DEXTER -- Missouri National Guardsmen in Iraq received news Thursday their tours would be extended by up to 90 days of in-country service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Nationwide, at least 23 Army National Guard units have been ordered to extend their tour of duty. The extension is based on greater demands to stabilize the country by military officials.
According to Brig. Gen Dennis Shull, Missouri is extending the largest number of National Guard soldiers, with over 850 soldiers from three Missouri units having been called to extend their duty beyond 12 months of service.
The Missouri Army National Guard units affected include: the 1221st Transportation Company, the 203rd Engineer Battalion, and the 2175th Military Police Company. Troops from the 1140th Engineer Battalion based in Cape Girardeau will not have their tours of duty extended.
"Although this extension is not welcome news - I have full confidence that out Missouri Guard soldiers will undertake these added demands in stride," Shull said. "We are fully committed to support our Guard families that are impacted by this extension and we are grateful for continued support from the employers of our state's citizen-soldiers."
The extension will include an addition 90 days of in-country service, and up to 120 days of total service time.
According to Shull, family members of departed soldiers who will be impacted by this extension are being notified.