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The Hamilton Spectator
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Wednesday December 2, 2009
Battle-weary troops and their families braced for a wrenching round of new deployments to Afghanistan, but many said they support the surge announced Tuesday as long as it helps to end the 8-year-old conflict.

As President Barack Obama outlined his plan to send 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan while pledging to start bringing them home in 2011 soldiers, Marines and their families interviewed by The Associated Press felt a tangle of fresh concerns and renewed hopes. Some took in the televised announcement as they played darts in a barroom near their base, while others watched from their living rooms.

"All I ask that man to do, if he is going to send them over there, is not send them over in vain," said 57-year-old Bill Thomas of Jacksonville, N.C., who watched Obama's televised speech in his living room, where photos of his three sons in uniform hang over the TV.

One of his sons, 23-year-old Cpl. Michael Thomas, is a Marine based at neighboring Camp Lejeune. He'll deploy next year to Afghanistan.

An ex-Marine himself, Thomas said he supports Obama's surge strategy. But he shook his head when the president announced a 2011 transition date to begin pulling out troops.

"If I were the enemy, I would hang back until 2011," Thomas said. "We have to make sure that we are going go stay until the job is done. It ain't going to be as easy as he thinks it is."

Military officials say the Army brigades most likely to be sent as part of the surge will come from Fort Drum in New York and Fort Campbell in Kentucky. Marines, who will be the vanguard, will most likely come primarily from Camp Lejeune. Source.


Military families brace for Obama's Afghan surge
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