News

    US Army Troops Ready for Afghanistan Deployment

    News of the Afghanistan buildup comes less than a month after a deadly shooting incident at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead and created additional grief.

    Soldiers in formation at Fort Hood in Texas
    Soldiers in formation at Fort Hood in Texas

    Multimedia

    Sometime next year US Marines and soldiers will begin deployments to Afghanistan aimed at meeting President Obama's call for an additional 30,000 U.S. troops in that embattled nation. One place from which soldiers are likely to deploy is Fort Hood, in central Texas, the largest domestic US Army base.

    It is often said that the army is a family and here at Fort Hood it is easy to see that it is also made up of families. Deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan have put a burden on many soldiers and their families and that burden will increase next year with the plan to send more troops to Afghanistan.

    Specialist Angela Zollicoffer's husband is in Afghanistan now, leaving her to care for their three daughters alone.

    "I am just ready for the soldiers to come back, not just my husband, but all of them to come back and I wish that we did not have to go over there to Afghanistan," she said.

    Her friend and fellow soldier Sherri Coons is more enthusiastic about the president's plan.

    "Let's get it straight, let's get the Afghani people on their own two feet, just like we are doing with Iraq, get them up and going and on their feet and then let's pull out like he had planned," said Coons.

    But some soldiers worry that the circumstances of the Afghan war may make their job there even more difficult and dangerous than Iraq.

    Twenty-one-year-old Specialist Lamont Wright is one of them.

    "They have more mountains in Afghanistan. This is a whole different kind of war, this is a whole different kind of terrain. When we were in Iraq it was flat land, we could see what was going on, but soldiers were still getting killed and wounded and families were worried about us," he said.  "Now, going to Afghanistan, this is a whole other ball game."

    But Captain Chris Kelshaw has served in Afghanistan and he thinks the army can carry out President Obama's plan.

    "The terrain - hey, I am an infantry officer. We get paid to move through rugged terrain," said Kelshaw.  "It is just a matter of adapting the way that you fight."

    Some soldiers are also skeptical about President Obama's idea of setting a timetable for withdrawal in 18 months, but Captain Kelshaw says they misunderstand the plan.

    "Eighteen months will begin a phased withdrawal, as I understand it, it is not that everbody will be gone. I am certain there is going to be a lingering advisory effort there," he said.  It is a journey, not a destination, is the best way of putting it."

    The news of the Afghanistan buildup comes less than a month after the deadly shooting incident here at Fort Hood that left 13 people dead  and created additional grief. Army chaplain Ira Houck, who coordinates activities for all religious groups at Fort Hood, says soldiers are resilient, but they sometimes need support.

    "We are consciously aware of the needs of our soldiers in this time of grief, having recovered from this November 5 shooting, but also the continuing demand on our soldiers to deploy and fulfill our obligation to this great nation," said Houck.

    Houck says the army has resources to help soldiers and their families as they are separated by deployments.

    "They have on-site counseling and counselors here we can refer to and network with, so there is a whole vast array of resources that our families have now,' he added.

    This week several units returned from overseas deployments, much to the joy of their friends and families. But joyous as the returns might be,the soldiers know they may soon have to deploy again, leaving behind loved ones as they carry out their duty to the commander in chief and the nation.
     

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora