Thursday, July 12, 2007

Marine Commandant Conway: Marine Corps resisting pressure to extend combat deployments

Above: Marines with the 6th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 6, provide security outside of an Iraqi police station in Fallujah in June.

TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — The Corps is pushing back against pressure from other services to extend combat deployments in Iraq, the commandant told Marine families Monday.

Pressure to extend the already yearlong tours of individual Marine augments in Iraq is mounting in the wake of the Army’s recent decision to extend its combat tours from 12 to 15 months, Commandant Gen. James Conway said during a town hall meeting at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“I’m sorry, we’re not going to do that. We are not going to a longer cycle,” he said. “We’ve had some reverse pressure on us to justify seven months when the Army is going to 15.”

Over a protracted period, however, the time deployed is about the same, he explained. In the span of 27 months, a soldier will have been deployed 15 months. The 15-month deployment is aimed at ensuring soldiers have 12 months at home, Conway said. Marines, however, are averaging about seven months home between their seven-month deployments, totaling about 14 months deployed out of 28 months, he said. Most Marines at the battalion level and below deploy for seven months, while a small number of leathernecks at the group or regimental level pull yearlong tours.

Read the rest at Marine Corps Times

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