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Compensation For Delayed Troops
By Lisa Burgess and Steve Liewer
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

January 16, 2004

ARLINGTON, Va. Army officials are working on developing a compensation package for soldiers in Iraq whose scheduled return home has been delayed, an Army official said.

The Associated Press reported Monday that the Pentagon is extending tours of duty in Iraq for about 1,500 soldiers, mainly helicopter and other transportation support personnel.

About 1,000 of the 1,500 soldiers affected by the delay are assigned to Europe-based units, according to U.S. Army Europe spokesman Michael Tolzmann.

The affected personnel, from eight different units, "have been notified through their chains of command," Tolzmann said in a Wednesday e-mail to Stripes.

The delays are necessary in order to bridge essential gaps in service that otherwise would occur during "the surge," the massive changeover between the first Iraq rotation of about 130,000 troops and the second rotation of 120,000 forces that will take place this spring, Army spokeswoman Ali Bettencourt said.

As commanders looked at the rotation plan, "it became obvious there were certain capabilities they did not want a gap in," such as transportation, Bettencourt said in a Wednesday telephone interview with Stripes.

Delays in redeployments range from 5 to 60 days, with "the majority less than 25 days," Bettencourt said.

Personnel in only "one unit" are being asked to stay for the maximum 60 days, Bettencourt said.

She said could not reveal which unit, however, because Army officials at the Pentagon wanted to ensure that soldiers heard the news from their commanders, not the press.

In order to compensate soldiers for the extra duty, Army officials are working on a package that could include a cash bonus, preferential treatment for future assignments, and other unspecified benefits.

"A benefits package is definitely under consideration for those [personnel] that are extended," Bettencourt said, although precise details of its contents were not available by press time, she said.

The benefits would be offered "to both active and reserve component" soldiers affected by the delays, Bettencourt said.


Stuck in the sand

The Pentagon is extending tours of duty in Iraq for about 1,500 soldiers, mainly helicopter and other transportation support personnel. The following Europe-based are affected by the delays:

Unit Location Date deployed Number affected
302nd Military Intelligence Battalion Wiesbaden Feb. 2003 more than 200
19th Combat Support Center Wiesbaden Feb. 2003 more than 50
626th Movement Control Team Hanau Jan. 2003 fewer than 50
627th Movement Control Team Bamberg Feb. 2003 fewer than 50
181st Transportation Battalion Mannheim Jan. 2003 more than 50
3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment Giebelstadt March 2003 more than 350
Headquarters and Bravo Company, 7th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment Illesheim, Giebelstadt Feb. 2003 more than 300 combined
71st Combat Support Battalion Bamberg March 2003 more than 50

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars and Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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