Troops from Lejeune could be headed to Afghanistan
Tuesday night, President Obama will outline a new war strategy for Afghanistan. That plan includes sending tens of thousands of troops to war. Some of the first troops to deploy could be part of a Marine battalion from nearby Camp Lejeune.
Sending troops overseas obviously affects the families and loved ones of those going off to war.
In a military community like Camp Lejeune the impact of a deployment is felt well beyond the military base.
“It was devastating. I grew up with him so it’s hard thinking he’s not going to come back,” said Christina Shingleton of Jacksonville.
Shingleton knows what it’s like to have a relative deploy overseas. Her cousin recently left for Afghanistan.
Tuesday night, President Obama will announce plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. 1,500 Marines from Camp Lejeune could be among the first to deploy.
“I think we have enough troops over there for now. I don’t think now would be the time to send more over there,” Shingleton said.
Less than a mile from the main gate at Camp Lejeune, welcome home signs and banners line the fence of a military neighborhood.
Jacksonville residents say whenever a battalion deploys, a ripple effect is felt throughout the community.
“Well I drive a school bus for Swansboro. And my elementary children I have dads coming and going all the time. And to see their faces when their dad leaves is sad. And I pray for their safety everyday, that they return to them. So far I’ve been very lucky, God’s been with them.”
The first wave is expected to arrive in Afghanistan in late December, with remaining troops set to deploy over the next six months.
The President is not expected to set a specific date for withdrawal, but White House officials suggest troops will begin to return home late 2011.
“Well I think Jacksonville needs it’s Marines. They need to have them here. I think there’s a lot of senseless accidents over there and I feel like we need to get this war over with so the troops can come back home to their families,” said Torrie Fitzpatrick.
A spokesperson for Camp Lejeune told WWAY it was too early to comment about troop deployment. He said Camp Lejeune officials would have a better idea once they received their next “orders book”.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates is scheduled to sign that “orders book” late next week. Eventually 9,000 additional Marines are expected to deploy to Afghanistan.
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