Soldier And Wife Disappointed About Leave Denial

Friday, May 9th 2008, 6:07 pm
By: News On 6

A soldier is on a mission to find answers. Corporal Dan Seltzer has been in Iraq since October.  He was supposed to return to Tulsa sometime this summer for a two week leave, but the Army denied the break.  News On 6 anchor Latoya Silmon reports now, Seltzer and his wife want to know why.

Stephanie Seltzer says she and her husband love the Army, but it's given them the run around for a month now and they want to know why?

"It's sad. It's just lonely.  I'm all by myself and it's really hard," said Stephanie Seltzer.

She has pictures of herself and Dan around her home, but none of them make up for the fact that she and her husband are a world apart.

"Nobody has really prepared, you know, the family of the soldiers," said Stephanie Seltzer.

Corporal Dan Seltzer is on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq.  The couple was looking forward to two week reunion, but Stephanie says the 45th Infantry later denied her husband's mid-tour leave.

"That was devastating.  He just, he was really disappointed and there's been a lot of disappointment so far with his fourth deployment.  We weren't expecting it, and just to hear his voice over the phone say I was given something and it was taken away was really hard for us," said Stephanie Seltzer.

Even more difficult is not knowing why.

At first, Stephanie says they were told there weren't enough slots for everyone in the 45th Infantry to come home, so leave was going to soldiers on their first deployment.

"The Army is really good about taking care of the younger guys first.  I think my dad was an NCO for a time and he said he didn't eat until the young guys did. I think that's to be commended.  I like that about the Army," said Stephanie Seltzer.

But then, she says the Army started granting leave to soldiers with a higher rank than her husband.

"We want to know.  You said one thing, but that didn't really happen so why? Why isn't everyone coming home or nobody coming home," said Stephanie Seltzer.

That's a question the Seltzers have had for weeks, but with little or no answers.  For now, they'll have to settle for emails and weekly phone calls.

In an email to the News On 6, an Army Public Affairs Officer wrote: "soldiers who can't take their leave during deployment will receive the same amount of leave at the end of their deployment," but without knowing Seltzer's name which we chose to withhold from the Army, it couldn't give a definitive reason for his situation.