Morale: Combat Zone Exemptions Updated


September 24, 2007: The U.S. Army is changed its regulations for soldiers who are exempt from serving in a war zone. This exemption practice goes back to World War II, when there were cases of families losing all their sons (as many as five) in combat. In response, rules were put in place to keep at least one son out of combat, and alive. The new rules retain that exemption. But there are modification. This in a family where someone has died in military service, is 100 percent disabled, is a prisoner of war or missing in action, the sole surviving son or daughter does not have to serve in a combat zone. But in a new twist, any soldier who has a family member who meets the above criteria (dead in combat, captured, missing or disabled) can also avoid combat duty. Another addition is that any soldier who was hospitalized for 30 days or longer because of combat injuries, can be exempted from finishing that tour of duty. This will apparently be an option left to the wounded soldiers. Many troops are eager to get back to their unit, after recovering from wounds, and finish their tour with their fellow troops. It's a bonding thing, "band of brothers" and all that. It's real, but some troops are more traumatized by combat injuries than others, and this new rule gives them an out.

Finally, the army will recognize conscientious objectors, if they can make a convincing case, and are willing to continue serving in a non-combat role overseas.


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