Local military families react to shorter deployments

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Knoxville (WVLT) - President Bush is changing deployment times.

Army units heading to Iraq after August first will spend 12 months on the front lines instead of 15. One local military family is happy about that decision.

Sergeant Mike Testerman takes advantage of feeding his granddaughter. He missed out on moments like this when he was in Iraq for 18 months. Now he's happy combat deployments will be shorter.

"I think it's a good thing cause for the active duty guys I know. It feels like they're gone forever," Testerman said.

Especially for the ones who have families.

"For the single guy it's not too bad because he makes good money over there but for the ones with families it's hard," Testerman said.

The president says soldiers who are already on the ground in Iraq must stay the full 15 months. Testerman thinks it should start now, not wait until August first. He says 15 months is a long time to stay focused.

"Even though you're good at what you do you get complacent not watching out for IEDs not watching out for each other," Testerman said.

Mike's wife Jenna had to take care of everything at home while Mike was deployed. She thinks the decision to lower deployments is a good idea.

"You're still going to miss the same things but there's almost an emotional security knowing there you just simply say it's a year and not a year and a half," Jenna said.

If Mike stays in the National Guard, he will be deployed again, but it makes it easier on him knowing he'll be back to his family faster than on his last deployment.

The president also said he's taking the advice of his top commander in Iraq, and ordering the military to stop sending troops home this summer. That decision means there could be about 140,000 U.S. forces in Iraq when the next president takes office.

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