouragement and hope to families back home.

In a letter e-mailed to the Kentucky New Era Tuesday, Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus said the Army is working to ease the difficulties soldiers and their families have endured the last few months and will continue to endure with the extended deployment of Fort Campbell soldiers.

"We all recognize the hardships this will impose on families who have already been without their Screaming Eagle for over 5 months now," Petraeus said in the e-mail. "…None of us are jumping for joy at the prospect of staying here for a year."...

As living conditions slowly improve for the soldiers around Mosul, Petraeus urges the importance of continued support from the home front.

"Your support for your deployed soldier and for all the division's soldiers is very important," he said in his letter. "Nothing means more to our soldiers than the backing of their loved ones -- and others -- back home."

Lines of communications for soldiers and families is one thing with which the Army is concerned with improving, according to Petraeus. The general said each battalion will soon have a computer facility that allows access to the Internet and e-mail. He also said the number of phones available to troops will soon increase, allowing for more frequent calls to home...

Each day, over 100,000 pounds of ice is being bought from local merchants and output purchased from a large factory will increase the amount of fresh food to add variety to a steady diet of combat rations. Clothing, cots, television broadcasts and air-conditioning to provide relief from the 110-degree heat are also becoming more abundant, Petraeus said.

He also said the military is working a mid-tour leave program that would allow soldiers to fly from Mosul to Fort Campbell for 10-14 days of chargeable leave. But, he cautioned the logistics of making the program work could be difficult.

"This will not be easy -- especially as the residual air defense threat has prevented the resumption of civilian passenger flights into Iraq," he said. "And, it will be very expensive for our Army."

No comments: