Tuesday, July 17, 2007

5th Deployment or bust?

If you read the accounts - Army Reserve Sgt. Erik Botta has been sent to Iraq three times and to Afghanistan once and he is going to court because he thinks that's enough.

"This has nothing to do with protest of the war ... I have nothing but respect for the people on the ground," Botta said Friday, one day after he filed his petition in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach. "But I feel I do need a fair decision and a fair review." Botta , 26, of Port St. Lucie, contends in his petition that the Army's refusal to exempt him from deployment "constitutes unlawful custody." Botta argues the Army did not consider the length and nature of his previous tours "to assure a sharing of exposure to the hazards of combat."

Sounds pretty daunting for the Army dosen’t it – 5 deployments for this soldier – but wait a minute…. I had to ask how long were the deployments – after all not all are equal in terms of sacrifice…

Botta was deployed to Afghanistan for about seven months in 2002. He then had three deployments to Iraq - about a month in 2003, three months in 2004 and 15 days later that year. That is a grand total of 10 months boots on the ground. Frankly two of the tours to Iraq are about equal to an annual training cycle for reserve soldiers….

Most Army Reserve and National Guard units deploy for 12-15 months consecutively to a combat theater – while I applaud Sgt Botta’s service, he has not done the share that many Reserve and Guard soldiers have in extended deployment. His argument for educational deferment I can see – till the end of the Semester. Many serve as required – with similar issues – it’s a sacrifice to be a soldier – Erik – you haven’t had it all that bad.

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