Reduced Service, Extended Time At Home - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Reduced Service, Extended Time At Home

Soldier after soldier, welcomed home from months abroad, serving their country-many of them for just a few days. 

"We talk about Daddy all the time," said Rebekah Ellis, as her 16-month-old son, Aiden kissed a photo her husband, US Army Specialist, Kyle Ellis.  Rebekah said she and Aiden are getting used to life away from Kyle.

"We just got to take it as it comes," she said.  Rebekah has only been married for 2 years, but she said she's spent more time away from her husband than time together.  After an 18-day break, Kyle left for Iraq to complete his second tour of duty.

"We're ready for him to be here and not there," said Rebekah.  Her family is just one of thousands feeling the strain of the on-going war in Iraq.  Last April, service tours were expanded to 15 months for Army servicemen and woman, but the Bush administration could possibly reduce those terms to 12 months, followed by another year of rest at home--in hopes to help ease some of that strain.

"You'd get enough time to compensate for when they're gone," said Rebekah.  "Of course, you don't want them gone, but the more time they're here, is better."

"It would be nice if he could be home for the next set of birthdays, and Christmas' and Thanksgivings with his child and his wife," said Kyle's mother, Patricia Powell.  But it's time the family said is only bitter-sweet.  "By the time they get home, and get readjusted--their minds set back to their civilian life, they got to gear up to go again," she said.  She said 12 months is a blessing, but it's not long enough.

And until the situation in Iraq changes, military families are just waiting for life to return to normal.

President Bush is expected to announce the change later in the week.

Layron Livingston, Reporting


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