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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-31-08 06:53 AM
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New programs aim to ease Guard return from war
New programs aim to ease Guard return from war
By Michael Virtanen - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Mar 31, 2008 6:53:43 EDT

LATHAM, N.Y. When Capt. Brian Rockwell returned from Iraq last fall, like most soldiers he just wanted to be home. Four months later, though, he was starting to think he might like another mission.

It wears on you when youre over there, Rockwell said. But theres another set of stresses back here. Its an adjustment.

Unlike the regular Army, whose soldiers usually return from combat zones to the steady rhythms of military bases after a couple weeks leave, National Guard troops have been leaving their comrades at the airport and go straight back into civilian life.

Now, with almost half its troop strength having gone to Iraq, the New York Army National Guard is changing the way they come back. Instead of cutting them loose for the first 90 days, Guardsmen will be required and families invited to attend weekend retreats at upscale hotels after 30 days and 60 days.

The full program starts with the 104th Military Police Battalion in mid-April. New York needed the recent change in Defense Department policy to do it, following Minnesotas lead. Now 14 states are doing it. But officers said Maj. Gen. Joseph Taluto, now adjutant general for New York following his own Iraq tour, and his wife, Susan, provided a push to get the program running here.

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