Leadership: January 4, 2004

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The U.S. Army, learning from past experience, has developed a new procedure for troops returning from duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. The first week the troops are back, they will work only half days, as they get their equipment and weapons back into the motor pool and weapons areas as well as getting medical checks and making sure their personnel and financial records are up to date. Then, troops who served a year in the combat zone will get 30 days vacation, while those who served six months get two weeks off. When troops return from vacation, they will spend 45 days getting equipment and weapons cleaned up, repaired and generally back in shape. Then training resumes and within six months, the unit is expected to be combat ready. Easing the troops back into non-combat life slowly has been found to work better than ignoring the fact that a lot of the troops are stressed out. Moreover, there are a lot of diseases you can pick up in the Persian Gulf that do not assert themselves for a long time. By checking each of the returning troops thoroughly, many of these afflictions can be detected and treated early on. Since most troops are married, there's a need to give them time to restore domestic relationships. The new policies are expected to get units back to combat ready status more quickly, and keep troops from leaving the army.

 


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