After four years in Iraq, all are weary - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

After four years in Iraq, all are weary

March 19, 2007

Lee County-  President George W. Bush marked the fourth anniversary of the Iraq invasion with a plea for patience. Families with troops overseas say their patience are wearing thin.

The war has stretched longer and cost more than the White House ever predicted. 

Monday the President said, "success will take months, not days or weeks." Many south Georgia families have troops who have served or are serving overseas.

Sgt. Jon Dunlop a Lee County graduate missed his first tour in Iraq because of a broken leg, but when the Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 29, the Wolverines, was called up again in January, Dunlop joined them in Iraq. Now, he won't be here when his wife gives birth in two weeks.

Two weeks from Monday Brandy Dunlop's second child is due. Tuesday her daughter Skyy turns two. It's an exciting but difficult time, especially since her husband Sgt. Jon Dunlop is on the other side of the world in Iraq.

"It's his turn to go, he need to be over there and serve his time so other families can come home, but it's just hard because when he doesn't call or he doesn't email me, of course like a million things are running through my mind and I'm thinking what's going on what's happening," said Brandy Dunlop.

Hard because their daughter is changing and it will be five months before he'll get to see his new born.

"I get very frustrated. It doesn't really matter though because I'm a Marine's wife, so I just kind of have to sit there and deal with it," said Dunlop.

"This had already started when he left for boot camp, so we knew what he was walking into, " said Terese Thomas, Jon's mother.

The family of devout republican supporters, now question the war's length and the President's strategy.

"I had no idea when I supported the war that it was going to go on this long, do I still support it? I have to go by what Jon tells me, if we pull out we're in trouble, if we stay we don't know how much longer we can be of good because the country is in unrest," said Thomas.

They would like to see the time soldiers spend in harm's way reduced. "The length of time they require these marines to be away from their family, I just wish they could shorten it to six month stints," said Thomas.

For now, all they can do is wait and try and stay in touch with Jon until he returns home.

"If I send him and email and I don't hear something for three or four days because they've had a blackout or an incident where there's no communication, you just hold your breath and hope nobody knocks at that front door.

Dunlop is stationed at Al-Asad Airfield, the second largest airbase in Iraq. The base hasn't had an attack since Dunlop arrived in January. His deployment is for a full year.

Democratic lawmakers may be trying to bring Dunlop and other soldiers home sooner by adding a September 2008 deadline for troop withdrawal into a war spending bill currently moving through the House.

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