(AP) – Maine’s National Guard chief this afternoon says he’s received official word that all 24-month deployment limits to Iraq and Afghanistan are rescinded. In their place are 12-month continuous deployment goals.
Major General Bill Libby, Maine’s adjutant general, says the new ruling from the Pentagon means that all Maine Guard members – including those who’ve met the previous 24-month maximum – can be called back for new overseas stints.
As Libby put it, ":The clock is back to zero now.": The new orders come amid President Bush’s call for a surge of 21,500 additional troops in Iraq.
A Pentagon policy statement distributed by Libby says the 24-month limit no longer makes sense as reserve components are considered part of the pool of forces that the military expects to use for the foreseeable future.
It also says 12 months over five years active duty is a goal. Libby says that limit could be exceeded if necessary. Libby says as many as 18-hundred Maine Guard troops have previously been been mobilized.
The adjutant says only one unit in Maine has been looked at for possible deployment under the new policy. Charlie Company, the 126th Aviation Medevac unit based in Bangor, could be called up in January 2008.