This topic has been widely discussed throughout the army community for several years. The mental implications of 12 month or longer deployments has been greatly researched and the research provides negative results in the long-haul for those that are subject to the long deployments.
Researchers have found that (as I mentioned in a prior post), soldiers and their families experience increased difficulties during deployment after the 9th month mark. Soldiers start to feel mentally and physically fatigued in the field, and families start manifesting problems at that mark due to the increased amount of separation.
Due to this new found research, for the past several years the Army has been discussing the possibility of shortening war zone deployments from their standard 12 month tours to 9 month tours. I've been doing a little more research on the topic lately due to what my husband told me the other day and found that it has been on the back burner for quite some time because the deployments couldn't be shortened until the government overseas was more capable and willing to take over more military control. As the war is starting to wind down (a bit), the issue of shortening deployments is becoming a more important aspect to consider.
My husband told me the other day that he received word that deployments will be shortened officially in November of this year. Now, although I am excited and welcoming this change, I'm trying my best (and I encourage you to do the same) not to get my hopes up too high. This is the Army and things change in the blink of the eye. And let's face it... They've been discussing this since 2004, who knows if they'll ever follow through with it.
BUT, it does give some hope to all the families that are facing future deployments. Nine months seems so much more possible to face and overcome than 12 months. Although it is only a 3 month difference, those 3 months can mean all the world.
I was also researching and found that from a one year deployment, it takes the mind and body a minimum of 24-36 months to recover. Here's to hoping that they extend the resting period between tours too! =P
Coming soon, a post on our new duty station... (Hope these orders don't change!)