Share this article

print logo

Letter: Congress must outlaw multiple combat tours

Congress must outlaw multiple combat tours

The recent article about Marine Gunnery Sgt. Eden Pearl, who died on Dec. 20 after a six-year battle with his injuries, was heartbreaking. As a Marine Vietnam veteran, I saw the carnage of war. I witnessed death and destruction, and it isn’t something you ever forget.

The part that disturbs me the most about these brave and heroic veterans today is the multiple tours of duty that they serve. When I was sent to Vietnam, a tour of duty was 12 months and 20 days, and trust me, you counted the days down. Back then two tours was above and beyond and you were looked at differently if you went back for a second tour and survived.

Today, many of these brave soldiers and Marines serve three or four tours of combat duty. This is not right. No soldier should be sent in harm’s way that many times for any reason. After these multiple deployments in combat, no one could ever recover fully physically or emotionally. I think it’s about time Congress steps up and puts limits on combat tours for all military personnel, instead of thinking about sending more troops into these hot spots.

If any of these senators or Congress members were sending their sons or daughters to a combat zone for multiple deployments, action would already have been taken. I am calling on Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. Brian Higgins to step up and do the right thing for our combat soldiers.

Phil Ryan

West Seneca