Spouses React to Delay in Third ID Return

The news that soldiers with the Third Infantry Division would not be returning was a shock to many spouses, but not for military officials at Fort Stewart. WTOC talked with military spokesmen and spouses of several soldiers today. There's no question spouses are very disappointed. Those we spoke with say they understand this can happen, but they're still crushed and frustrated that they won't be seeing their loved ones any time soon.

"I was just a little bit frustrated," said Breia Ledbetter. "I was already anxious for him to come home and I'm just dealing with it the best I can."

"We were very disappointed," said Angie Weiss. "They were told they'd be home by the Fourth of July, now they're not sure. No one's sure when they're going to be here so there's a little bit of resentment. A lot more worry."

Ledbetter and Weiss were looking forward to seeing their husbands for the first time in months. Both men are sergeants with the Third ID's 2-7th Infantry, and both will be held in Iraq to serve as a postwar policing force.

"It's an emotional rollercoaster for us as well as them," Ledbetter said. "Even worse for them, not coming home."

While Saddam Hussein's reign may be over, military officials say the war on terrorism and the mission of the Third Infantry Division are not. Col. Edwin Marrero said this delay was to be expected due to conditions in Iraq.

WTOC has learned that the 1st Battalion 39th Artillery and the 3rd ID band will be back home on June 2.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com