Military Families React to Announcement About Troop Levels

By: Allison Hunt
By: Allison Hunt

The U.S. Army plans to keep the current number of troops in Iraq until 2010, and that's not sitting well with Congressman Jimmy Duncan.

Volunteer TV's Allison Hunt has more on his thoughts as well as the feelings of a local military family about this news.

Congressman Jimmy Duncan says he's not only concerned about the cost of the war efforts, but the price many military families are being asked to pay with their loves ones on the front lines. This comes with the possibility that one local family could hear word of another deployment. Army Sergeant First Class Mike Testerman has been home from the Middle East for nearly a year now, but he and his family know his time at home could be short lived.

"There's always that possibility, it just depends on how many troops they need, you know how fast they're trying to rotate people through," Testerman said.

"You don't want your family member to go, but you know that's what they have to do, and you have to be as prepared as possible," wife Jenny Testerman said.

He says he's not completely surprised the Army has plans to keep the current number of troops in Iraq.

"It was expected when it first started that we were going to be there at least 10 years, that we'd have troops in the Iraq region for at least 10 years," Testerman said.

Currently there are 141,000 troops in Iraq, including 120,000 from the Army. A number Congressman Jimmy Duncan says is already costing the country too much.

"If we keep our troop levels at the same 150,000 level that they're talking about for the next four years, you're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars more that we can't afford because we're already 8 and a half trillion dollars in debt," Duncan said.

Congressman Duncan says he isn't surprised either, especially since decades later there are still troops in countries like Germany and Korea.

"We're in the midst now of constructing the largest most expensive embassy in the history of the entire world in Baghdad. So it's been pretty obvious to me for quite some time that we were going to be there for many years," Duncan said.

"By having troops over there if something does come up, you've already got them there," Testerman said.

And for the Testerman family, another tour of duty means once again this family pulls together to support Mike.

"Once you've been through a deployment you feel like you can face the next one a little better. It doesn't make it any easier by any means, but you can accept the situation a little better," Jenny Testerman said.

The army chief of staff says people shouldn't read too much into the planning because it's easier to pull out forces than deploy more. Still a later date than the Bush administration or Pentagon officials have mentioned so far.


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