Minnesota National Guard Troops Screwed by Bush on GI Bill Benefits

The Other Mike sent over this link to a story by NBC on an amazing coincidence in the time served by Minnesota’s National Guard troops in Iraq. Had they served 730 days, they would have been eligible for the GI bill, helping them pay for educational costs and improve their careers after returning from war.

Any guesses how many days their tour ran? 729 Days.

[1st Lt. Jon] Anderson’s orders, and the orders of 1,161 other Minnesota guard members, were written for 729 days.

Had they been written for 730 days, just one day more, the soldiers would receive those benefits to pay for school.

“Which would be allowing the soldiers an extra $500 to $800 a month,” Anderson said.

That money would help him pay for his master’s degree in public administration. It would help Anderson’s fellow platoon leader, John Hobot, pay for a degree in law enforcement.

The Minnesota National Guard’s tour is the longer tour served by any group sent to Iraq to date. And I imagine it will continue to hold onto that record, knowing that anything longer would provide benefits to our soldiers upon return.

More on the CityPages Blotter.

The Minnesota National Guard Troops are Almost Home

There is a great story on KARE 11 by Tricia Volpe reporting from Camp Douglas covering the arrival of MN National Guard troops back to the Midwest.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to smell a Midwestern summer after 22 months away, including 16 months in Iraq. Turning in their weapons must be a strange after being so attached to it for so long.

It’s too bad they didn’t come up with a way of getting the face of every guard member who’s returned onto the air. How many people watching that story were squinting looking for their friends and family?

Bush’s Illegal War Hurts Minnesotans

I’m still catching up on local news after returning from Las Vegas. It really sucks to hear that our Minnesota National Guard troops are going to be stuck in Iraq for even longer dealing with the mess Bush created:

MPR: Minnesota National Guard mission in Iraq extended

About 2,600 Minnesota National Guard troops will be staying in Iraq longer than they expected.

The Minnesota soldiers in the 1st Brigade, 34th Infantry Division, were supposed to come home in March after a year-long deployment, but they will stay longer as part of the president’s plan to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Keep in mind that a year long deployment is actually much longer than a year, because they don’t count time spent training or rotating in/out of Iraq in that year. It’s only boots on the ground time, as I understand it.

I just hope the strain of this type of news in all 50 states will somehow act as a catalyst for bringing this war to an end. We’ve already lost. How much longer will it be before Bush and Rice are willing to come to terms with the disaster they’ve created?