Monday, March 26, 2007

1200 Okinawa Marines' tours extended to allow Iraq training for others

Marines on Okinawa conduting urban warfare readiness training.

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Thursday that 1,200 Marines and sailors would stay in Okinawa, Japan, for an additional five months so other Marines scheduled to move into Iraq can train for the mission.

Keeping a portion of the Okinawa unit in place will allow other service members to stay at home longer and train for Iraq, the Marine Corps said, allowing it to maintain its target for "dwell time" -- the amount of time a Marine is home between deployments.

It is the latest sign of the stress the Iraq war has put on the U.S. armed forces, and the impact of the Bush administration's plan to send nearly 30,000 additional U.S. troops to regain control of security in Iraq.

The affected troops were due to leave Okinawa in August.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet