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1457th to Extend Iraq Stay

1457th to Extend Iraq Stay

Posted - Apr. 12, 2004 at 4:26 p.m.



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Samantha Hayes ReportingAll packed, and ready to come home. But some Utah soldiers may be staying in the war zone longer than anticipated.

The 1457th was vital during and after major combat operations in Baghdad. The engineers performed a variety of duties--they maintained all bridges in Baghdad, protected police stations, and foreign embassies and provided convoy security.

Now the Utah National Guard says their skills are needed after increasing attacks on U.S. soldiers. It is a tremendous blow to their families who were anticipating their return next month.

Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, Adjutant General, Utah National Guard: “My concern right now is for the families. To that end over the next few days, Thursday and Friday of this week we will be conducting eight meetings up and down this state to meet with families and employers to address their questions."

Alicia Saunders married her husband just three months before he was deployed. That was more than a year ago.

Alicia Saunders/ Wife: "The army has told them so many times 'You are going home. Get excited!' We were three weeks away from having him home, and they were like, 'Oh yeah, never mind.' And it's just really hard for these guys to have to deal with that."

Saunders supports the war. Her t-shirt says she's proud of her husband. Period.

Reporter: "What if your husband dies over there? Is it still important?"

Alicia Saunders/ Wife: "I would still stand by President Bush. Those people's lives were horrible. They were so happy to have the Americans come."

But her husband's life is also very difficult right now.

Alicia Saunders/ Wife: "He calls us and you can hear it in his voice. They give him such little amounts of sleep. He's told me before he's so worn out he just doesn't know how he'll keep going... that he is just tired all the time."

For some families, as the war goes on, it takes more effort to be patient.

Alicia Saunder: "I sure didn't think my first year of marriage would be like this."

The 1457th is comprised of 400 soldiers from units in Mt. Pleasant, Blanding, Vernal, Tooele, American Fork, Riverton, and Camp Williams.

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