Alabama
12:33 pm
Tue September 9, 2003

Soldiers Will Remain in Middle East

Washington, DC – Thousands of National Guard and Army Reserve forces, including citizen soldiers from Alabama, are in for a longer stay in Iraq.

The Army is reportedly extending their tours of duty in Iraq and surrounding countries to a year, months longer than many troops had anticipated.

The Washington Post reports the new policy was issued Friday without a formal announcement. It means many Guard and Army Reserve troops could have their original year-long mobilizations extended by up to six months.

Army officials say it's necessary to keep a large number of Guard and Reserve troops in Iraq longer because of security concerns and the scarcity of active-duty forces.

Alabama has approximately 28-hundred Army and Air National Guard members who are currently overseas, with the majority of them in the Middle East.