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Reservists in Kuwait Get Leave After All

October 4, 2003

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Hundreds of Army reservists who were told their leaves were suspended will come home after all, and the military chalked up the confusion to ``major miscommunication.″

The first arrivals are being flown into Baltimore on Sunday, according to relatives. They would have to find their own way home from there, they said.

Laura Browning of Manchester, whose husband, Randall, is in Kuwait, said she received the news in an e-mail from the Army on Friday. ``The only thing better is to hear that they’re coming home for good,″ she said.

Their families were angered Wednesday by an e-mail they received from Capt. Steven Gilks in Kuwait, who said that troops stationed in Iraq would be the first to leave and ``until we hear otherwise, our leave is, at present, suspended.″

The news sparked bitter protests to the media and Congress. The families described canceled welcome-home parties and a canceled honeymoon.

Maj. Vic Harris of the 3rd Army said ``major miscommunication″ had surrounded the leaves, which were never officially suspended.

``They are on. They were actually always on,″ he said in a telephone interview from Kuwait.

Harris said the message was from ``a well-intentioned commander″ who got ahead of himself.

Katherine Newman of Concord, who was planning a belated honeymoon in Europe with her husband, Christopher, said she’s been on an emotional roller coaster.

``I almost broke down crying at least four times today,″ she said.

The 600-member 368th, which deployed on Valentine’s Day, has members from Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

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