Sunday, September 19, 2004

Came You Blame Them?

"I think before we deploy we should be allowed to go home and see our families for five days, because some of us might not come back," said Spec. Wendell McLeod, 40, a steelworker from Cheraw, S.C. "Morale is pretty low. . . . It's leading to fights and stuff. That's really all I got to say."
As noted at First Draft's excellent site (from a Washington Post article - subscription needed):
The 635 soldiers of a battalion of the South Carolina National Guard scheduled to depart Sunday for a year or more in Iraq have spent their off-duty hours under a disciplinary lockdown in their barracks for the past two weeks.

The trouble began Labor Day weekend, when 13 members of the 1st Battalion of the 178th Field Artillery Regiment went AWOL, mainly to see their families again before shipping out. Then there was an ugly confrontation between members of the battalion's Alpha and Charlie batteries -- the term artillery units use instead of "companies" -- that threatened to turn into a brawl involving three dozen soldiers, and required the base police to intervene.

- - - -
Gamble, who at age 51 is a 33-year veteran of the Guard, said he is not worried about putting an already stressed unit into the cauldron of Iraq duty. "I haven't ever been deployed before, myself," he said. But, he concluded, "I feel like this unit will handle this well. Once we get in-country and get into missions, I think the stress will level off."
With all due respect, is he crazy?

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