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.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs