A blog by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration about justice and peace issues

Out of Iraq?

  Important update from Iraq Veterans Against the War…

It’s Not Really Over

Mainstream television news has made a big show of the withdrawal of America’s “last combat troops” from Iraq, but the painful saga continues for our service members.  Many returning home to their tearful and joyous families in the coming days will ultimately be sent to serve more tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

In fact, members of two different units heading to Iraq and Afghanistan are calling on their commanders right now to halt their deployments because they are not physically or mentally ready to deploy.

Will you stand with them?

President Obama makes it sound like the troops remaining in Iraq will be serving largely administrative and ‘advisory’ functions. But in reality, 50,000 “combat capable” troops will remain in Iraq to:

  • Train the Iraqi military, including accompanying them on dangerous patrols;
  • Support special forces operations in their continued hunt for terrorists; and
  • Provide air support to the Iraqi military (a.k.a overhead artillery and bombing).

In an Iraq which grows increasingly violent each month, does this sound like desk duty?

The 3rd ACR at Fort Hood1

This Sunday, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) at Fort Hood will be shipped out to Iraq.  The military wives and family members of 3rd ACR soldiers say that hundreds of the 5,000 about to go to Iraq are suffering from PTSD and other ailments, and are not fit to deploy.  This week they demanded that those wounded warriors stay home.

IVAW’s Fort Hood chapter and Fort Hood’s military families are asking the civilian community to join their calls for the military to stop deploying traumatized troops.

Call 3rd ACR Commanders and tell them not to deploy soldiers who have PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury.

3rd ACR Commanders:
Regimental Commander – Col. Allen (254) 553-3526
Command Sgt. Major Jonathan J. Hunt (254) 287-0598

Call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and ask for whatever commander you’re ringing by name. If they won’t speak to you, leave them a message or call back. If you get anyone else’s ear, tell them to stop deploying soldiers who are medically unfit.  After you’ve made your call, send us an email at feedback@ivaw.org to let us know you’ve called.

The 656th Transportation Company2

The 656th is an Army Reserve unit based in Indiana, made up of reservists from several midwestern states.  Due to deploy this weekend for Afghanistan, members within the unit have cited lack of training and mental health problems among the reasons they are not fit to go.  IVAW member, Alejandro Villatoro, a Sergeant in the Company, has raised concerns that they have not been trained on the weapons they will be using, and do not know how to operate the vehicles they will have to drive, once in Afghanistan.  There are also serious mental health issues among some of the troops set to deploy.

After Alejandro first exposed this crisis, others in the unit also came forward.  They are now pushing for a Congressional inquiry into their unit’s readiness.  We will keep you posted next week with steps you can take to support their efforts.  For a full explanation of the situation facing the 656th, click here.


Comments on: "Out of Iraq?" (1)

  1. Spc. Mark Stoneman said:

    I am currently deployed to Afghanistan. I am cross leveled into the 478th Trans Co out of Camp Pendelton, CA. I am originally with the 454th Trans. Co. out of Rickenbacker Air Base in Columbus,Ohio. Some of the people that are in the 656 are in my unit in Ohio. When we went through MOB at Fort Hood, TX. We were told we were going to be a gun truck unit and be Convoy Escorts in MRAPS. We didn’t have any training on these vehicles before we left. The 478th is a PLS truck Unit. When we arrived at Kandahar Air Field to start our deployment, we recieved the proper training on these vehicles. We had to go through days of training and take a driving test with Cilivian Instructors both day and night. The 656 will get the appropriate training they need to drive these vehicles. The 478th TC and the 24th Active Duty Transportation Unit will be helping with their training. So as far as the training on the weapons and vehicles, they will be taking care of. As far as the health and mental status, I beleive the Army will make the right call on that.

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