Veterans for America applauds General David H. Petraeus for stating today in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that he will probably recommend this fall that the U.S. military reduce its troop presence in Iraq by an additional Army Brigade Combat Team.
Veterans for America is deeply concerned about the stress placed on our Army's frontline units, and we urge General Petraeus not to again deploy the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, which is based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division, which has already been deployed three times since September 11, 2001, will be deployed again this fall, making it one of a handful of BCT's that will have seen four tours.
During its last Iraq deployment, which was extended to 15 months, the 3rd BCT suffered the highest fatality rates of any unit in the 82nd Airborne Division; according to VFA research, the 3rd BCT lost 49 Soldiers during its 15-month long deployment to Iraq.
We must start giving our troops rest. The churning of our frontline units has had an incredible negative impact on the health of our troops. We stand posed to irrevocably damage the lives of those who deploy multiple times if we don't allow them time to heal.
The members of the 3rd BCT -- 70 to 80% of whom have already been deployed to Iraq -- deserve more time at home to reconnect with family and friends, prepare for other contingencies and, most importantly, they deserve time to heal.