Navy Sailors Could Face Longer Deployments - NBC 7 San Diego

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Navy Sailors Could Face Longer Deployments



    For Navy families the pressures of deployments are difficult enough. Now, deployments could extend to nine months or more as part of a Capitol Hill fight over defense spending. NBC 7 military reporter Bridget Naso has reaction from military families. (Published Monday, April 28, 2014)

    Just when the Navy was trying to put an eight month deployment plan in place, there is talk in Washington, D.C. that sailors could end up out at sea for even longer without a balanced budget in 2016.

    It used to be six months was the maximum, and now eight month deployments are common place.

    But if Congress can't agree on a budget for 2016 and sequestration becomes reality once again, there is talk -- based on the testimony of U.S. Navy officials -- that the Navy may have to scrap or mothball USS George Washington, which would leave only ten carriers.

    That could result in deployments of nine to ten and a half months.

    NBC 7 talked to military families who say that number would make an already unbearable separation unthinkable.

    Kathy Robinson is a mother of three, and her husband has been at sea for the majority of his nearly three years in the Navy. She said it has taken a toll on the family.

    "He's missed Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, deaths in the family twice, everything," said Robinson.

    Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates criticized long deployments approved under his watch, saying " The consequences include more anxiety and disruption inflicted on children, increased domestic strife and a corresponding rising divorce rate."

    And while this move may save tax dollars, military families tell NBC7 they will be paying the price.