Extended Deployment Hard On Coast Family - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/23/04

Extended Deployment Hard On Coast Family

The deployment extension of some 20,000 American troops in Iraq has hit home hard for one Bay St. Louis family. The Kergosien family is awaiting the return of Leonard Kergosien an Army Ranger Captain who's been gone about a year.

"He went over there the first part of April last year" Leonard's father Ames Kergosien said.

"He called his wife two weeks ago and said, good news, my replacement is here, we're having a change of command ceremony. It'll take about a week of transition with this new man, so I'll be coming home in about a week. He called up about three days later and said, I've been extended a maximum of 90 days and they'll be assigning a new unit that I'll be in charge of. I don't know exactly where I'm going."

The change in policy announced about two weeks ago that's keeping 20,000 Army troops in Iraq for at least another 90 days hit hard for the Kergosien Family of Bay Saint Louis.

Especially considering that army ranger Captain Leonard Kergosien has been stationed in some of the hottest spots in Iraq, and was recently awarded the bronze star for his heroic action in that conflict.

"He's had people killed all around him, vehicles blown up, headquarters blown up. He's been right in the middle of most everything you see on the news," Kergosien said.

He admits that makes watching the news difficult for him and his large family.

However they're proud of Leonard, who's 14 year career soldier currently in line for a promotion to Major.

For now, Kergosien says the family will continue their prayers that he will return to them, and the almost one year old daughter he's never met, safe and sound.

"We're all very anxious to get him and all the guys back too," says Kergosien.

by Don Culpepper

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